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Getting to the Center of Google's Lollipop

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Getting to the Center of Google's Lollipop

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You’ve probably heard that Android is developing a new operating system called “Lollipop." Since they announced its official name and gave a vague target date for its release October 16 (all they would say is that it will be out “in the coming weeks," which probably means it will be due out just in time for holiday shopping), the Internet has been buzzing. So, what’s in store for this software upgrade?

Ars Technica takes us inside and sits down with two execs in charge of Lollipop development. According to the article by Ron Amadeo, "Unwrapping Lollipop: Ars Talks to Android Execs About the Upcoming OS," these are the five big takeaways for the shiny new software:

Android Did Their Research with Developer Previews

Before even making an official announcement, Google revealed the operating system in June and let developers try it out to see how it worked.

The team said they got a lot of useful feedback from developers, and the new strategy of sharing early gave them the confidence to make even bigger changes in the future. The move should help with updates. "I think what you'll see this time around is more devices on L quicker than any release before, because they've had more time," [David Burke, VP of Engineering] said.

A Smaller Bundle is a Happier Bundle

Almost all devices come with a set number of apps automatically downloaded on the phone. Now, some of those apps are available through the play store only, cutting down the bloat on Android phones. Amadeo says:

This has been an ongoing process for Google since the Android 2.x days. And while it's often tough to get OEMs and carriers to push out over-the-air updates for the core OS, Google can now update Play Store apps or Google Play Services components any time it wants. It's Google's best weapon in the war on fragmentation.

Lollipop is Ready to Hit the Ground Running

One of the more interesting features in the new setup is that, before you can even sign in to your device, your Android will search for updates upon connection with Internet access.

In Lollipop, Google made the setup process itself updatable. After acquiring Internet access, the first move is to check for updates. This is before the user even signs in. This update check can pull down OTAs and change the setup process. An Android device is the most "set in stone" product that Google makes, making it the hardest to bring up to compatibility should the company want to do something like upgrade the security of its sign-in system.

The New Nexus Family is Bigger...at a Price

The new Nexus devices have a pretty hefty price-tag (the Nexus 6 is $650 out of contract). At six inches, let's hope the Lollipop OS gives you the right amount of bang for your buck. Burke rationalizes:

"I use the device a smaller portion of the time for voice calls, so the question you want to ask is, 'What's the ideal size for a pocket Internet device?'" ...While he admitted the size "isn't for everyone," the hope is that people will see the Nexus 6 as a "do everything" device.

The Voice Command System Makes Life Easier for You and for Your Phone

Back in the age of the old Android phones, the voice command system consisted of two parts: Google Search and a hotword detection program, à la the Moto X. Now, it solely uses Google Search. Says Amadeo:

Google's method skips the clunky middle man "hack" that was used in the Moto X, which used one program for the hotword detection and another (Google Search) for the actual command recognition. The Lollipop version uses Google Search for everything, resulting in much faster and less failure-prone voice recognition.

To be sure, Android and Google did their research when developing the Lollipop OS, but whether or not the changes are worth the wait will be left up to the consumer. Check out the full article here.


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