We've seen signs of Android 5.1.1 for the last couple of weeks in both the Android SDK Manager and Developer Portal, and it looks like it's finally ready to go live. The Nexus Player is the first device to be graced by the update, bringing the build number up to LMY47V. So far, there haven't been any reports of OTAs hitting the set-top box, but Google has posted the factory image and binaries.
Of course, now that we've posted Getting To Know Android: Lollipop Edition, it's time to get picky and have a look at the things that still need fixing. As always, we'll be running through some of the issues hanging around in the latest iteration of Android, and taking a look at what's been fixed since our last Stock Android Isn't Perfect post.
Fixes and Updates
Lollipop, as I said in the other post, is probably the biggest change Android has ever seen, so some issues from KitKat have simply disappeared, while others have been fixed in their own ways. We'll take a look at what's changed from our last SAIP entry, and then continue on with the new nitpicks as necessary.
You can't do as much with a smartwatch as you can with a phone, but these little wrist computers are surprisingly capable. You just need the right apps. Well, and watch faces too. Google highlights a few Wear apps from time to time, but we're always watching in order to spot the best things for your watch, and here they are.
Google Maps offers some stellar features, but that doesn't mean that it can't be improved upon, particularly in the area of public transit. Moovit is a navigation app that specializes in bus and train routes, and the latest version completely overhauls the interface. In particular it's much easier to assign a destination location from the main screen: instead of manually entering an address via text, just slide the map around until the indicator is where you want to go.
Plex is one of the easiest ways to view local video on your mobile devices, and its developers have been gradually cranking out updates as of late that improve the Android experience. Version 4.2 doesn't overhaul the experience, but it does introduce a number of tweaks to the user interface.
One addition is the new Discover mode to help you browse the content in your library. A panel at the bottom allows you to easily switch between it and standard navigation.
The changes aren't all visual. Now each user can save their own Account, Experience, and Video preferences.
For the full set of improvements and alterations, here's the changelog straight from Plex.
Adobe released Lightroom Mobile on Android a few months back, but at the time there were some baffling gaps in the feature set. Today's update fills in a few of the missing pieces, but you'll still need a Creative Cloud subscription to use it. Don't expect that to change any time soon.
At this point, there is no real shortage of "smart" launchers in the Android ecosystem. Of course, we have to put "smart" in quotation marks, because there still is a void in terms of truly good products trying to do that. So when I tell you that Bento is a new entrant in this bustling market of context-aware launchers, you shouldn't ask, "do we need another one?" You should ask, "is this the one that will really do a great job?"
Bento is a venture capital-backed project that is in a semi-private beta at the moment. As I go over the app in its current state, it's important to keep in mind that it is not a finished product at this point and is not the kind of wide-release beta that you might be accustomed to.
I'm sure you've already heard, but today there are changes coming of biblical proportions. Wait, you didn't hear about Mobilegeddon? This is indeed the term being applied to a Google search algorithm update being applied today that will rank mobile-optimized sites higher in searches from phones. The big drama about this is that, well, Google is very powerful and changes to their ranking systems have a habit of being destructive to affected sites. Mobilegeddon gets a name due in large part to the fact that it's the rare algorithm change that Google has detailed and warned about in advance of its rollout, having set a date back in February.