Some of Our Favorite Features in Android 5.0 Lollipop
Android 5.0 Lollipop is the latest major revision to Google’s mobile operating system. The Mountain View company waited a long time to bump the version to 5.0.
With Android Lollipop’s upcoming final release, we will see many under-the-hood changes that will make this OS even more complete than it is today. Google made efforts to reduce the fragmentation and implement some exciting features.
Unbundling of WebView from the OS
One of the most important new features that has been spotted so far is that WebView is now a separate package, which can be updated straight from Google. This means that a larger number of users will have access to an up-to-date WebView, leading to greater security that the built-in variant. WebView is a component that is used by third party applications to display Web content without launching the browser. Unbundling WebView makes the update process independent from OEMs update schedule. This is definitely good news to all users of devices whose OEMs aren’t the best with updates.
Multi-User Support for Phones
Multi-user support has been available in Android ever since Android 4.2. Unfortunately, it was historically available only for tablet users. Bringing this feature to phones has been highly demanded by the community, and Google finally decided to give the users what we want. The core functionality is pretty much the same. The first user is considered the owner of the device and controls who else can use the device. Every profile has its own welcome screen, application settings, wallpapers, and such. Profiles can be switched by pressing the head button into top right corner of the screen. Now, you can stop worrying about your kids and friends seeing private content on your phone.
Speaking of children and friends… Starting with Android 5.0 Lollipop, users can now pin to lock the currently running application. If your device has some kind of protection (PIN, pattern, etc), any other potential user will have to breach its security in order to access other applications once pinning has been enabled. This is a very convenient way of protecting your data. Now, not everybody has to check your browser history or gallery before handing off the phone.
Google Search in Recent Apps
Google also added its Search prowess to the Recent Apps screen. Android developers are really trying to make Google Search accessible from every screen. As such, you are now just one tap of your Recent Apps menu away from search at any time. Furthermore, even the “OK Google” function can be used from that screen (if you haven’t already enabled it from all other screens). The motivation behind this feature addition is clears, as the Search engine was Google’s original claim to fame and still one of its major revenue sources
Backed Up Preferences, Applications, and More
If you are purchasing a new Android device, you likely already have your own favorite set of apps and more. Google has for a long time backed up your list of applications and WiFi networks, but importing this has never quite worked as it should. For example, some applications are automatically downloaded even when you haven’t used them for ages. With Lollipop, Google refined the system considerably. You can now transfer all relevant settings and applications (even Google Now Launcher settings) through NFC at the time of initial login or selectively through the Internet connection. While unavailable, applications that are to be downloaded will be shown as gray icons that launch their Play Store listing when clicked. After they are restored, they will look and behave like they did before. Furthermore, since Android has offered cloud backup of app data for some time, applications that are coded to use this feature will behave just like they did on the previous device or installation, without the need for third party app data backup and restore apps!
Two Factor Authentication from Initial Login
If you use two-factor authentication (and you really should following all these nasty leaks), you are probably familiar with how the account login screen opens up a browser window in order to enter your time-sensitive security code. Android Lollipop changes this, as you can now enter the code right from the login screen itself, which will undoubtedly make security-conscious users happier.
Application Hierarchy Changes
Now for something a bit more behind the scenes… Unlike before, system applications are now placed in folders, where the APK and odex (if it exists) have their dedicated place. Applications are still divided into apps and priv-apps folders, so the OS is getting a little more complicated than it was before. We hope that this is just a small change that won’t affect app porting in any way.
Flappy Android Easter Egg
Last but not the least, we have a brand new Easter Egg. The funky folks over at Google have once again proven that they have a pretty good sense of humor. Do you remember the Nyan Cat Easter Egg back in Ice Cream Sandwich? If you don’t, you can brush up here. With Android 5.0, Google decided to make its own version of the immortal Flappy Bird. This time, you have a chance to tap your screen like crazy to control the bugdroid to squeeze it between two giant lollipops. Be aware: Lollipops are sticky, so your small flapping buddy can easily lose its flying abilities. We wish you all good scores!
Android 5.0 Lollipop is a pretty exciting revision, and we are (im)patiently awaiting the day when we can get our grubby little hands on the source code. Hopefully this version of Android will be up and running on many older devices through the third party development scene. This may be difficult due to ART and storage issues, but the XDA community has quite often shown that limitations can be blasted into oblivion.
[via Android Police]
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