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November 17, 2014 by None

Android Lollipop vs. Android KitKat: A Look At What’s New Inside Android L

We take a look at how Google’s newly launched Android Lollipop compares to Android KitKat

Android L is a HUGE update that sees Google taking its already mature platform several steps further. The Big G has tightened up nearly every element of its platform, refining the look and feel of Android across the board, as well as touching up back-end tools and protocols to make the platform even more efficient.

The BIG deal with Android Lollipop, or, the thing most people, providing they’re running a handset with a stock Android UX, is Material Design –– Google’s end-to-end redesign of Android from the ground up. It’s a huge visual change that’s packed with tons of new features and improvements. We detailed a selection of Android Lollipop’s Best New Features. And There’s loads more beneath the hood waiting to be discovered too –– we’ve only been tinkering with the update for a 24 hours or so.

Android Lollipop got its official debut inside the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9, both of which go on sale in the UK this month. Google has now confirmed that it has begun the rollout of Android Lollipop to the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7, although there are a few caveats, especially if you’re a Nexus 4 user (basically, you’re not getting it just yet, and that goes double for for LTE-versions of the Nexus 7).

Motorola, never one to shy away from an update, also confirmed it too will begin rolling out Android Lollipop to its Moto X and Moto G 2014 editions, continuing its commitment to rapid software updates for its flagship products. You can also expect to see the first wave of Android Lollipop custom ROMs from the likes of CyanogenMod, AOSB, PA to begin popping up during Q4 too. For a full break down of when your handset is getting Android Lollipop, be sure to check out our ever-evolving Android Lollipop Update Hub.

Android Wear is also a pretty significant addition to the Android fold too, and Google has made developing for wearables as easy as possible. At launch, Google confirmed developers would able to easily rejigg their applications with simple coding to leverage the growing number of wearable devices running Android Wear.

This move should ensure there are tons of applications and content available on wearable devices like the LG G Watch, Moto 360 and Samsung Gear Live once they become more prevalent later on this quarter. Google I/O 2014 was certainly a memorable one, and if you want to know how Android Lollipop shapes up against Android 4.4? Look no further – we’re putting them head-to-head.

Android 5.0 Lollipop vs. Android KitKat: Design

The big news regarding Android Lollipop is the fresh look, dubbed “Material” by Google. While there are some similarities between Material and the look of “stock” Android KitKat, the designers at Mountain View are clearly forging a new path here, in purely aesthetic terms.

The flatness seen in KitKat is still present and correct, but it comes with a twist: realism. Animation is going to play a big part in the new design, and Android Lollipop will adopt real-time shadows to give its interface more depth and make it look a little more dynamic. The shadows are there because Android Lollipop will make much more use of layers in the UI, allowing developers to do all kinds of visual customisation within their apps.

Another big change is that the famous Android “soft” buttons have been given a face lift, and look even more stylish than before – even if they do call to mind the symbols we used to see on our old VCR players. Android Lollipop is clearly an update on the existing KitKat style, but Google is embellishing it with new visual tricks to make things even more alluring. From what we’ve seen, it strikes us as massive improvement over the often flat and uninspiring Android 4.4.

Android 5.0 L vs. Android KitKat: Security

Google has made massive strides with Android when it comes to overall security, coming up with innovations such as pattern unlocks and facial recognition. KitKat didn’t bring much new to the table in this respect, but it worked well enough. Android Lollipop’s big advance is going to be about making security more convenient, and it will do this using two methods: Android Wear and your current location.

In the first case, you can use your shiny new Android smartwatch as an authentication tool to automatically bypass your phone’s passcode when it detects the watch nearby. In the second example, you can designate safe zones – your home, for example – where your phone will switch off your lock code. While both of these features could potentially create a security risk, if someone steals your phone and your smartwatch, they have access to all of your personal data, for instance, but they will overcome the irksome issue of having to continually unlock your device every few minutes.

Android 5.0 L vs. Android KitKat: Notifications

Notifications have been Android’s strong suit since day one, and Google is making them even better in Android Lollipop. The big change here is that they’re being integrated into the lock screen – something Google previously experimented with when it developed lock screen widgets which allowed you to view emails and events without actually unlocking your phone.

As well as making notifications the first thing you see when you pick up your handset, Google is working on making them smarter when the phone is in active use. For example, in KitKat a call would totally interrupt whatever activity you were involved in, be it reading a book, browsing your emails or playing a game. In Android Lollipop, events such as these will pop up at the top of the screen, a la Samsung’s Galaxy S5, meaning you can choose to jump to that event or ignore it with a quick tap without leaving your current task.

Compared to Android 4.4, notifications are going to be smarter, more intuitive and less intrusive than before. KitKat’s notifications system is decent enough, but it was basically recycling what had come before, so it’s good to see some out-of-the-box thinking from Google in this respect.

Android 5.0 Lollipop vs. Android KitKat: Battery Life

Project Butter was Google’s way of making Android feel smoother and slicker, and now the company has revealed Project Volta – a system which will provide developers with a better means of determining what elements of their apps are draining battery at an unnecessary rate. Because Volta will open up the battery stats to devs, they can tinker with their code to make apps more efficient and spot potential problem areas.

Android Lollipop will also take a leaf out of HTC and Samsung’s books by coming with a battery saving mode by default. This will help users get as much mileage out of each charge as possible by throttling certain functions when juice is low. Such improvements will ensure that Android L is leaps and bounds ahead of KitKat, which only offers basic stats on what process is gobbling up the most power.

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