Google has officially announced the availability of Android 5.1 Lollipop – the latest revision of the company’s mobile operating system. The release will be welcomed by those who reported problems after installing one of the initial versions of Lollipop, but in addition to bug fixes, the update also offers a number of performance improves and new features.
Security has been improved, with the addition of Device Protection. Android 5.1 Lollipop offers the ability to completely lock a device, until the owner’s Google account details are used to sign back in.
Device Protection means that smartphones and tablets should remain locked, even if they are reset to a factory default state following a loss or theft.
Support for HD Voice has also been included in Android 5.1 Lollipop. This means that compatible devices, such as the Nexus 6, will be able to offer crystal clear voice calls when used on a network which supports the feature.
HD Voice is fairly well supported by mobile networks. In the United Kingdom, for example, HD Voice is available on Three, EE and Vodafone – only O2 does not currently offer the feature.
Android 5.1 Lollipop also includes some usability improvements. Changes to Quick Settings mean that it is now even easier to control a paired Bluetooth device or join a Wi-Fi network.
The latest version of Android also supports the use of multiple SIM cards. Dual SIM smartphones are particularly popular in China and India, where users like to switch between networks, in order to take advantage of cheaper tariffs.
The official release of Android 5.1 Lollipop has been widely expected, as the mobile OS is already available on the Android One platform in Indonesia.
Prior to Google’s official announcement, T-Mobile in the United States had updated their support documents, revealing that they plan to make the release available on the Nexus 4, Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 2013 edition. The T-Mobile support documents refer specifically to the build version LMY47D.
Although Google has yet to confirm officially which devices will receive the Android 5.1 Lollipop update, it will be much more widely distributed than T-Mobile’s support documents indicate.