Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) has announced its latest version of the Android operating system, which is codenamed Android Lollipop. Many outlets are also referring to this piece of software as Android L, although Google’s official name is Lollipop.
This latest version of the hugely popular operating system has been unveiled to coincide with the announcement of the Google Nexus 6 phablet. This new release from Google is intended to compete directly with the iPhone 6 Plus.
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By the same token, Android will always be up against iOS 8 as its major rival, as the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) operating system is the only significant competitor to be extremely popular Android platform. So how will this new Android L version compare with the recently released iOS 8? Here is a rundown of features included in the two operating systems.
Google Android Lollipop: Notifications System
The Android L release improves notification within the software. This ensures that notifications can be accessed via the lockscreen, and automatically ordered in priority. Furthermore, it is possible to swipe away notifications, or double tap to open the relevant app. This could be very much viewed as a response to iOS 8, as the Apple operating system included a significantly enhanced notification system. The Apple operating system is notable in this regard for being particularly customizable, and it certainly compares favorably with Android.
The Android L release will also include a new lockscreen which will display notifications for users. This will also enable a variety of different swipes to either unlock, or launch dialler and camera features. Apple has also improved functionality related to the iPhone 6 lockscreen in iOS 8, and the system is now more user-friendly with iTunes Radio in particular.
Google has also attempted to improve multitasking in Android L, and this will be a welcome addition among consumers given the increasing demand for multitasking mobile devices. It has already been suggested that the next wave of Apple tablets will be considerably more flexible than previous iterations in the series.
Android Lollipop will apparently show a separate card for each open tab in a device, while open applications in the software are displayed on a user interface which resembles a carousel. Each can be swiped off to either side of the device to close them, as in previous versions of software.
Split-screen multitasking has been built into iOS 8, and as mentioned previously this is expected to be utilized in the forthcoming iPod tablet range. Apple has been very much ahead of the game in this department, but Android looks to deliver some interesting features with its L release nevertheless.
The notification bar in Android Lollipop has been changed quite significantly. Although it effectively works in a similar way to previous additions, its new layout and colour scheme is strikingly different. Additionally, new features have been included related to Chromecast. The notification centre in iOS 8 has again been lauded for its customisation options. It will be interesting to see how Android L compares to the Apple software.
This is one area in which Android has noticeably lagged behind iOS. Perhaps it is not a fair comparison, as Android is fitted in so many devices that hackers and virus creators simply have far more commercial reason to target Android. Nevertheless, the Google operating system is responsible for 97 percent of the world’s mobile malware, according to recent research, so the onus is certainly on Android L to address this situation.
Google has targeted this issue in announcements related to Android, and a new feature will enable users to unlock their smartphone when in close enough physical proximity to a device such as an Android Wear smartwatch. However, Apple’s lead in this department is simply unquestionable, and the chances of Google significantly narrowing the gap in the immediate future are in practical terms zero.
This is a major strength of the Android system, certainly in comparison to Apple devices. The iPhone in particular has been associated with a pretty poor battery life over the years, and although Apple has attempted to improve this in iOS 8, the iPhone 6 still doesn’t really deliver anything outstanding in this department. By contrast, Google has added a dedicated battery saver mode to Android Lollipop, which will deliver up to 90 minutes of extra use per charge. It seems likely that those desiring longer battery life will continue to be better served by Android.
According to reports, Android L did not outperform Android KitKat in speed tests. The same has been suggested with regard to the comparison between iOS 8 and iOS 7.
Finally, Android L comes complete with a new product which was not predicted by analysts – Nexus Player. As a result of this, Android TV is integrated into Lollipop providing a great deal of entertainment functionality. iOS 8 already includes Apple TV, which offers extremely similar features to Nexus Player, but is of course more established.