For a while now, we've been aware of an unreleased keyboard theme, shown off in screenshots of Google Chrome on the Play Store. Today, the Android 5.0 Lollipop developer preview brought us Google Keyboard 4.0 that carries both the Material Light and Dark themes. There's really not much to say about the themes that can't be communicated in images - they are similar to the keyboard included in the original dev preview, but now there's a light theme.
We've been waiting on a big update to Google's search app, having seen screenshots here and there that hinted at an updated design. With today's new Lollipop developer preview, the Google app's 4.0 incarnation was made available. We've got a download at the bottom of the post, but be sure to read the instructions first as getting this up and running on pre-L devices requires some extra fiddling. Also, you'll need to be rooted.
Previously, long-pressing a notification would offer a link to the app info page of any app that produced it. With Android 5.0 Lollipop Google is improving this functionality. Simply long-press and you get the app name and icon, as well as a link to the app notification settings. Look at how wonderfully hypnotic the animation is.
Chrome and Android have been strengthening the old Google family ties for a while now, but according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, they just got a little tighter. The WSJ reports that Hiroshi Lockheimer, who currently serves as the Vice President of Engineering for Android, has also assumed the role of Vice President of Engineering for Chrome. That would put him in charge to a greater or lesser degree of the Chrome browser on desktops, Chromebooks and similar ChromeOS hardware, and Chrome on Android and iOS, plus whatever else Google has cooking up.
Lollipop brings in significant changes to the way Android switches back and forth between recent apps. In KitKat, this feature worked the same way it did in Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean. In short, you clicked the third icon in the navigation bar at the bottom, and the recent apps appeared as a list of thumbnails and app icons arranged into a column.
With Android 5.0, the entire look and feel changes.
On a scale of one to ten, I avoided Flappy Bird like the plague. I didn't play it. I didn't write about it. I didn't look at it in the Play Store. I wanted nothing to do with it and its evil ways. If you just can't get enough of that silly crap, however, there's an Easter Egg in Lollipop that you're just going to love: a Flappy Bird clone with huge lollipops and the bugdroid.
When Samsung and LG began selling their Android Wear watches, it seems they made a small oversight: the only way to get the proprietary POGO pin charging docks was to buy the watch. That left customers who had lost or damaged the chargers with no way to get their devices charged again. LG made good on the problem by adding a G Watch Charger to the Play Store back in August, and now Samsung has followed up for the Gear Live as well.
Lollipop goes after the operating system's janky app restoration process in a big way. Android 5.0 lets users transfer data from one device to another just by tapping the two together using Near Field Communication. But if you don't have a gadget with NFC or can't be bothered with that approach, the setup process also lets you pull down apps from devices that have been backed up to your account. You can even select specific apps to download, so you don't need to bring down all of the junk from your other device.