I downloaded the Android 5.0 ‘Lollipop’ update with no expectations and armed with sheer indifference — unlike many self-proclaimed ‘geeks’ who spent weeks on ‘forums’ eagerly lapping up every scrap of information on what Google described as a “quantum leap forward”. I didn’t crawl the web scavenging for tips on how to get the update message to come up on my phone screen at least a day before that ‘nerd’ friend gets it. I don’t change phones every three months, nor do I get a sinking feeling when a bigger, ‘better’ (read more unwieldy) version of any gadget is released within a few months of my buying it. And no, I will never stand in a queue (online or otherwise) to buy a gizmo.
I bought my Nexus 5 from an LG store after I specifically told them: “Black. 32 GB. Keep it aside for me. I’ll come by and collect it after checking it out.” Because ideally, people should run technology, technology should not run people. But then again, the year is not 1992. Here we are in 2014: It’s a wonderful (Google) world. So here goes:
BATTERY SAVER MODE: It was nice to see a battery saver pop up on its own (I don’t use a battery saver app). Definitely an improvement and a much-needed confidence building measure that the phone may not, repeat may not, switch off in the middle of an important call. But then again, there is no gaurantee that the battery life will improve. The jury is still out on that one.
TIME UPDATES WHILE CHARGING: It is cool to know exactly how much time it will be before your phone is fully charged. So you can decide whether to have one more coffee before leaving for office. And whether you need to take the charger with you. A nice step up from ‘Charging, 83 per cent’. Oh wait, this is Android. Take the charger with you anyway.
NOTIFICATIONS: You see (only) what you want to see – right on the lock screen. Google has magnanimously given you much more control over app notifications and ‘Priority Mode’ is useful when you just want the phone to shut up. Selectively. There is a timer, too. Thankfully, it works. But everyone is not a fan. It can be slightly confusing. And really, they should just bring back silent mode.
MULTI-USER SUPPORT: If someone else – friends or family – needs to or wants to use YOUR phone, with their own apps, data and settings, they can. Of course, only if you let them. But it is doable with this OS – Temporarily, too. Colleague wants to send an emergency email? Try guest mode. But wait: I think this is a stupid feature except maybe in emergency situations. Because everyone has their own smartphones, right? Of course, if you have sensitive data on your phone, congratulations. No one can snoop. There is also Smart Lock, but I don’t seem to have access to it yet.
TAP & GO: Transferring data from an older Android device to a new smartphone or tablet with Lollipop is incredibly simple: All it takes is just one tap. Very cool.
TOO MANY COLOURS: To quote a friend, the apps – pretty much everything actually, – shoots up on the screen “like flowerpots on Diwali”. It’s nice initially: Until you notice the explosion of garish colours. There’s red, pink, green, lavender, grey and just too much white as well. Even the contacts are colour-coded. Jarring. And without much point at all. ‘Material design’ and animation is welcome, but overkill is not. I want to look at a phone, not a smorgasboard.
BATTERY DRAIN: This remains an inconvenient truth, despite Google’s ambitious claims. Is this OS also so unreasonable that only a factory reset will (possibly) help fix the battery drain? Why does it happen despite additional safeguards such as swiping away apps when not using them? Oh, this is Android. Excellent battery life is a pipe dream for many of us. But I live in hope.
RECENT APPS SWITCHER: Swipe. Swipe. Swipe. Swipe. Swipe. Say “What?! I thought already closed that!” Swipe. Swipe. Swipe. Swipe. Repeat. Thanks, but no thanks. No one wants to spend a minute or two or five just swiping away a few dozen recent apps. Seriously. Here, Google just didn’t play its ‘cards’ right.
MERGED TABS: And while we are on the subject, it might be a good idea to disable ‘Merge tabs’ on Chrome so that it doesn’t feel like you are playing a video game and trying to kill aliens when actually you are cutting through a maze of your recent tabs. Incredibly, some of the tabs are of finished tasks, such as random Google searches that have no relevance at the moment you are staring at some 30 tabs. Erm, Google actually thought stacking up a cluttered mess is a smart move?
GONE GALLERY: Fine, Google had always meant to kill the Galllery app in favour of Photos. But what about those who have to now take a roundabout route, a detour, to view their pictures? The same goes for the Email app, because all emails will now use Gmail by default. What was the logic behind keeping it then?
PS: No one cares what phone you flaunt, how much you are into technology or how it took an OS to make your life easier. Try Googling things in YOUR head, for a change. ‘No results’, eh? I’m not surprised. It’s ok. Now rush. Find out when the next iPhone is being rolled out. Or what Samsung’s next move will be. Google it. And don’t crib if your annoying cousin in the US gets hold of that phone you’ve been meaning to buy before you do. Relax. There’s still hope for you in life. Or just go ahead and place all your faith in silly, unreliable technology. Good luck, and Godspeed.