Talk about perfect timing. Just a few hours after Apple’s “Spring Forward” event announcing the new 2015 MacBook and Apple Watch prices, Google has officially announced Android 5.1 Lollipop, the latest version of the world’s most popular mobile operating system.
Android 5.1 Lollipop introduces three main features: multiple SIM card support, Device Protection and HD voice support alongside some other minor features.
Multiple SIM card support is a welcome addition to Android, and not just for high-end smartphones (which should all have multi-SIM variants, don’t you think?). Google’s Android One project, which is aimed at offering Android devices with great value for money, is set to benefit the most from this update, allowing users to manage mobile costs more efficiently.
On the other hand, Device Protection will be an exceptionally useful feature that Google hopes will reduce smartphone theft. When activated, a lost or stolen device cannot be unlocked until the owner signs in with their Google account. What’s interesting here is the fact that Device Protection lock will remain active even if the thief does a factory reset – your Google account password is now a lot more important.
Then, there’s HD voice support. A feature that some smartphone makers enable by default, HD Voice is supported only on selected devices, making use of various hardware and software algorithms to make voice calls clearer on both ends.
Finally, there are also a few minor changes to the UI, such as the ability to connect to WiFi networks or control paired Bluetooth devices directly from the Quick Settings toggle.
Android 5.1 will roll out initially to the latest Nexus devices, the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9, before rolling out to other mobile devices depending on the smartphone maker’s update policy. There is, however, no timeline on the OTA update from Google.