Android 5.0 brings with it a big redesign of the notification and Quick Settings area, but there was a seemingly odd quirk in the first developer preview. You could see the notifications when Quick Settings was open, but you couldn't interact. Now you can.
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.
Use two-factor authentication? If not, you should, because it's more secure than if you don't use it. If you already use it, then you probably remember a time when the Android setup process was obnoxious because you not only had to put in your password twice, but also had to deal with an annoying web prompt to enter the passcode. It's a hard knock life.
Google fixed the first issue a while back when it removed the second password prompt, which made us all happy.
The new developer preview of Android 5.0 includes one tweak I'm sure everyone will be happy about—the dismiss all button has returned to the notification shade. I don't think anyone seriously considered the possibility that it would be gone forever, but it's good to see it back.
Since the dawn of time (or thereabouts), setting up a new Android device has been a real pain. Most users have their devices set up exactly how they want them, from installed apps to homescreens and everything in between. So when it's time to fire up that shiny new device and start using it (or after performing a factory reset), the next 4-6 hours of life are taken up by the tedious process that is getting everything back together.
Say it with me now: piracy is bad. There are ways to get free copies of just about everything online, but even setting aside the legal and moral aspects of it, doing so can come with the risk of infecting your computer with something icky or falling victim to a phishing attempt. People who know their way around the woods will continue to be able to take advantage of things, but Google's working on reducing the likelihood that the average user will end up in a place they don't want to be.
Last summer's trifecta of DROIDs are all getting hit by the same over-the-air update right about now. Verizon has announced a bump up to software version 23.1.12 that's going out to the DROID Maxx, Mini, and Ultra. The OTA prepares the devices to deliver better call quality through what the carrier has coined Advanced Calling 1.0.
This update also brings along improvements to the phones' messaging client and visual voicemail service.
On Wednesday, Google teased developers and enthusiasts by officially announcing Lollipop, but chose to delay the release of anything substantial for another two days. Well, we've waited for the obligatory 48 hours, and the SDK is finally available, just in time for the weekend. (Yay?) Developers can finally abandon the interim SDK and move on to the real thing. There's no more pretending 'L' counts as an API Level, Android 5.0 is officially numbered 21.