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Android 5.0 deep-dive review: Exploring Lollipop's many layers

JR Raphael | Nov. 17, 2014
Google's Android 5.0 Lollipop release is all about the platform's move into maturity.

Under-the-hood improvements

Whew — lots to look forward to, right? But wait: There's more. You might not notice them right away, but Lollipop delivers some important improvements to the Android engine room that should bring a boost to both performance and stamina.

There's a new runtime, for one — the system that allows apps to operate on your phone or tablet. The details get pretty technical, but what matters is that the revamped runtime is supposed to let apps run as much as four times faster than what was previously possible. Google says it'll pave the way for smoother graphics and animations as well (you know, like the ones peppered all throughout Lollipop) and will provide a better foundation for background services that don't bog things down.

Lollipop introduces support for 64-bit devices, too, and it has a host of enhancements aimed at increasing battery life and improving stamina. As part of those efforts, the OS now offers a battery saver mode that can scale back your device's horsepower and background data syncing to help you eke out an extra 90 minutes of use when your battery's low (similar to what many manufacturers have already been providing).

Bottom line

Google's Android 5.0 Lollipop release brings a fresh and attractive new look to the platform that makes it feel more polished and mature than ever.

In addition to all the aesthetic improvements, it introduces a number of new features that add meaningful value to the experience — like a revamped and more customizable notifications system, expanded options for security and the ability to use always-listening voice control.

And there are all the under-the-hood improvements mentioned above. It's too soon to have perspective on how much any of those items will mean for day-to-day use, but they certainly seem to strengthen the software's core.

To be sure, Lollipop isn't perfect; for all of its graphical polish, some of its features still feel a little rough around the edges. But it's a brand new start for Android — and by and large, it's an absolute pleasure to use.


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