Google Inc. rolled out the latest edition of its mobile operating system Monday with a number of new features.
Android 5.1, which unlike Android 4 releases hasn’t been given a unique name (it’s still Lollipop), has as its new features support for multiple SIM cards, Device Protection and high-definition (HD) voice on compatible phones.
The dual SIM card support is billed on the Android blog as giving users the ability to share their phone with a family member, or better manage mobile costs, although of note — it’s only a new feature in terms of being supported by a vanilla install of Android; most dual sim phones already run Android and support is added by manufacturers.
On the security side, Google has beefed up its device protection service to ensure that your lost or stolen device will remain locked until you sign in with your Google account – even if someone resets your device to factory settings.
High Definition voice calling isn’t the most exciting feature, but if you’re recording a call for an interview it might come in handy, though it is naturally limited to devices that support HD voice.
If you own a Google Nexus, downloads are currently available for Nexus 5, Nexus 7 2012 (Wifi) and the Nexus 10.
Currently unavailable, but pending release are the Nexus 4, Nexus 6, Nexus 7 2012 (mobile,) Nexus 7 2013 (Wifi + mobile,) the Next 9 (Wifi), the Next 9 (LTE) and the Nexus Player.
If you don’t own a Google Nexus phone you’ll have to wait until your manufacturer, or telco provides a compatible ROM, and given recent history you may well be in for a long wait, presuming that you’ll ever get it at all; far too many manufacturers haven’t updated phones to Android 5.0 yet, including the likes of Samsung.
It’s not the most exciting Android release from Google, but the additional features provide some extra functionality that should be welcomed by users.