Google’s mysterious Android 5.1 Lollipop update continues to show up on new devices though it remains unreleased for top Nexus smartphones and tablets. That could change in the future though as a Nexus 5 Android 5.1 Lollipop release has been rumored for arrival. Again.
Towards the tail end of last year, an Android 5.1 Lollipop rumor indicated that Google was cooking up another Android 5.0 Lollipop update for Android users. The rumor pointed to a massive bug fixer for Android 5.0 Lollipop problems. In the weeks that followed, Nexus users were greeted with Android 5.0.2 Lollipop and Android 5.0.1 Lollipop updates but no Android 5.1.
Earlier this month, Google confirmed an Android 5.1 Lollipop update out of nowhere. Google’s quietly been putting Android 5.1 on Android One devices in Indonesia and today, we learned that Android 5.1 is available on Android One models in the Philippines. Google’s since scrubbed all trace of the Android 5.1 update from its websites leaving Nexus users and owners of Google Play Edition devices scratching their heads.
While an Android 5.1 Lollipop roll out is still non-existent for Nexus users, it does look like one is on the way. Several weeks ago, it became clear that Google is least testing the Android 5.1 Lollipop update on the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, and Nexus 9. It still hasn’t confirmed any of these updates though new details have emerged today.
A new benchmark, first noticed by Dutch site TechTastic, shows a Nexus 5 model running an Android 5.1 Lollipop update. The benchmark is from the popular GeekBench database. The listing could mean that Google, or someone else, is testing the software on the Nexus 5 behind the scenes. It does not, however, mean that a Nexus 5 Android 5.1 Lollipop release is imminent.
If and when Google decides to push Android 5.1 Lollipop to Nexus devices, the updates will appear first in the company’s Android Open Source Project (AOSP) before moving out to Nexus 5 owners and owners of other Nexus smartphones and tablets Over-the-Air.
At this point, the Android 5.1 Lollipop remains fairly mysterious though we’ve been able to glean at least one new feature. The one big change that’s been discovered is the ability to change Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections from the Quick Settings menu. This will allow Android users to quickly change settings without leaving an application. Given that it’s a big jump in version, we should see more than just one change.
The Android 5.1 Lollipop update was rumored to have a number of fixes on board, fixes that could quell some of the lingering Android 5.0 Lollipop problems still plaguing owners of the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, and Nexus 9.
- Silent mode added after missing on Android 5.0
- General improvements in system stability
- Improved RAM management
- Fixes for sudden app closures
- Improved battery management
- Excessive consumption of network devices when used Wi-Fi fixed
- Issues with wireless connections fixed
- Problems with Okay Google function solved
- Notifications problems solved
- Some sound problems experience by certain devices fixed
- Other improvements and changes
Currently, Google’s Nexus devices are running two different versions of Android. Some Nexus devices including the Nexus 5 are running Android 5.0.1 Lollipop, a bug fix update that rolled out several weeks ago to address some of the initial Android 5.0 Lollipop problems. Others, including the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10, are running Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, a newer bug fix update that also addresses some Android 5.0 problems.
For the moment, the Android 5.1 Lollipop update is limited to Android One devices in two very specific regions but it looks like Google could make an announcement for other devices at some point in the future.
Owners of Nexus devices will want to keep an eye out for new software in the weeks ahead. We expect more Android 5.1 Lollipop information to arrive ahead of Google’s official announcement as well.