Android Beam debuted in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which was kind of cool at the time, but not all that useful. With Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google has upped the game by adding Android Beam to the Share menu and allowing you to send files, documents, or even photos from one phone to another phone by simply touching the two devices together. It will even work for files or photos that are stored in the cloud, as in not physically on your device. Assuming both devices have NFC, and at least the sending device has Android Lollipop or higher, it’s quite easy to do.
Google has introduced a new feature called Screen Pinning in Android 5.0 Lollipop. I would say it’s most useful for those of you with kids in the house or if your handing your phone or tablet to someone who has zero technical know-how.
Screen Pinning allows you to “pin” any app you want so that the user cannot do anything else but use that particular app. For example, you could start up a game and hand your phone or tablet to your child. He or she won’t be able to exit out of the game (at least easily) and send an email telling your boss to go to hell.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to use a security lock screen on your mobile devices. If you ever misplace your phone or tablet, no one will be able to get into the device. However, constantly entering a code to unlock your device is a royal pain in the you know what.
Finally, Finally, Finally Google has implemented Trusted Devices in Android. With Android Lollipop and a new feature called Smart Lock, you will be able to set any Bluetooth device, NFC tag, or even your face as a way to automatically unlock your device so you won’t have to constantly enter your PIN code or swipe a pattern over 100 times per day.
Android phones and tablets have had the “Back up my data” option for some time now, but it’s actually a lot more useful now that Android 5.0 Lollipop is upon us.
Upon setting up a new device with Lollipop, you are given the opportunity to install apps from an older device. You can do it with Tap & Go, which uses NFC to pair the older device with the newer one, but you won’t have a choice as to which apps you want to install on the new device. It’s all or nothing. The second option allows you to select from one of your existing devices, and you can hand pick the apps you want to be restored. The caveat is that the older device needs to be set to back up to Google Servers, which is the “Back up my data” option.
Android 5.0 Lollipop has a very cool new feature that will make it so much easier to setup a new phone or tablet. You can now restore all or some of the apps from a particular device. No more will you have to type and search for every app that you want to download and install because Google will automatically download and install all the apps that were installed on your older phone or tablet.
You can do some pretty cool things with an Android Wear smartwatch, such as check-in quickly at that local restaurant, open a tip calculator, or even pay for your Starbucks coffee. Those are the “smart” things you can do, but probably the most popular thing to do is swap out watch faces. Android Wear has only been around for a few months, and already there are hundreds, if not thousands of very cool watch faces for you to try. There are certainly a bunch of them as standalone apps in the Play Store, but I wanted to show you a few apps that offer you so much more. For starters, they give you ability to design your own watch faces and even share them. That may or may not be your thing, but these apps also offer you a first class ticket to a world of more downloadable watch faces than you can possibly imagine.
One of the coolest features on the original Moto X had to be Active Display. So it’s no surprise that it found it’s way onto the all new Moto X. Now called Moto Display, it’s also not surprising that it is much improved. Moto Display will show you your most recent notifications without turning on the full display. You can even read the contents of each notification such has what someone texted you. This is an obvious battery saver.
Thanks to a few added IR sensors on the all new Moto X, you can now use gestures. Motorola is calling this Moto Actions and the settings for them reside in the Moto app that you will find in your app drawer. There are only a couple of gestures, so we imagine Motorola will add more in future updates.
Motorola Assist launched on the original Moto X, and it’s back as Moto Assist. Moto Assist is a contextual learning engine, and it allows you to set up certain actions based on where you are (home or the car) or what you might be doing (in meetings or sleeping). If you’re familiar with last year’s Moto X, you will remember that there was an Assist app. You won’t find that anymore. Instead, Motorola combined all of their features into a new app simply called Moto. The Moto app houses Moto Voice, Moto Actions, Moto Display, and Moto Assist.
Motorola unleashed Touchless Control on last year’s Moto X, but it’s now been rebranded to Moto Voice for the all new Moto X. If you’re not familiar with Touchless Control, (or Moto Voice), it allows you to ask your Moto X to do certain things without ever handling the device. You can find out who won the big game, set a reminder, set a timer, send a text message, and so much more.