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8 ways Lollipop 5.0 reinvents Android

Anndrew Vacca | Nov. 21, 2014
Enhanced security, improved architecture, extensive APIs -- bold changes make Android 5.0 better for business.

There are three options for user profiles on a Lollipop-powered device:

In the same vein, you can now "pin" your screen, restricting access to a sole app, window, or piece of content you want to share, thereby preventing your guest from navigating away from the pinned element to anything else on you device.

ART: Shaking up Android to the core
Lollipop's change log includes a plethora of under-the-hood tweaks, the most substantial of which is an overhaul of Android's core architecture, with Android Run Time (ART) replacing the Dalvik VM. According to Google, this shift has made Android considerably faster and more powerful. (Various reviewers report that Android Lollipop doesn't run slower on older Android devices -- a welcome indicator that ART may in fact be faster.)

Whereas Dalvik compiled and processed apps each time they were opened, ART performs ahead-of-time processing, translating an app's source code on initial installation. The result, Google claims, is device performance of up to four times than that of previous versions with smoother, more visually rich applications that open and operate more efficiently.

This performance boost was noticeable on my Nexus 5 at the outset. As you begin to use Android Lollipop, you will certainly realize that navigating the OS, transitional animations, and app switching is far smoother than before.

Android Lollipop is also the first version with 64-bit support, which Google claims will bring desktop-class CPU performance to the OS. Android's core applications, including Chrome, Gmail, and Play Music, are now 64-bit-native, as is the Java engine that many third-party applications are built on. The difference won't likely be felt by users immediately, as nearly all apps are still 32-bit, but it will allow hardware makers to incorporate more powerful yet efficient processors, GPUs, and RAM into the next generation of smartphones and tablets.

Project Volta: Optimizing power use
When we first met what was then referred to as Android L in June, one of the most exciting and promising features was Project Volta, an initiative that Google claimed would yield massive improvements in mobile battery efficiency.

First, similar to a trick already used in Samsung, HTC, LG, and other Android devices, is a new native power-saver mode that helps Lollipop devices limit ravenous background data, haptic feedback, and the like to squeeze extra life out of a nearly empty battery.

Behind the scenes, Project Volta's Job Scheduler API batches battery-intensive tasks and schedules them for optimal times. Instead of completing each background task immediately, Android can now put off certain functions until a device is connected to Wi-Fi or a charger, thus reducing the number of times the OS draws power from the battery.


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