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Android Lollipop: Is the update worth it?

The rollout of the latest version of the Android operating system is currently in full swing – so if you haven’t yet received an invite to revamp your mobile, expect to get one any day now.

So does Android Lollipop make any difference to your phone? Are there any bugs or teething troubles users should be aware of? If you’re perfectly happy with your phone right now, what happens if you ignore the update and leave things just the way they are?

We take a look…

What is Android Lollipop?

Your smartphone is a mini computer – and even when tucked away in your pocket, it usually has a handful of tasks on the go – and the job of the operating system is to manage everything. More than this though, it determines the whole look and feel of your phone. If it’s any good, your operating system lets you get to where you want to be quickly and without any hassle.

Unless you’ve got an iPhone or a Windows phone, your operating system is almost certainly Android. Android 5.0 (aka ‘Lollipop’) is the latest version and if you update to it, you can expect the following changes to the way your phone looks at present…

It looks and feels slicker…

Download Lollipop and you’ll still have the same familiar grid of icons on the main home screen:  it’s just that everything is that little bit more polished. This new look goes under the name “Material Design”. It includes various minor changes – such as the use of shadowing around the icons and a reshaping of the Back, Home and Overview buttons at the bottom of the screen. 

It has a revamped Notifications screen… 

No longer do you have to unlock the device to see events. Email headings, appointments and text message details all appear on the lock screen – so just double tap on a detail to open the relevant app and get to work. Google has also changed the way the phone works when you’re using it. For instance, if a message comes in when you are watching a film or reading a book, a pop-up will appear very briefly at the top of the screen – without interrupting things too much. For the first time with Android, there’s also a ‘Do not disturb’ function.

It may boost your battery life…

It’s all down to what Google calls “Project Volta”. Thanks to some tinkering under the bonnet, Android now works more efficiently with individual apps so they are less power hungry. Whether or not you’ll notice any difference in real life depends on whether the app developers make use of this feature in their future offerings.   

So are there any catches?

Rarely does an update of this nature turn out to be totally glitch-free – not least because the software has to be tweaked and stabilised for each of the devices it’s going to be used with. Here are some of the glitches that have been reported over the last few weeks:

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5. Rather than boosting battery life, reports over the last few weeks suggest some users are experiencing significant power drainage problems post-update. Some have also experienced a drop-off in performance speed and Wi-Fi connectivity issues. If this sounds familiar, Gottabemobile.com has provided a handy troubleshooting guide.
  • HTC One M7 and M8: The rollout for HTC’s flagships has only just started in earnest over the last couple of weeks – although already there is the suggestion of battery drain and app crashing issues for some users. Read here how to get back on track.
  • Google’s Nexus range is designed to give the purest possible Android experience – yet it seems even these devices are not immune to problems as these tips demonstrate.  

Is it worth it?

Although slightly annoying, the problems reported with Android Lollipop are, for the most part at least, minor glitches that are easily fixable. Already we’ve already seen Lollipop 5.01 and 5.02 to put Google well on the way to eliminating most of the minor annoyances encountered by owners.

So yes, on balance you should update – especially if you’re planning on hanging on to your current device for a good few months or more. This isn’t just about the cosmetic changes to the interface: bear in mind that from now on in, all the new apps, games and widgets you download will be designed with this new operating system in mind. If you don’t have it, you could be missing out when it comes to getting the most out of these tools.

Want to make sure your phone stays futureproof? Check out our very special collection of designer phone  cases available to buy online right now at amazing prices. Stay tuned to Mobile Madhouse for information on the hottest new Android releases – including the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9.

The rollout of the latest version of the Android operating system is currently in full swing – so if you haven’t yet received an invite to revamp your mobile, expect to get one any day now.

So does Android Lollipop make any difference to your phone? Are there any bugs or teething troubles users should be aware of? If you’re perfectly happy with your phone right now, what happens if you ignore the update and leave things just the way they are?

We take a look…

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