Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Ads by Google

October 15th just became one of the biggest dates in 2014’s tech calendar.

In a slightly low-key announcement on Google’s official blog, they unveiled the latest refresh to the Android operating system — codenamed 5.0 Lollipop — as well as three new Nexus devices running the platform.

Both Lollipop and Google’s Nexus devices are expected to drop at the end of the year. But can’t wait until then? Read on to find out what you can expect from them.

What To Expect From Android 5.0 Lollipop

The Android operating system has come along leaps and bounds since it was first released in 2008. Although initially the red-headed stepchild of the smartphone world, it has since become the leading platform, overtaking Apple’s iOS in popularity, and beating off any new challenge from Windows Phone 8 This Is What’s Missing From Windows Phone 8 This Is What’s Missing From Windows Phone 8 Are you thinking about getting a Windows Phone 8? Although touted a next generation platform by Microsoft, Windows Phone 8 is missing several features considered standard by its competitors. Can you do without them? Read More and Blackberry 10 10 Reasons To Give BlackBerry 10 A Try Today 10 Reasons To Give BlackBerry 10 A Try Today BlackBerry 10 has some pretty irresistible features. Here are ten reasons why you might want to give it a go. Read More .

But what is the reason for Android’s dominance? Perhaps it’s because of Google’s proactive approach to introducing new features, whilst simultaneously refining existing ones on a regular basis. And Android Lollipop is no different, bringing to the table some incredible refinements of the OS’s look-and-feel, as well as features that are sure to delight users.

You can get some of Lollipop’s best features right now Get The Best Of Android L Right Now Get The Best Of Android L Right Now Itching for the best of Android L right now? We've got you covered. Read More , but here are the five most important we’ll be seeing.

Ads by Google

Material Design

One of the biggest criticisms of Android has been that it simply isn’t all that nice to look at. Sure, that was certainly true prior to the release of Ice Cream Sandwich. Since then, it’s undergone a number of revamps of its aesthetics and its usability that have drastically improved the Android user experience. The latest iteration in this process is something called Material Design.

This standardizes how third-party applications function, making the aesthetics of said apps a bit more uniform. It also standardizes how Android should look across devices, from tablets to phones. In short, it makes the platform even more beautiful, and even more usable. For further reading on this fascinating topic, we recommend you read up on the design details of Material Design in our in-depth look Exploring Android L: What Exactly Is Material Design? Exploring Android L: What Exactly Is Material Design? You may have heard about Android L and Material Design, but what exactly is this new design philosophy and how will it affect Android and other Google products? Read More .

Revamped Notifications

Have you ever found yourself rudely awoken in the early hours of the morning by the chime of your phone whenever someone sends you a Facebook message? It’s annoying. Thankfully, Android Lollipop solves this once and for all, with its revamped notifications system.

nexus-bed

You’re now able to easily adjust your settings, ensuring that only specific notifications from specific services go through. You can also set your phone to turn notifications off entirely for a set period of time. And you don’t even need to use a third-party app, like Echo, the lockscreen replacement app Snooze And Group Android Notifications With Echo Lockscreen Replacement Snooze And Group Android Notifications With Echo Lockscreen Replacement Want a better way to handle notifications on your Android device? Echo works as a lockscreen replacement and can group your notifications into categories and mute them based on time or your location. Read More .

Handy if you’re in bed, trying to get some shuteye, in an important business meeting, or in class.

More Developer Goodies

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) What Are APIs, And How Are Open APIs Changing The Internet What Are APIs, And How Are Open APIs Changing The Internet Have you ever wondered how programs on your computer and the websites you visit "talk" to each other? Read More  are used by developers to create the third-party applications you love to use. Part of the reason why Android has been so successful is the openness of the platform, and the ability for developers to extend and enhance it as they see fit.

That’s not about to change, as Android Lollipop introduces over 5,000 new APIs for developers to use, including support for OpenGL ES 3.1 and tools for taking advantage of the more powerful cameras found in high-end Android phones. Happy coding!

Drastically Improved Battery Performance

The battery lives of smartphones are notoriously short. Sure, there are ways to make this less of a problem. You can buy an external battery Intocircuit Power Castle 26,000mAh Portable Charger Review and Giveaway Intocircuit Power Castle 26,000mAh Portable Charger Review and Giveaway Read More  or a solar charger Poweradd 14W Portable Solar Charger Review and Giveaway Poweradd 14W Portable Solar Charger Review and Giveaway For camping, long car journeys, barbeques or just that bit of extra juice when you're in the garden with your Bluetooth speakers blaring, the Poweradd 14W solar charger can be a great addition. Read More . You might even want to turn off mobile data entirely Save Money On Your Smartphone Bill: Cut The Mobile Internet Save Money On Your Smartphone Bill: Cut The Mobile Internet How much are you paying for calls and mobile Internet? Is your iPhone really worth that type of outlay? Do you use your Android tablet enough to justify paying over $50 a month? Read More , to squeeze an extra few hours out of your phone.

