Developers have a lot to look forward to with the latest release of Android, but not everything requires Lollipop to run. With the official release of the SDK for API Level 21, Google also included an updated version of the AppCompat Support Library, which contains back-ported versions of UI controls and other features for use on older versions of the OS. Some of the new libraries were first available with the L Preview SDK, but just about everything has received an update, and there are some additions for the official release.
Update: While the message sent out to developers may be new, as it turns out, the information is not. It repeats what Google said back when it announced the availability of the Android 5.0 SDK. Here's the relevant passage.
Among the many features Google talked about when the Android L preview rolled out was an improved version of Android Beam, and it's here in the new Android 5.0 dev preview. NFC sharing has existed since Android 4.0 in some form or another, but now it's finally something you can use without second-guessing yourself. Just pick a file and start beaming.
Google has used the CRT-style screen-off animation since Gingerbread. That animation is gone in Lollipop, replaced with a gentle fade out. Frankly, I'm surprised the CRT stuck around this long. However, the new animation isn't just a fade to black. It actually fades to black and white—observe.
Left: normal speed, Right: slowed by 5 times
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.
The final round of Developer Preview images released on Friday left a number of users without root access on their devices, but a lightning fast quick-fix by Chainfire had them back in business the following day. Yesterday, he took to Google+ with a follow-up of how it works and the issues that are making it more difficult to acquire root on the latest version of Android.
Due to increasingly effective security measures and stricter enforcement of SELinux, it seems that many, or possibly all of the available methods for initializing the SuperSU daemon at startup have been rendered ineffective.
Android 5.0 has a lot of really useful features, which we've been covering in detail as part of the Lollipop Feature Spotlight series. You know what else it has, though? Animations. Many, many lovely animations. If you follow Artem on Google+, you've probably seen him post some GIFs of Lollipop looking hot, but we've pulled together all those GIFs along with some new ones to give you a quick tour of Google's latest and greatest.
You can simply look at a Nexus 6 and this year's Moto X to see the strong similarity between the two devices. While it may be somewhat of a disappointment to see the Nexus venture away from the design found in last year's phone and Google's two most recent tablets, there are some good things to come from this turn of events. One such nicety is the inclusion of something akin to Moto Display, formerly known as Active Display, and referred to here as Ambient Display.
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.
Face unlock was added in Android 4.0, but it was little more than a clever tech demo. It was a pain to use for many reasons, not least of all it actually took longer to unlock the device than a regular lock screen. Along with trusted devices, Android 5.0's smart lock functionality includes trusted face mode. It fixes face unlock, and fixes it good. It's seriously amazing.