Android 5.1 brings several much-needed updates to Lollipop


Android 5.0 Lollipop has been out for 8 months now. That is if you include the few days it lived on as Android L in its preview phase. After it went official with the Nexus 6 in October, it has gone on to witness slow adoption thanks in part to various bugs and the usual dragging of feet by OEMs and their partners. Two days ago, Google announced Android 5.1 as a point update to address those bugs it has been struggling with over the last several months and introduce a few features as well.

The Android 5.1 change log features over 14,000 items but the following are what you need to know, unless you’re a developer in which case you know where to go for that (start here):

  • Multi-SIM card device support – yes, before Lollipop, Android did not have this as a native feature. It’s now there.
  • Device Protection – incase your Android device happens to fall in the wrong hands, it will stay locked until you enter your Google account information regardless of whether the thief has factory reset the device or not. It’s good to see the work started by Android Device Manager being taken a notch higher.
  • HD voice calling – for compatible devices, native high definition voice calling is now supported on Android.
  • Others – While Android 5.0 brought along the much-needed refresh to Android’s general design language with Material Design, it took some novelties we’re used to as well. Like Silent Mode. There’s no Silent Mode in Lollipop and users have been forced to either use some rather complex and risky workarounds or just get used to turning on the ‘no interruption mode’. With 5.1, Google is sneaking in some consolation of sorts: the LED notification will light up to show any notifications when you’ve turned on the ‘no interruption mode’. Not that it is what you want but at least, a quarter bread (not half) is something, right? Never mind that ‘no interruption mode’ ought to mean just that, no interruptions. There are quite a number of reported instances of high battery drain upon updating to Lollipop. I have experienced this after upgrading and many other users have as well. Android 5.1 promises to fix this. Memory leak has been addressed as well. Well, sort of.

See this Reddit thread for more.


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