Today Google has announced the release of Android 5.1 Lollipop. The update is said to improve both performance and stability, as well as including a few new features.

The first feature is official support for multiple SIM cards. This feature is likely to appeal to Android users in emerging markets, and will definitely help Google's Android One initiative. Another new feature is support for HD voice calls on compatible networks and devices, with both T-Mobile and Verizon supporting the feature on the Nexus 6. Google has also added the ability to join WiFi networks and pair Bluetooth devices right from the quick settings menu.

In addition to the above improvements, Android 5.1 has one more notable feature, it's called Device Protection. Similar to Apple's Activation Lock, Device Protection means that a device will remain locked until the owner signs in with their Google account. This lock persists even after a factory reset, which should hopefully make stealing Android smartphones a pointless endeavor for thieves. Police departments in some US cities reported significant reductions in iPhone theft after the release of Activation Lock, and it would be great to see the same thing happen with Android devices.

Android 5.1 Lollipop will be rolling out to Nexus and Google Play edition devices in the near future.

Source: Google Android Blog

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  • jokeyrhyme - Monday, March 9, 2015 - link

    I'm pretty sure Android 4.0 had HD Voice. My boss and I both had Galaxy Nexus... Nexuses? ... Nexi? And our phone call audio quality was drastically better than anything we experienced calling anyone else.

    Is this really a carrier-announcement by proxy? Or is there actually new HD Voice work at play here?
  • Pissedoffyouth - Monday, March 9, 2015 - link

    3G HD voice was a big thing, this is VoLTE
  • tuxRoller - Monday, March 9, 2015 - link

    Prior to this, HD had to be added on a poorer device basis by carriers, aiui. This provides a standard way to achieve the same result.
  • A5 - Monday, March 9, 2015 - link

    Ah. I was going to say, I definitely had HDV on my N4 and N5. Just need more people to get supported devices...
  • Klug4Pres - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - link

    "Another new feature is support for HD voice calls on compatible networks and devices"

    What does that mean? I thought AMR-WB (HD voice) was a baseband feature. It was said to be supported on previous Android devices, e.g. the Nexus 4, so how can it be a new feature in Android 5.1?

    In practice, support has depended on carriers "switching on" support for a particular device.

    It is a disgrace really, because this makes a huge difference to call quality, yet carriers seem to refuse to inter-operate with HD Voice even on a national basis. I would have thought it should be a licence condition that networks must provide HD voice for all capable handsets.
  • Klug4Pres - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - link

    To answer my own question, it seems this is about VoLTE support, where AMR-WB is baked into the standard. Previously, HD Voice calls were a 3G phenomenon.

    However, despite it being a standard, it seems that HD Voice calls through VoLTE still will not work between networks until further work is carried out to provide an enabled VOIP path between them.

    So we are still a long way from having this stuff just work. I don't know if on-net whitelisting per device will still be an issue with VoLTE - perhaps not, so that could be progress.
  • flyingpants1 - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - link

    NOT seeing much from Google lately. Kitkat was a step up, but Lollipop sucks, nexus 6 too big, Android UI still laggy during any background process, Android apps still wakes the device all day long killing battery.

    I would still rather have Windows 7 on the phone. There's still no real multi-tasking on Android, besides Samsung multi-window. Android still kills background processes (even tabs), so there is no real point of having a task switcher that lists everything. Just allow multiple windows, resizeable, draggable, easy switching, and a TASKBAR.
  • phatboye - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - link

    So Android 5.0 still have not hit Samsung's other flagship product the Galaxy Note 4 and now Google is releasing 5.1.
  • blzd - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - link

    Is that really a surprise to anyone? It's funny how many manufacturers announced 5.0 support but then haven't released anything in months.
  • DarkMattr - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - link

    My buddies Note 4(Sprint) got the Lolipop update this past Saturday.

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