The wait is finally about to end: Android’s newest operating system, the colourfully named Lollipop (or Android 5.0 for the more prosaic) will debut in the first week of November, timed to tie in with the release of the Nexus 6 smartphone and the Nexus 9 tablet. Other models will see the new OS rolled out progressively during 2015. So what can we expect?
It’s going to look different to its predecessor: for one thing design changes include a broader range of colours, shadows and animations. And if you receive notifications while you’re in an app, you’ll be able to respond to them or dismiss them from where you are (you can also do this from the lockscreen). You’ll be able to select which apps you want to show these notifications and limit the amount of previewable data. The new “Priority” feature (like most of the above, in fact) mirrors iOS functionalities – this time, it’s an Android version of Apple’s “Do Not Disturb” setting which allows you to only show texts and calls from people you really want hear from.
There will be enhanced zooming and fading effects which are designed to make the transitions between apps more animated, and you won’t need to tap so much: many more of the actions will be driven by swipes. Like in iOS 8, there is the ability to open multiple tabs in a carousel, which will make sifting through content on web pages and email far less of a chore.
But Lollipop isn’t simply an Android Tweedledee to Apple’s Tweedledum. There are some unique features, too. Its software performance is touted to be twice as fast as it was previously and a battery-consumption app and a saving mode will both combine to add an extra hour-and-half of power.
The Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 will both come with Lollipop pre-installed (Nexus models 4, 5 and 7 will, we understand, get the Lollipop update before the close of November). Samsung hasn’t yet said anything officially but a company Tweet strongly hints that the latest Galaxy 4 Note will come with Lollipop, with the Galaxy S4, S5 and Note 3 likely to get the update before the start of the New Year.
Neither LG nor Motorola have released any details yet about when the update will come to their devices.