As expected, the Android 5.1 turned out to be quite a good update. Users were hopeful that the new operating system would address previous issues with sound, WiFi, battery, and overall system instability found in older versions. To say the least, the Android 5.1 did not disappoint and has lived up to the expectations.
At present, the Android 5.1, also known as Lollipop runs on select models such as the Android One and the Google Nexus lineup. Most manufacturers are yet to introduce the 5.1 update with their models. While Sony plans to introduce it on all their Xperia models by the end of early 2015, HTC One M8 users can already access the live update. Samsung, on the other hand, still remains unclear on when the update will be available, but has assured its users that it will be available soon on all the new Galaxy models and even on slightly older ones.
Featured image: CC BY ND 2.0 Image courtesy of Lucas Zallio on Flickr
So, while most Android users are still waiting for the new Android 5.1 update, here is a list of all the new key features you can expect to see in it:
1. Instant access to Settings
The Android 5.1 comes up with a new ‘Quick Settings’ feature, which can be accessed through the drop down menu on the home screen. The drop down menu is the area that appears when you drag down an interface containing various toggle switches for WiFi, Bluetooth, Flight Mode, Screen Orientation Lock and so on. More applications show up on the Quick Settings access as you keep using them.
2. Smart Lock
The Smart Lock feature found even on the earlier 5.0 update allowed users to set certain trusted objects to turn off the lock-screen. For example, a user could set his smart watch as a trusted device and the phone camera would detect it. The detection would be verified and the phone would unlock itself for using it. The same could be done using a face verification method. The feature saved a lot of time and also enhanced the level of security.
Now, the Smart Lock feature in the 5.1 update comes with an added feature known as ‘On-Body Detection’. The ‘On-Body’ detection works with your phone’s accelerometer to unlock or lock the screen depending on your movement. For instance, if you have locked your phone using a password or PIN, then it won’t lock until it is kept still. It means that as long the phone is in use or in motion, it continues to remain unlocked.
3. Device Protection
The Device Protection feature offer anti-theft security by making it much harder to access private data on your phone. For instance, if your phone gets stolen, it remains locked even after a factory reset. The only way to access data would be to enter your Google account password. However, the device protection feature works only if you have already enabled the lock screen feature using a password or pattern.
The other catch is that this feature, at present, is only available on select Google Nexus models such as Nexus 6 and Nexus 9.
4. Smart WiFi
The Android 5.1 comes with a much smarter WiFi feature that remembers every single network that it has come across. This way it won’t try re-connecting to networks that have limited connections, low speed or no internet.
5. Improved Priority Mode
The 5.0 update came with a feature known as Priority Mode, which would silence alerts based on priority, thereby preventing unnecessary notifications. For instance, the user could set the alerts for alarms to be louder than those for messages or calls. They could even set the priority level for individual contacts so that calls and messages from their preferred contacts would be prioritized. They could even chose when the phone would go into Priority Mode and when it would exit it.
The new 5.1 update enhances the Priority Mode feature by allowing an automatic ‘switch off’ feature. Now the Priority Mode can be automatically switched off as soon as the next alarm goes off.
6. HD Audio Calling
If your device can support HD audio calling, then it won’t be a problem at all with the new Android 5.1 update. Certain models such as the Google Nexus 6 can accommodate this feature. However, you will require a consistent and strong network signal to continuously support HD calling.
7. Volume Setting
Volume Setting has also become convenient with the new 5.1 OS. Earlier, users were given instant access only to media volume settings while the volume settings for notifications or calls had to be accessed through standard ‘Sound and Notification’ settings.
The 5.1 Android update eliminates the hassle by providing notification volume control through the direct Volume Setting key. Tapping the volume key now reveals media volume as well as a Bell icon. Tapping the Bell icon will immediately allow the media volume setting to switch to notification volume, where you can adjust the volume level for notifications.
You can also change the alarm volume instantly by tapping the clock app, which reveals a volume key. It removes the two-step process of going to the Sound and Notification settings, found in earlier Android OS versions.
8. No-SIM Icon
Unlike earlier versions that would show no network on taking out the SIM, the new Android 5.1 update, instead, shows a straightforward No-SIM icon.