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5 reasons you should jump on Android's Good Ship Lollipop

Here’s what we’re excited to try out on the latest version of the mobile operating system

Published: October 16, 2014 01:15 PM

Google yesterday announced the launch of Lollipop, also known as Android Version 5, the latest version of its operating system. It also revealed details about a new tablet, phone, and Android TV product. Here are five of the highlights of the new OS, which will roll out to eligible devices in the coming weeks.

1. Android everywhere

Lollipop runs on phones, tablets, watches, TVs, and cars, and Google wants to make integration across all those devices seamless. So if, for example, you’re watching a movie on your tablet and decide a bigger screen would be better, you’ll be able to go to your TV and start watching where you left off.

2. The kill switch comes to Android

Google catches up to Apple with this feature, which prevents anyone who steals a smart phone from reformatting the device or doing a factory reset.

3. Longer battery life

Google claims that a new power-saving feature in Lollipop will extend battery life by 90 minutes. New tools will also make power management easier.

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Google Nexus 9 tablet

4. Notifications the way you want them

Lollipop adds new ways to control notifications from calls, apps, social media, and so on. You’ll be able, for example, to view and respond to messages from a locked screen. You’ll also be able to control the way in which potentially sensitive information appears.

5. Cool new gear 

The latest in Google’s tablet line, the Nexus 9, has an 8.9-inch display, a size new to the brand. Borrowing from the Google Glass interface, the Nexus 9 lets you initiate a search and perform certain other hands-free actions, starting with the voice command “OK Google.” It weighs about 15 ounces, has a Tegra K1 processor (which Google says is great for gaming—we’ll check that out when we lab-test it), and comes with 16 or 32GB of storage. It starts at $400 and will be available for preorder Oct. 17 and in stores Nov. 3.

The 6-inch Nexus 6 phone will also feature the hands-free OK Google command. Another feature called Turbo Charger is meant to give your phone 6 hours of battery life with just a 15-minute charge. The Nexus 6 also has a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and 2-megapixel front-facing camera. The Nexus 6 will be available for preorder in late October and in stores in November. Service providers will include AT&T, Verizon, U.S. Cellular, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

Finally, the new Nexus Player will let you stream media from Netflix, Hulu Plus, and other apps. It also comes with a gaming controller and will let you use voice commands. It will be available for preorder on Oct. 17 and in stores Nov. 3. 

—Donna Tapellini

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