The moment Android fans have been eagerly awaiting for months finally arrived on Wednesday as Google finally announced release details for Android 5.0 Lollipop. Android L’s most obvious new feature is the inclusion of Material Design, a new design interface that is notable for its flatter icons and its physics-based animations that will give both Android apps and the platform itself a smoother and more consistent user experience.
Although Material Design is the most noticeable change with Android 5.0, it’s far from the only one. Google has also implemented a new lock screen that comes with notifications that won’t force you to open up an app to take action on them. So for instance, you’ll be able to delete email messages from your device’s lock screen or from your notifications center now without having to actually open up Gmail to trash them.
Android 5.0 is also the first version of Android that’s been optimized for 64-bit architecture, which will presumably open the floodgates for hardware manufacturers to start cranking out 64-bit Android smartphones and tablets. This is important because chips with more bits can handle more memory, which means that a 32-bit chip is designed to handle memory addresses of up to 32 bits while a 64-bit chip is designed to handle memory addresses of up to 64 bits.
And finally, Android 5.0 features a bunch of improvements in battery efficiency thanks to Google’s Project Volta, which has been working on ways to extend your Android device’s battery life by as much as 90 extra minutes when it’s low on power.
Android 5.0 will be released for the Nexus 5, Nexus 7, Nexus 10 and Google Play Edition devices in the coming weeks. There is no timetable yet about when it will release to other popular Android devices such as the Galaxy S5, HTC One (M8) or LG G3.