Google today released the final version 5.0 of Android which looks set to be a major upgrade from earlier variants of its mobile operating system thanks to the new “Material Design” user interface and better-designed notifications.
Continuing the theme of naming its Android variants after sickly sweets, Google called version 5.0 “Lollipop”.
Google said Lollipop has more than 5000 new application programming interfaces (APIs) with new features for developers.
Lollipop features the new ART Android Runtime that Google said provides up to a four-fold performance boost, and which supports 64-bit devices for the first time.
Battery life improvements, automatic encryption of devices and SELinux security, and an overhaul of the Bluetooth close-range connectivity stack are also being shipped with Lollipop.
The OK Google voice recognition system now works with the screen off, and can be used on the go for searches, SMS texting, and navigation.
Car navigation, communication and entertainment systems and wearable devices are now targeted by Google with Android, as well as “smart” television sets.
The web provider also announced its new Nexus 6 smartphone and Nexus 9 tablet made by Motorola and HTC respectively, both of which will run Lollipop.
The Nexus 6 features a six-inch display with a high, 2560 by 1440 pixel resolution, giving it a density of 493 pixels per inch. Nexus 6 also comes with a 13 megapixel camera featuring optical image stabilisation.
As well as a quad-core 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 with Adreno 420 graphics drive, the Nexus 6 which will come with either 32 or 64 GB storage.
HTC went with Nvidia parts for the Nexus 9 tablet, using the 64-bit 2.3GHz Tegra K1 processor and Kepler DX1 graphics unit; the nine-inch screen Nexus tablet will come with 16 or 32GB of storage
Australian availability and pricing of the new Nexus devices is yet to be announced, with United States telcos AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon being the first to sell the phone along with Google’s Play store.
Lollipop represents the sixth major release of Android, with several sub versions of the mobile operating system still being in active use according to Google statistics.
While Google said its existing Nexus 4, 5, 7 and 10 devices will get the Lollipop update, it’s not clear how many of its hardware partners such as Samsung, Sony, Huawei and HTC will roll out the new operating system as well.