Will the new Android hit your business's sweet spot? Google recently unveiled another statue joining the dessert party at Googleplex. In addition to the giant cupcake, gingerbread man, ice cream sandwich, jar of jellybeans, Kit Kat bar and other representations of previous Android versions, there's now an Android robot holding an oversized swirl lollipop.
The company announced this week the release of Android 5.0 Lollipop, the newest version of Android. Built with what Google calls Material Design, Lollipop was "made for a world where moving throughout the day means interacting with a bunch of different screens," the company said.
This Material Design focuses on a more intuitive user experience, which features improved performance, better touch and voice response, enhanced fluidity as users transition between apps and Android devices, and much more. Read on to find out all the sweet things the new operating system has in store for business users. [5 Android Apps to Plan Your Workday]
1. Desktop-class performance
Do you depend on Android to run your business and stay productive? Whether you often work with power-heavy apps or you rely on your Android device to streamline your workday, Lollipop will be your friend. With this upgrade, Google aims to deliver a "faster, smoother and more powerful computing experience," which includes improved performance and runtime.
Note that Google refers to Lollipop as a "computing" experience, not merely a mobile experience. This is because Lollipop brings desktop performance to Android smartphones and tablets, with 64-bit support — such as the Nexus 9 — and x86 and MIPS-cores. You can also launch Pure Java apps, which automatically run as 64-bit apps.
Lollipop additionally comes with ART, Android's new runtime that offers better responsiveness and a smoother, more intuitive user interface that makes it easier to multitask across multiple apps.
2. Improved connectivity
If you're constantly on the go, upgrading to Lollipop will give you improved Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection wherever you go, while saving power at the same time. Not only will your device only connect to Wi-Fi networks that have a verified Internet connection, but it can also scan for "low-energy" Bluetooth connections, such as wearables and beacons.
One feature in particular that business users will love is the more efficient "network handoff." This feature minimizes interruptions when you switch connections, for instance, when you're videoconferencing over Wi-Fi at the office and continue it over LTE when you step out.
3. Extended battery life
No one likes having to charge their devices throughout the day. To prevent loss of productivity — and the inconvenience of your device dying when you need it the most — Lollipop can both increase battery life and help you manage usage. First, the battery-saver feature can extend your battery by up to 90 minutes, Google says. Additionally, the system includes indicators like estimated time before you need to plug in and estimated time to fully charge. This gives you a better idea of what to expect when using your device and how long it will take to give it more juice.
4. Enhanced security features
Lollipop offers several security improvements to keep your device and all its data safe from unauthorized access. In particular, this upgrade gives Android devices more-advanced locking capabilities, automatic encryption and malware protection:
- Android Smart Lock. This advanced security feature lets you unlock your device by pairing it with trusted devices, such as wearables and your car, or even by using facial expressions.
- Automatic encryption. Google says all new devices will ship with encryption already enabled to protect data in case your device gets lost or stolen.
- Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux). This architecture enforces security policies on all applications to protect devices from malware and other vulnerabilities.
5. Device-sharing capabilities
Whether you need to share files or devices, Lollipop makes it possible for others to access data on your phone, but only the data you allow.
For example, if you need to show something on your screen, the "screen pinning" feature lets you physically hand over your device to a colleague or client, but restricts access to that particular screen.
Lollipop also lets you create guest user profiles, which means you can lend your device to someone without worrying about that person accessing your data. And in the event that you need to borrow a device, simply log in to another Lollipop-powered Android device to make calls and see your messages, photos and other content.
6. More control over notifications
From emails to social media and app alerts, constantly receiving notifications is both distracting and disruptive to your productivity. Sure, you can always put your device on silent, but what if you miss important, time-sensitive or otherwise urgent alerts? As a compromise, Lollipop offers an improved notification system that lets you control which alerts you want to keep receiving and which you'd like to temporarily ignore.
- Priority mode. Allow or restrict notifications from certain contacts and apps. Intelligent ranking also lets you prioritize notifications based on the contact and type of communication.
- Scheduling. Set up specific times when you'll accept notifications and when you want them ignored.
- Incoming calls. Working on an app? Writing an email? Watching a movie? Incoming calls won't interrupt what you're doing, allowing you to choose whether or not to answer the alert or keep working.
7. Quick, easy access
Get simple tasks done quickly and efficiently. Lollipop eliminates the need to go through multiple steps to access Google Now and your most frequently used settings.
To activate Google Now, just say, "OK, Google," to get answers, send texts, get directions and perform other voice-activated tasks. And if you have a Nexus 6 or Nexus 9, you don't even need to turn on your screen to launch the program.
To access your settings, just swipe down twice from the top to quickly toggle Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, hotspot, location services, flashlight, screen rotation, brightness and other options.
Originally published on Business News Daily.