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Stock Android Isn't Perfect: Lollipop Edition

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.

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Getting To Know Android: Lollipop Edition

Android 5.0 Lollipop (known previously as just L) was the biggest change to Android since Ice Cream Sandwich. Frankly, I’d rank it as the biggest change to Android ever, for a variety of reasons.

Google has ostensibly searched every corner of Android for opportunities to tweak, improve, or completely reimagine the platform, and Lollipop is the result.

The most noticeable change was undoubtedly the addition of material design, the very first time Google has openly, publicly taken on a cohesive and thoughtful design philosophy, making it - in theory - accessible to everyone, and defining its rules clearly. Material design, which I've written about before, is a huge design shift, which can trace its roots all the way back to Matias Duarte's work on Palm's WebOS.

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[Lollipop Feature Spotlight] Android 5.0 Supports Over 200 Additional Emoji Flags (Compared To 10 On Other Platforms)

Here's something most of us probably weren't aware of. Since Unicode 6.0, Emoji flags have each been given a two-letter regional indicator listed in ISO_3166-1. Until now, only ten of these flags actually showed up as images on Android. This remains the case on other platforms, such as iOS, Windows, and Mac OS X. Instead of an image, you see the two characters associated with each country. You can test this out for yourself by going over to Emojipedia and seeing which flags load (the ten standard ones are placed separately at the top).

On Android 5.0, this situation changes drastically. Users are able to see over 200 flags.

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Motorola's Soak Test For Lollipop On The Moto X 2014 Is Already Beginning

Motorola's been planning a soak test for select users of the Moto X 2014 Pure Edition for a little while now, and it looks like it's officially beginning. Earlier this evening, a tipster shared a shot of the update prompt with us, confirming that the test is bringing Android 5.0 Lollipop to the handset, earlier than Google's own OTAs for existing Nexus devices (besides the new Nexus 9 and unreleased Nexus 6). Motorola has itself uploaded release notes for the update, describing some of Lollipop's new treats for Moto X users. Lock screen notifications, interruption control, screen pinning, and other features we've come to know appear to be in tow.

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Google Calendar 5.0 Is Ready For Your 4.0.3+ Devices [APK Download]

Yes, you read that right. We took an early look at it a couple of weeks ago, then Google formally announced its existence, and now Google Calendar 5.0 is here and ready for download, working on devices running Android 4.0.3 and up.

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The app itself is exactly what you'd expect having seen our previous coverage - a super smart "schedule" layout at the front, with supporting day and 5-day views on phones, with a month and week view appearing on tablets. (Week view also appears on phones in landscape.)

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Google's new Calendar app integrates events from Gmail and your reminders, adding them in just like any other appointment, and putting in smart imagery where appropriate - including a map snippet when your event has a location set.

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[Smile, Santa] Google Resolves Issue #41827, The Most Jarring Issue In The Android Bug Tracker For The Past Two Years

Yesterday we reported on the appearance of several redesigned emoji in the keyboard Google's rolling out with Android 5.0. In the piece, I concentrated on the improved consistency brought in by the tweaks. As it turns out, there was one more change hidden in plain sight among the others, and its importance shadows all others. Google has quietly addressed a bug report that has lingered for years.

Let's take a look at the issue at hand here. These are two of the images included in yesterday's post. On the left, we have the old set of emoji. On the right, we have the new ones included with Lollipop's version of Google Keyboard.

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[Lollipop Feature Spotlight] Google Keyboard Comes With Various New, Redesigned Emoji

In Android 5.0, the default keyboard looks substantially different from how it has looked largely since the days of Ice Cream Sandwich. The new out-of-the-box method of typing comes with a flatter theme that supplies a stark new feel. At the end of the day, though, it's still used primary to punch in letters onto the screen, and there's nothing particularly exciting to share there. One change we would like to highlight though is the addition of new emoji.

Google hasn't completely redone the full collection of smiley faces and other icons, but it has taken this time to alter some of its previous work.

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Check Out Gmail 5.0 For Android And Google's Plan To Handle All Your Email Accounts In One App

Google's been updating apps left and right recently to fall in line with its new material design philosophy, and the results have been impressive. There are a few apps it appears Google's saving for the final Lollipop release though - Gmail 5.0 among them.

While we won't be distributing the updated Gmail app until the official update is released, we will be sharing a goody from the new onboarding process, which shows some of the new awesomeness coming to the app in its overhaul.

Specifically, it looks like Google's gearing up to handle all your email with Gmail, not just your Gmail account.

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[Lollipop Feature Spotlight] Restoring Homescreen Apps From Another Device Brings Along Gray Placeholder Icons

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. You can read up on this process in greater detail in a previous Lollipop spotlight post.

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