Android Lollipop tries to fix this with a new battery saver feature. Switch it on, and you get another 90 minutes before you have to plug your device in. Developers are also able to invoke this battery feature from within their code, thus minimizing the impact applications have on your battery life.

Revamped Accounts

For a while now, sales of PCs have been falling. The reason? They’re being replaced by tablets MakeUseOf Experiments: Going Tablet-Only For a Week & Staying Productive MakeUseOf Experiments: Going Tablet-Only For a Week & Staying Productive You took one look at the headline and thought "this guy is crazy", right? That's pretty much what I thought at first, but as the week progressed I found myself struggling with apps, multi-tasking and... Read More , which are often cheaper, easier, and come with a smaller risk of malware. Google is very much aware of this and has enhanced an already existing feature that makes Android Lollipop function much like a PC does. User accounts.

Much like Windows Phone’s Kids Corner Activate Child Mode On Your Windows Phone To Safely Share It With Kids Activate Child Mode On Your Windows Phone To Safely Share It With Kids Leaving your Windows Phone in the inquiring hands of little ones? Don't do anything until you have set up and activated Windows Phone's child mode; Kid's Corner. Read More , you can restrict access to applications and private files, depending on who will be using your device. Android Lollipop also supports guest sessions, so you can let people use your phone or tablet without having to give them your password or resorting to any inelegant hacks Two People, One Tablet: What Are Your Options? [Android] Two People, One Tablet: What Are Your Options? [Android] Tablets running Android 4.2 support multiple user accounts. User accounts work just like they do on a PC -- each account has its own apps, settings, and other data. If you share your tablet with... Read More . Cool, right?

Three New Nexus Devices

As well as a revamping Android, Google also plans to launch three new Nexus-branded companion devices. These will run the latest version of the operating system, and include a phone, a tablet, and a TV set-top box.

Nexus 6

The Nexus 6 is the flagship Android Lollipop phone, built by Motorola. Packed into this six-inch behemoth is a powerful quad-core snapdragon CPU clocked at 2.7 Ghz, backed up with an Adreno 420 GPU and a generous 3GB of RAM.

nexus-6-multiples

 

Snap-happy users will also be pleased to know it comes with an amazingly sharp 13 megapixel camera with dual-LED flash and an f/2.0 aperture. It can also capture vivid, ultra-high definition 4K video at a resolution of 30 fps. The selfie-friendly front camera can also take 2MP shots and supports high-definition video conferencing.

The Motorola-built device also looks the part, coming with a sleek aluminum frame with impeccably-strong Gorilla Glass 3 on the screen.

Prices are yet to be announced, with availability expected for later this year.

Nexus 9

HTC, a brand you don’t usually associate with high-end tablets, was the manufacturer chosen by Google to design their flagship Android Lollipop tablet. That seems to be a bet that paid off, as the Nexus 9 looks simply amazing.

nexus-nine

Inside the brushed aluminum frame and massive 8.9 inch screen is a blisteringly fast 64-bit Nvidia Tegra K1 CPU, with each of its four cores clocked at 2.3 Ghz. It also packs an Nvidia Kepler GPU, which is a high-performance, low-power GPU capable of playing near-PC quality video games.

The abilities of this GPU were first demonstrated two years ago at the GPU Technology Conference:

The Nexus 9 comes with an 8MP rear camera, as well as a 1.6MP front-facing camera, and it comes in Lunar White, Indigo Black, and Sand.

Details about prices and release dates are thin on the ground, but HTC is already producing accessories for the tablet, including a magnetically attached bluetooth keyboard that is oddly reminiscent of the ones for the Microsoft Surface Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Review and Giveaway Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Review and Giveaway Although the Surface Pro 2 might not be the latest and greatest, is it still a good device to get? Read More .

Nexus Player

The Nexus Q was a colossal failure, but Google hasn’t given up on the TV space yet. The Chromecast Google Chromecast Review and Giveaway Google Chromecast Review and Giveaway We're giving away a Google Chromecast, so read through our review, then join the competition to win! Read More is selling like hotcakes, and they’re about to release their answer to the Apple TV. Meet the Nexus Player, built by Asus.

nexus-player

This $99 device (about a third of the price of the Nexus Q) runs a variant of Android Lollipop specifically designed for set-top boxes, and — although not yet released — will be released with a wealth of apps including Netflix, Vevo, Hulu Plus, and Youtube.

