Google has stayed extremely busy since its initial Android 5.0 Lollipop release back in November. In the weeks since the company’s first roll out, we’ve seen the company dish out two new Android 5.0 Lollipop updates in Android 5.0.1 Lollipop and Android 5.0.2 Lollipop. Both brought bug fixes to Nexus users and owners of other big name devices including Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones.
While the two updates squashed some Android 5.0 Lollipop issues, many Nexus users are still complaining about Android 5.0 Lollipop problems. One visit to Google’s Nexus Help Forum and you’ll get a feel for some of the issues that remain on board. Fortunately, it looks like Google will try and fix some of these problems as well.
Several weeks ago, Google quietly rolled out an Android 5.1 Lollipop update to select devices in select parts of the world. As the weeks have passed, Android 5.1 Lollipop remains a bit mysterious though we’ve started to learn more about the contents of Google’s next big update. This is an update that appears to be much larger than Android 5.0.1 and Android 5.0.2, that’s for sure.
As we head deeper into March towards an inevitable Android 5.1 Lollipop release for Nexus smartphones and tablets, we want to take an updated look at what we know right now about Google’s Android 5.1 Lollipop update for Nexus smartphones and tablets and for non-Nexus devices as well.
Will My Device Get Android 5.1 Lollipop?
Right now, the Android 5.1 Lollipop is available on Android One devices shipping in the Philippines and Indonesia. It’s a bit strange given that Google has yet to really acknowledge the existence of its Android 5.1 update. Perhaps this is a sort of beta test ahead of a wider roll out, maybe it was a way for it to bring attention to Android One, we don’t know. What we do know is that the Android One series, as a whole, should get Android 5.1 before everything is said and done. So what about everyone else?
Google still hasn’t confirmed any concrete Android 5.1 Lollipop release details but thanks to leaks and credible sources, the Android 5.1 Lollipop release picture has come into focus ahead of its release.
Weeks ago, it became clear that Google is least testing the Android 5.1 Lollipop update on the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, and Nexus 9. Testing doesn’t confirm a public release but it makes one extremely likely.
In February a benchmark, first noticed by Dutch site TechTastic, showed a Nexus 5 model running an Android 5.1 Lollipop update. The benchmark is from the popular GeekBench database.
In the past week or so, we’ve seen a few other bits of information emerge. Myce, a site known for tracking unreleased Nexus Android updates, has reportedly found multiple Android devices testing and running the latest Android 5.1 Lollipop. Among them, the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 6. This hints at a widespread release for Nexus users.
In a post on the XDA-Developer Google+ page, Damian Junior claims that his “friend, who works at Motorola, sent me these photos in the morning and said they are already testing the update 5.1.0 for the XT1033, he said, he already received your smartphone with android 5.1.0 of the company.” He also added some credible looking screenshots.
So it’s looking like the Android 5.1 Lollipop update and release will not only include Google’s stable of Nexus devices but it will also include other devices from HTC and Motorola, at the very least.
Android 5.1 Lollipop Release Date
Several weeks ago, HTC’s Mo Versi stated that Google’s next MR release, MR stands for Maintenance Release, would be coming in March. Versi isn’t Google but he’s certainly plugged into key software releases so his information is credible. Especially now that Android Police’s Artem Russakovskii has chimed in with new details about the Android 5.1 release date.
He claims pointed to a possible release this week though that may not the case given that it’s now Saturday and we haven’t seen a roll out. Historically, Google’s rolled its big updates out during the week. He claims that battery life issues may be to blame for the “delay” and that the Nexus 7 2013 could be the first device to get the update.
Next week is looking good for a release though nothing is confirmed until Google makes an announcement or plops the update(s) into the Android Open Source Project ahead of an OTA.
Android 5.1 Lollipop Update Features
With Android 5.1 Lollipop already out on some phones, we’re starting to learn a bit more about what’s on board the software update. Android 5.1 Lollipop rumors have pointed to an extensive list of bug fixes but we’re starting see some new features pop up as well.
Here’s a look at all of the new features that will supposedly come on board Android 5.1. The older ones are at the top while the newer discoveries are listed toward the bottom.
New Wi-Fi Toggle
Android 5.1 Lollipop comes equipped with a new Wi-Fi toggle that’s far less intrusive than the current method. To get a feel for the change, take a look at the video below.
New Clock Animations
The Android 5.1 Lollipop update will bring some new animations to the clock application. These changes, discovered byAndroid Police, can be seen in the short video below.
Screen pinning, a feature that arrived with Android 5.0 Lollipop, will be getting an upgrade in Android 5.1 Lollipop. The interface changes, which are described in-depth byAndroid Police, allow for more freedom when pinning a screen. Specifically, the changes eliminate a pesky dialog box and it explains how to unpin a screen with more clarity.
There are also a few changes to Quick Settings. You can now easily hide options like Wi-Fi Hotspot from the Quick Settings tiles. The Android 5.1 Lollipop update also brings some changes to the way that you can swipe to get rid of the Quick settings menu and unlock the device. Both features can be seen in action in the videos below.
New Dialer Colors
One feature that’s available on Android One phones now and could come to other devices is a new option that allows users to change the dialer theme for a particular SIM card. Android Police also spotted this feature and while small, it could be useful for those using a dual-SIM smartphone. The feature can be seen in action in the video below:
New Volume Features
The site also points out a useful option for those that are concerned with volume and alarms. You can now prevent notifications from showing until the next alarm. There are also changes to the look of the interface. Those changes can be seen in detail here.
Improvements to Contacts
We’re also going to see some improvements to the look and feel of the Contacts application. Specifically, Google’s made some changes that bring it closer to its other apps that use Material Design. The changes can be seen in the video below.
Android 5.1 Lollipop rumors suggest that we’ll also see a number of bug fixes as well. Here’s the rumored Android 5.1 Lollipop change log that leaked out at the tail end of last year and it could be similar to what we see arrive later this month:
Silent mode added after missing on Android 5.0
General improvements in system stability
Improved RAM management
Fixes for sudden app closures
Improved battery management
Excessive consumption of network devices when used Wi-Fi fixed
Issues with wireless connections fixed
Problems with OK Google function solved
Notifications problems solved
Some sound problems experience by certain devices fixed
Other improvements and changes
With an Apple Watch and iOS 8.2 update looming, we could potentially see Google try to take some wind out of Cupertino’s sails with an Android 5.1 Lollipop update release of its own. Look for new details to arrive very soon.