Earlier this week, Google announced an Android 5.1 Lollipop update for Nexus smartphones and tablets. Google’s Nexus Android 5.1 Lollipop release is now underway and we want to take a look at a few things we expect from Google and its brand new Lollipop update for the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, Nexus 4, and more.
In November, Google finally rolled out its Android 5.0 Lollipop update to Nexus users. As expected, the update brought tons of changes to its stable of smartphones and tablets including the company’s all-new Material Design. The Android 5.0 Lollipop update also brought lots of problems to owners of Google’s Nexus smartphones and tablets and Google’s been hard at work trying to squash these issues.
First, it rolled out Android 5.0.1 Lollipop, a small bug fixer for select Nexus devices. Many Nexus 5 and Nexus 4 users are still on Android 5.0.1 Lollipop. The company also unleashed Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, another small bug fix update that was pushed to its tablets. Most Nexus 7, Nexus 10, and Nexus 9 users are still on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop.
Earlier this week, Google announced a replacement for both of those updates. The replacement is Android 5.1 Lollipop, a much larger update aimed at improving Google’s brand new Lollipop operating system. The Android 5.1 Lollipop update is coming to most, if not all Nexus smartphones and tablets, and we’re starting to get a read on Google’s plans.
With interest from Nexus users starting to skyrocket, we want to help set expectations for Google’s Android 5.1 Lollipop release. Here are 10 things that we expect from Google’s Nexus Android 5.1 Lollipop release going forward.
Tons of New Features
Google hasn’t released the Android 5.1 Lollipop change log and when the prompt shows up on your phone, it’s not going to outline all of the new features that are on board the Android 5.1 firmware. We, like some other Nexus users, have been fortunate enough to go hands-on with Android 5.1 Lollipop and what you can expect is a fairly sizable update that’s comprised of two elements: Feature enhancements and bug fixes.
Android 5.1 Lollipop is larger than your standard bug fix update because it comes with a ton of tweaks for Android 5.0 Lollipop features. Among them, a new quick settings function for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, changes to the LED notification system, separate media and volume controls, and more. Google ran down a few of the features in its announcement but this update is much larger than what Google led us to believe on Monday.
One feature that you shouldn’t expect though is Silent Mode. Android 5.1 Lollipop rumors pointed to the resurgence of Silent Mode in Android 5.1 though it appears that it wasn’t meant to be. While there are some tweaks to the alarm and interruptions, the Silent Mode (Mute Mode) that many Nexus users grew to love is still non-existent in Android 5.1 Lollipop and we doubt that Google is going to roll out a special update (with it on board) in the near future.
Google to Remain Fairly Quiet
If you own a Nexus device and you’re looking to get Android 5.1 Lollipop on your device, you should expect to have to depend on the Android community for information about your Android 5.1 Lollipop release. Google’s Android 5.1 announcement on its blog will probably be the last form of mass communication from the Mountain View based company.
Google typically doesn’t talk about its release plans during the release itself so those who aren’t part of the initial batch of Android 5.1 Lollipop updates will likely be left in the dark until Google pushes the updates into AOSP. Google’s Nexus Help Forums might shed some light on the company’s release plans but there’s no guarantee.
Slow Android 5.1 Lollipop Roll Out
You should expect these Android 5.1 Lollipop updates to roll out slowly to the Nexus 10, Nexus 7 2012 Wi-Fi, Nexus 6, and Nexus 5. These are the devices currently seeing OTAs and we’ve been getting tons of questions about the release from Nexus users.
We can’t tell you exactly when you’ll see Android 5.1 Lollipop but what we can say is that the process is probably going to be extremely slow. Typically, Google’s updates take about a week, sometimes two, to complete. The previous Android 5.0 Lollipop roll outs (Android 5.0, Android 5.0.1, Android 5.0.2) all took their sweet time and we expect Android 5.1 Lollipop to do the same.
All of these upgrades are going to take some time so you’ll need to be extremely patient if you’re set on waiting for the Nexus Android 5.1 Lollipop OTA from Google.
A Way to Get It Now
You can expect a way to download and install these updates early. That’s the beauty of the Nexus program. Once the files are discovered on Google’s servers, they’re fair game for those that know how to sideload the software.
Many of the files have already been discovered and the rest will be found at some point. Expect all of the files to be found ahead of their OTAs giving those with the know-how to install the Android 5.1 Lollipop update ahead of the OTA.
We expect most of the initial Android 5.1 problems to come from people who have no business sideloading. After every single release, Google’s Nexus Help Forums are filled with complaints from people who sideloaded the software but are now experiencing installation problems or issues with the software after the installation process has completed.
If you are an impatient novice user and you go into the sideloading process with no experience, there is a very good chance that you’ll run into problems. If you haven’t researched the process ahead of time, avoid this process. We always see people run into problems and we don’t expect anything less from the Android 5.1 Lollipop release.
Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Lollipop Release Lagging
We expect the Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Lollipop release for cellular models to lag. Their Android 4.4 KitKat releases lagged. Their Android 4.4.3 and Android 4.4.4 KitKat releases lagged. And their Android 5.0 Lollipop releases lagged. We expect them to be the last devices to Android 5.1 Lollipop, assuming they get Android 5.1 Lollipop. Remember, Google’s silent about many of the release details and we expect it to stay that way.
Lots of Benefits
We expect Android 5.1 Lollipop to benefit a lot of Nexus users. Not only does it come with a ton of bug fixes but it also comes with performance enhancements that should improve many devices including the Nexus 7 2012 and Nexus 6.
In our initial impressions of the Nexus 7 2012 update, we noted that Android 5.1 had turned it into a whole new device. We’re seeing similar praises from Nexus 7 users after the arrival of Android 5.1 Lollipop. Nexus 6 users should also see some very noticeable performance improvements after making the move to Android 5.1.
This doesn’t mean that you should install the update on day one but it does mean that the update could prove to be very beneficial to your device, especially if you were dealing with Android 5.0 or Android 4.4 problems.
Android 5.1 Problems
We haven’t seen any complaints yet but we expect there to be Android 5.1 Lollipop problems. Every single Android update that we’ve covered has brought its own set of issues to Nexus users. We don’t expect Android 5.1 Lollipop to be any different. We expect it to bring its own collection of bugs and problems to the table and perhaps leave some previous bugs from Android 5.0.2 and below lingering around.
Just because this is a bug fix update doesn’t mean that it won’t come with its own problems. We’re expecting the usual complaints about Bluetooth, battery life and Wi-Fi but don’t be surprised if there are some other issues that pop up in the days, weeks and maybe even months after the initial Android 5.1 Lollipop release for Nexus devices.
Fixes for Android 5.1 Problems
Expect there to be fixes for many of these problems. Over the years, we’ve collected a number of well known fixes for common Nexus Android problems and many of those remedies continue to work. If you do happen to run into issues, you’ll want to consult that list. We have a feeling that one of those fixes will probably help to eradicate the problem.
If you run into a smaller, less common bug, you’re going to need to rely on the Android community at large. Google’s Nexus Help Forum is a great place for you Nexus users to start.
Last Big Update for Awhile
Finally, we expect Android 5.1 Lollipop to be the last big update for awhile. This is a substantial update, much bigger than we even anticipated, and it’s clear that it has been in the works for many months. While we could certainly see Google rolling out an Android 5.1.1 update sometime later this year to shore up issues ahead of its next major release, we’re not expecting an Android 5.1 Lollipop sized update.
Google isn’t known for rolling out bug fix after bug fix so there’s a very good chance that the next big update for some Nexus tablets and smartphones will be Google’s next big update to Android, an update that should come later this year accompanied by new hardware.