Google has announced the next version of Android, formerly known as Android L, will be called Lollipop, officially version 5.0 of the mobile operating system. It also announced the first two devices to run Android L: the HTC Nexus 9 tablet and the Motorola Nexus 6.
The company also unveiled the first device to run Android TV: the Nexus Player. Built by Asus, the hockey puck-shaped device is a " first-of-its-kind Android gaming device," Google says.
Android 5.0 Lollipop
Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president of Android and Chrome, announced the new software and hardware in a blog post. Android 5.0 "Lollipop" is the first version to employ a new design paradigm, which Google calls "Material," first announced at the Google I/O developer conference in the summer.
Lollipop was made to keep the experience of using Android consistent across devices, Google says. From phones to TVs to smartwatches, if the device is running Lollipop, the interface will feel part of the same family, and transitions from device to device will be more seamless, with things like music, photos and video remembering where you left off.
The new version of Android gives users more granular control over notifications, with the ability to limit them in certain situations. For example, you may want to limit notifications to a few specific people when you're in a meeting or on personal time. This could have big implications for smartwatches and other wearables, where smart notifications are central to the experience.
Android Lollipop also includes a battery-saving feature that Google says can extend the life of a device by up to 90 minutes. It's unclear whether the battery saver limits functionality in any way, but considering it's just a fraction of what Samsung, HTC and others get from their ultra low-power modes, Lollipop's battery saver likely keeps you connected.
Security has improved, too. Lollipop includes a Smart Lock feature, which lets users designate trusted devices — such as a Bluetooth earpiece or smartwatch — to keep their phone unlocked when it's present. It's a feature that was previously available on some Android phones, Motorola's in particular, but with version 5.0 it's part of the OS.
Lollipop also includes Factor Reset Protection, according to Re/code, which lets device owners disable their phone remotely, which makes Android 5.0 devices compliant with California's cellphone kill-switch law, which goes into effect in 2015. Encryption for the phone's data is also enabled by default.