Google unveils Android 5.0 Lollipop

October 16, 2014 | 08:33

Tags: #android #android-50 #android-tv #micro-console #microconsole #set-top-box #smartphone #sundar-pichai #tablet

Companies: #google

Google officially announced Android 5.0 Lollipop at events late last night, along with a new Nexus tablet, smartphone and - interestingly - a set-top box device running the new Android TV spin.

Teased at the company's Google I/O event earlier in the year and previously known under the codename Android L, Android 5.0 Lollipop is the first to feature Google's new design language. 'Lollipop is made for a world where moving throughout the day means interacting with a bunch of different screens—from phones and tablets to TVs. With more devices connecting together, your expectation is that things just work,' explained Google's senior vice president of Android, Chrome and apps Sundar Pichai in a blog post. 'With Lollipop, it’s easier than ever to pick up where you left off, so the songs, photos, apps, and even recent searches from one of your Android devices can be immediately enjoyed across all the other ones. As you switch from one screen to another, the experience should feel the same. So Lollipop has a consistent design across devices—an approach we call Material Design. Now content responds to your touch, or even your voice, in more intuitive ways, and transitions between tasks are more fluid.'

While Material Design will be the most obvious change from previous Android releases visually, there's plenty going on under the hood. Google claims to have dramatically improved battery life, including a new battery-saving mode that can extend the lifespan of a soon-to-expire mobile by up to 90 minutes. The new OS also allows smartphones, as well as tablets, to have multiple user accounts, while a new security feature allows the device to remain locked until within range of a paired device such as a Bluetooth headset or smartwatch.

Android 5.0 Lollipop will launch, Pichai explained, on two Nexus-brand devices. The first is the Nexus 6, a smartphone created by Lenovo-owned Motorola and featuring a six-inch 1,440x2,560 display, dual front-facing stereo speakers, and a Turbo Charger system which the company claims will allow for six hours of active usage from a mere 15 minute charge time. Internally, the device features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core 2.7GHz system-on-chip (SoC) processor with Adreno 420 graphics processor coupled with a choice of 32GB or 64GB storage.

The Nexus 6 is to be joined by the Nexus 9, a new tablet created by HTC on Google's behalf. The device features an 8.9" IPS display of as-yet unconfirmed resolution with the 64-bit dual-core implementation of Nvidia's Tegra K1 processor running at 2.3GHz. As a result, it also includes Nvidia's desktop-class 192-core Kepler DX1 graphics processor which should help give the device an edge over its competition. The rear of the tablet features a soft-grip surface, while the sides are constructed from brushed metal.

The biggest surprise of the event was the Nexus Player, a new set-top box unit running the Android TV spin of Google's Linux-based operating system. Built by Asus to Google's specifications, the Nexus Player is Google's first micro-console effort, a disc-shaped device coupled with a voice-activated remote control and optional twin-stick gamepad. As well as gaming, the device will be able to stream content from other Android devices like a Chromecast while also being able to run standard Android applications directly. The device is powered by a 1.8GHz quad-core Intel Atom processor, features HDMI connectivity and 2x2 MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity.

More details on the Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player are available on their respective product pages, while the Android site covers Lollipop itself. Firm UK availability and pricing for the launch devices has yet to be confirmed.
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