Google has announced Android 5.0 Lollipop, making its debut on the new Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 devices.
This latest iteration comes a year after Android KitKat was released. Initially announced at Google I/O, the Android L Developer Preview has been live for some time, giving devs the chance to update their apps and services for the Lollipop launch, which brings with it a whole run of changes.
But what is new and how will Android 5.0 Lollipop make your smartphone better?
When will Android Lollipop arrive?
Google has confirmed that the Nexus 5, Nexus 7, Nexus 10 and Google Play edition devices will be updated to Android 5.0 and that update will be available "in the coming weeks", so shouldn't be too long to wait. You can learn more about when it'll be available for your phone here.
If you're looking to get a new device, the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 will be on pre-order from 17 October, hitting stores early November.
Project Volta extends battery life
The most major and most publicised feature of Android Lollipop is Google's Project Volta. Each year Android developers focus on a certain area to improve and build around that. This year it's battery life.
One of the things Project Volta does is to allow developers to create more battery friendly apps that don't drain your device. In early testing Android L appeared to save a hefty 36 per cent battery life over KitKat. This was a test carried out on the exact same device doing the exact same tasks, just with the new OS added for the second test.
This battery saving is achieved thanks to efficiency. Google found that waking a device for 2 seconds burns 2 minutes of standby time, which includes apps waking the processor and modem to check for updates. One of the solutions is called Job Scheduler which batches unimportant app requests like database requests and log uploading. Developers can even keep housekeeping functions switched off until the device is connected to power.
At launch on 15 October, Google confirmed Android Lollipop focuses on battery life. It has a battery saver feature that extends device use by up to 90 mins and displays estimated time left to fully charge when your device is plugged in as well as before you need to charge again. The data and options for these features can be found under battery settings.
One of the big things that will be consumer facing is the new design. This uses Android's new "material design" that's designed to flow across Android Lollipop and apps alike, giving consistency. We've recently seen updates to the likes of Google Play and Chrome that exhibit material design, such as edge-to-edge graphics.
Material design is bolder and aims to bring visual consistency across Android areas and should bring smoother animations, consistent touch responses and a more immersive Android experience. Expect to see new animations, themes, 3D views with real-time shadows, transitions and updated iconography and typography.
The lockscreen gets enhancements in Android 5.0, letting you host notifications on it, but ditching the lockscreen widgets in the process. You'll be able to decide what type of notifications you'll see and how much information they give you.
Google has now confirmed at least one of the new lock screen features in Android Lollipop is the ability to view and respond to messages directly as well as hide sensitive content for these notifications.
Android Lollipop notifications
Android 5.0 brings new features to notifications.
There are new ways to control when and how you receive messages, for instance, such as setting when you want to be interrupted or disrupted. You can turn on a Priority mode via your device's volume button that allows only certain people and notifications to get through. Alternatively, you can schedule recurring downtimes that allow Priority notifications to get through.
"With Lollipop, incoming phone calls won't interrupt what you're watching or playing. You can choose to answer the call or just keep doing what you're doing," confirmed Google in a blog post. "Control the notifications triggered by your apps; hide sensitive content and prioritise or turn off the app's notifications entirely."
And finally, Android Lollipop intelligently ranks notifications based on who they're from and the type of communication being sent, and of course you can view all your notifications from the top of your device's screen.
Authentication in Android Lollipop
Typing a pin or swiping to unlock your mobile is an annoying extra stage that Android 5.0 aims to get rid of. The smart Android Lollipop will know where it is, and be able to work out who is using it so as to safely unlock. Using factors like nearby Bluetooth devices, location and voice prints it should be able to keep locked if needs be.
Google hasn't elaborated on new authentication features too much, though it confirmed Android Lollipop uses Android Smart Lock to unlock your device with "your trusted wearable, car, or even just your smile".
Encryption will also be on by default, whereas previously it has been an option you had to engage. That should help keep your data safe if your phone is stolen.
Support for multiple users
Android has had support for multiple users on tablets for a while, but now you'll have a guest mode so you can lend your device to someone else. You can still have multiple users, letting you keep your private content private, but share your Android device.
You also be able to pin your screen, meaning that someone you lend your phone to can only access that content and not everything else.
64-bit support in Android Lollipop
Google has confirmed that Android 5.0 will be 64-bit after asking its developers to start making apps that work with 64-bit architecture. Theoretically this should mean Android will be able to access more than 4GB of RAM, once mobile devices reach that level.
The future of processors in mobile devices is 64-bit chips. Apple started this with its A7 chips and since then Android devices have started appearing with the hardware. Android Lollipop will be the first mobile OS from Google that is able to support this new type of CPU, designed to support ARM, X86 and MIPS-based cores.
Native 64-bit apps will include Chrome, Gmail, Calendar, Google Play Music.
Want to know more?
There's plenty more too. Better searching for Bluetooth LE devices, HEVC support for 4K streaming, support for USB audio devices like microphones and speakers, and more.
Google has a new page with Android 5.0 Lollipop's full feature list. Check it out for more information about what Android Lollipop includes or doesn't include.