Android Lollipop explained – why it’s worth upgrading

Summary of what is new with Lollipop, the new software upgrade to Google Android

Looking to buy a new tablet or smartphone?

With the latest version of Google's Android™ operating system you can connect to other devices simply, shut off notifications from all but your most important people and apps, and enjoy even longer battery life.

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Android™ 5.0, Lollipop is being rolled out for tablets by Samsung, Sony and of course Google - the new Nexus 9 is already here. Here's everything you need to know.

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What is Android Lollipop?

The latest version of Google's operating system for tablets and smartphones. It's the software your device runs on. Each update is called something sweet - previous incarnations have included Jelly Bean® and Ice Cream Sandwich®.

How's it different to KitKat®?

In lots of ways. It combines a brighter, flatter and more intuitive design with other benefits. These include:

•    Battery-saving technology
•    Greater control over the flow of updates and messages to your device
•    More subtle alerts to updates and messages
•    Improved security
•    Connect to other Android devices without typing in passwords

4 ways Android Lollipop improves on KitKat  

1) Material Design

In a nutshell: Cleaner, more colourful redesign to give the same look and feel when using your tablet

Material Design is Google's new 'look' for Android. It uses white space and bright block colours, and features sharper icons and type.

The layout is clear and easy to understand and is designed to give the same experience across your tablet, smartphone and laptop. It uses clean, bold lines and gives an impression of depth - like a piece of paper rather than a digital screen.   

This redesign also extends to the Chrome™ operating system on Chromebooks and Google apps such as Gmail and Calendar™.  

2) Battery-saving mode

In a nutshell: When your device is down to 15% battery you get an extra 90 minutes of emergency power.
To find a dead battery when pulling out your tablet on the train to catch up on emails is not cool.
Android Lollipop offers a helping hand by offering you an extra 90 minutes of usage when your battery hits 15%.

You can understand the battery-life better too - with features telling you how much time you have before you need to charge, and also how much time it'll take to be fully charged once plugged in. After all, who knows exactly how long 20% of battery equates to?

3) Overhauled notifications

In a nutshell: Respond from your lock screen, control who can contact you when, and watch video while taking calls with smarter notifications.

Notifications let you know when you've been messaged or called, when an app has updated or your football team has won.

'Do not disturb' notifications

Whether you're out to dinner, at a family party or in a meeting - there are times when the continuous flow of updates from your phone or tablet is just not welcome. Now you can control what gets through and when.

You can:

•    give important people - work, family, partner - and apps priority status
•    only messages and notifications from these people and apps will get through with Priority Notification activated 
•    set a period of time - from hours to weeks - where only priority notifications/messages get through

More-subtle notifications  

When you're engrossed in a video or a Facebook binge on your smartphone, it can be annoying when an unexpected incoming call takes up your entire screen.   

Now you can take or reject a call or read a message while still watching Netflix.  Incoming calls and messages are less intrusive, appearing in a bar at the top of your screen, while your video or webpage remains in the background.

If you want to reply to the message or answer the call, just tap the screen. If not simply ignore the notification and go on watching your video.

Notifications on your lock screen

Your latest calls, messages and app notifications will appear on your lock screen without you having to even unlock your device. What's more, you can actually respond directly from the lockscreen.   

Worried about friends seeing personal messages on your lock screen when you leave your phone face-up on the table?  
Change the settings to hide sensitive notification content.  

4) Easy connections to other Android devices

In a nutshell: Connect your Android tablet to your smartphone or Chromebook without typing in a password - and share content from tablet to your TV

Want to share something between your phone and your tablet or laptop? This normally means connecting the two devices over Bluetooth by manually typing in passwords.

Now your Android devices will connect automatically over Bluetooth thanks to the new Smart Lock feature. It's clever to enough to recognise your Android devices - it's not going to start connecting any Android device in range.

Have a Chromebook laptop? It works in the same way - great for getting documents and music files between your laptop and tablet.

New Sony TVs will this year run on the Android TV™ operation system. Lollipop is fully compatible with this, making it easy to send your TV show or movie from your tablet or smartphone to your TV.

Find out more about Android Lollipop 5.0

Google, Android and other marks are trademarks of Google Inc.

See our guide to the next version of Android, Marshmallow 6.0

See our  range of the Google Nexus 9