8 Android Lollipop features to give you a sugar rush

Android 5.0 Lollipop has been slow to get off the ground. Google’s dashboard that tracks the versions of Android OS being used showed that by January 2015 (2 months after its official launch) it had not even reached the minimum 0.1% of usage to show up in the charts.

Lollipop’s source code was released on November 3rd 2014, with over-the-air updates going out 9 days later to a number of Google Nexus devices. Since then, Samsung has slowly started a limited roll-out of Android 5.0 in Central Europe, Motorola and LG have started deployment to a few key devices and Sony will start updates to its Xperia line sometime this year. Google does not have a direct relationship with the customers’ OS. Any new version of the OS has to be passed to the manufacturers, who then have to tailor it to each handset and the individual SKU’s of that handset, which are then passed to networks for testing and certification, and then the system to push the over-the-air update to subscribers can begin. Arguably manufacturers would rather consumers buy new handsets running Android 5.0 and boost their revenues, rather than a free over-the-air update which offers no new revenue stream.

Looking at Apple, while iOS 8 has had plenty of bugs, 70% of iOS devices are now running the latest version of Apple’s mobile OS, because Apple controls it’s own eco-system and has the power to sync it’s community, Google’s Android cannot be synced because it is fragmented amongst so many device manufacturers and thousands of different handset models. So Android 4.4 (Kitkat) will still be the main OS being run on the worlds Android devices for a while yet.

But, if you are a developer Lollipop does have some pretty useful features so we decided to highlight 8 of them to help inspire you for development of your future apps!

1. Double swipe new notification bar – It’s got a new notification bar – swipe down once to look at notifications and swipe down a second time to access the quick settings.

2. Hide/disable sensitive notifications – Notifications are now also displayed on your lock screen to see what’s happening with a quick glance. Great for the user, maybe not so great if someone else can easily see ‘sensitive’ notifications, but no problem, now they can kept hidden until a passcode is entered.

3. Stop notification spam – Apps come with a lot of notifications: sometimes useful, sometimes annoying. With Lollipop just tap and hold the notification until a small ‘i’ appears to the right hand side. Tap the ‘i’ and you have the option of blocking the app from sending future notifications, or set the apps notifications as a priority, so it will always at the top of the list and will come through even when your phone is on silent.

4. Settings gets a search bar – No more scrolling through menus, just hit the dedicated search bar. It’s a great feature to get to what you want to change in your settings instantly.

5. Three swipe action – There are now three icons sitting at the bottom of the screen: a phone, a padlock and a camera. Swipe upwards to unlock the phone, swipe from left to right to unlock the phone and also to go to your contacts list and swipe from right to left to go to the camera app.

6. Chromecast by default  Now you don’t need to download Google’s Chromecast App, it comes built in. Simply double swipe down to access the notifications bar and hit the ‘Cast’ button. The device will detect your Chromecast instantly so you can view your device on the TV.

7. No more losing your apps – Before, when you rebooted your phone any open apps would be closed and shut down. Lollipop introduces a new ‘Overview’ screen which retains all the apps you were using, even after a reboot. To access the Overview screen tap the square button situated on the devices bottom right hand corner.

8. 5.1 Surround Sound  Cinema sound quality from your device? Oh yes! Open Google Play Movies & TV, tap the 3 bars at the top left hand side of the screen, hit ‘Settings’ and ‘Enable Surround Sound.’ Now you have 5.1 activated (if it is available of course).

Ok so we said 8, but here is 1 extra point for developers, ExoClick’s in-app advertising SDK is also Lollipop compatible, so you can start earning revenues immediately even while you are waiting for Lollipop to be more widely adopted! Check out the advantages of our SDK here

Giles Hirst