Android Lollipop Rolls Out on New Nexus Devices Nov. 3
The first devices featuring Google's latest update to its Android operating system -- Android 5.0 Lollipop -- will be the 5.96-inch-screen Nexus 6 "phablet" and the 8.9-inch-screen Nexus 9 tablet. The Nexus 9 is expected to be the first to hit the market, with a scheduled ship date of Nov. 3.
Starting at $399.99, the Nexus 9 is already available for pre-order. Designed in partnership with HTC, the tablet features a 2.3GHz Tegra processor and 2 GB of RAM. The device can be used as a mini-laptop with the addition of a magnetically attached keyboard folio that pairs with it wirelessly using Bluetooth.
Set to be available for pre-order later this month and hitting stores sometime in November will be the extra-large Nexus 6 phone, a phablet that has been given the nickname "Shamu" for its size. With an expected price tag of $649, the whale of a smartphone will include a 2.7-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor and a 13-megapixel camera.
A 'Material Design' World
Both of the new devices will be "immersed in the new world of material design," according to Google. That's the term the company is using to describe Android 5.0 Lollipop's "new approach for designing apps in today's multi-device world," said Android Developer Advocate Ankur Kotwal. Material design, Kotwal said, "takes a comprehensive strategy to visual, motion, and interaction design across a number of platforms and form factors."
Devices using Android 5.0 Lollipop will also deliver several other user experience updates, including enhanced notifications. That feature will allow users to prioritize notifications so they appear at a glance without the need to unlock the device. Heads-up notifications will appear in a small floating window, no matter which other apps might be operating in the foreground.
Android 5.0 Lollipop also enables users to organize apps by tasks, setting those to appear as concurrent "documents" on the Overview screen.
"For example, instant messaging apps could declare each chat as a separate document," Kotwal writes. "Users can flip through these on the Overview screen to find the specific chat they want and jump straight to it."
Extending Android 'to TVs and Cars'
Google released its full software developer kit for Android 5.0 Lollipop last week, and provided media outlets with a hands-on sneak preview of the new Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 at its headquarters earlier this week.
The company calls the latest Android OS update its "largest and most ambitious" release to date. Lollipop, Google says, will extend Android "even further, from phones, tablets, and wearables, to TVs and cars."
Other features of Android 5.0 Lollipop include support for Android Runtime, or ART, and for 64-bit ABIs, new tools and APIs for developing battery-efficient apps; and updates to WebView. The updated OS also comes with a new API for advanced camera capabilities and an enhanced architecture for sound.