By Paul Gorski
Android v5 (5.0.1, 5.0.2 or 5.1 depending on your device) is Google’s most recent update to its popular smartphone and tablet operating system. I have tested with the various v5 subversions and I am not “wowed.” Google assigned the name “Lollipop” to this version–I do not find this version sweet at all.
Unlike iOS 8, Android users cannot simply download the v5 update. Unless you buy a new phone with Lollipop pre-installed, your provider needs to tweak the Android OS and support it for your phone. The update has been available to some users since November 2014, but many other users are still waiting for their carriers to release the update. In addition, many not-so-old smartphones are not eligible for the upgrade. At publication time, only 10 percent of all Android users were running v5 or v5.1. That includes new users and upgrades.
In comparison, Apple’s iOS 8 was released in September 2014, is on its third major subversion, and has been installed on about 80 percent of compatible iPhones and iPads. No, the iOS 8 rollout was not smooth as silk either.
Google claims this a significant Android upgrade, especially when it comes to the new “material design” look and feel. I do not see it. Reviewers claim Lollipop is brighter, more vibrant and better designed. I think those reviewers just read the Google press release and ran with it. Android v4.4.4, KitKat, has a bright, intuitive motif, and was designed to be faster on older phones. I like KitKat. The initial version of Lollipop simply crawled on Google’s flagship phone, the Nexus 6. It took Google almost five months to release a fix for Lollipop that allowed the Nexus 6 to run at full speed.
Unfortunately, Google has stopped issuing security updates and patches for Android versions less than 4.4. So, it is KitKat or Lollipop if you want a secure phone. This policy forces an entire generation of perfectly usable phones into retirement.
I am tired of the Google and Apple advertising machines, hyping every small little patch or upgrade. Eventually, users will catch on and turn off. Still interested in “Lollipop” visit android.com/intl/en_us/versions/lollipop-5-0/ to learn more about the wonderful, fabulous, must-have features it offers. Share your Lollipop experiences by email or by commenting online at rockrivertimes.com.
If you want a reliable, inexpensive Android phone, look at the Motorola Moto G (second generation) running KitKit version 4.4.4. The Moto G is not blazingly fast, but has been a very popular Android-based smartphone. The Moto G should be eligible for the Lollipop upgrade, eventually, once they work the bugs out.