Inside the hockey puck-sized box is a 1.6 Ghz quad-core Intel Atom CPU, backed up with an Imagination PowerVR GPU and 1GB of RAM. Storage is limited — it only comes with 8GB — but Google assumes you’ll be streaming your videos.

nexus-player-controller

The included remote control comes with a built-in microphone, allowing you to issue voice commands, and a gamepad is available to purchase separately should you fancy a bit of casual gaming.

What Do You Think?

Android 5.0 Lollipop and its launch devices are well on the horizon, and will be launched later this year. The revamped OS comes with a plethora of enhancements and new features that make the OS even better, whilst the new devices are a force to be reckoned with.

But what do you think? Have any of the new devices caught your eye? Tell me about it in the comments box below.

Photo Credits: Couple In Bed With Husband Suffering From Insomnia via Shutterstock

  1. Chad madden
    November 13, 2014 at 7:27 am

    I would love to try the nexus 6 I have very large hands I use a galaxy note 3 wich is a pretty good size phone but I still have to use my stylis to text or search the Web cause my fingers hit to many keys lol but if u would like to send me the nexus 6 to try I will give u a true and very accurate review of the phone

  2. jonen560ti
    October 17, 2014 at 10:56 am

    "inside the brushed aluminum frame and massive 8.9 inch screen is a blisteringly fast 64-bit Nvidia Tegra K1 CPU, with each of its four cores clocked at 2.3 Ghz. It’s also the first Android device to pack an Nvidia Kepler GPU, which is a high-performance, low-power GPU capable of playing near-PC quality video games."

    The Nvidia Shield Tablet was the first android device to use a kepler GPU. The nexus 9 is the first device to use the 64-bit K1 however

    • Justin Dennis
      October 17, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      Fixed, thanks!

    • Matthew Hughes
      October 19, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      Good catch. Thanks!

  3. Raish
    October 17, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Cant wait to get my hands on the Nexus 9. My kids both have Nexus 7's and whilst they are great, they are a little small for my likening. The 9" version will be better for reading, browsing ect. Hoping the UK prices will be favourable.

    • Matthew Hughes
      October 19, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      Same here. Thanks for your comment Raish!

  4. peter
    October 16, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    As a massive Google fan boy, I have to say I am really unimpressed by these new products.
    Also a little confused as to why no prices were announced at the same time the devices were.

    It seems a little strange (to me at least) that Google would take such a design change from the hugely successful nexus 7 to a square looking 9 inch tablet... as for the nexus 6, I'm thinking this might be a little too big for most hands.

    Wasn't there a big hoo-haa a few years ago when people complained about "phablets? And yet, here we are again..

    I'm really confused by the whole thing.

    I'll be waiting til the new year (when my mobile contract is up for renewal) and reading as many user reviews as I can before making my mind up.

    I'd love to fall in love with these like I did with the original nexus 4 and 7, but I just can't bring myself to get excited.

    • Matthew Hughes
      October 19, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      I guess that might change when more hands-on reviews come out. But I must say, as someone who has used a Blackberry as their main phone for most of the past few years, I'm incredibly excited for the Nexus 6.

      With respect to them being too big for most hands, I kinda agree. However, that's the way the phone market is heading, it seems.

  5. Cristian
    October 16, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    "Everything You Need To Know" you should really take that one part out. If you want to tell me "everything" why not do a review of the N6? -> maybe because it is not out. Well that' something that i WANT to know. Ok, lets try something easier: what's the price? i think you can find that piece of info easily, because it IS announced.

    Thank you for not_everything_I_need_to_know.

    • Matthew Hughes
      October 19, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      Well, why don't you tell me what you'd like to know! It could form the basis of another article. We do aim to please!

      Cheers!
      Matt

  6. likefunbutnot
    October 16, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    I think the Nexus 9 is a disappointment, with hardware that compares unfavorably to the Kindle HDX 8.9. I'm annoyed that there is no improved 7" Nexus and while the Nexus player is probably really interesting, I think a proper Ethernet port is an absolute requirement for an STB.

    I'm glad to see phones getting multiple user support. That's something that just makes sense.

    • Matthew Hughes
      October 19, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      Interesting. Thanks for your comment!

      Cheers,
      Matt

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *