After a long wait, Android 5.0 Lollipop is here

We first got a taste of Android 5.0 Lollipop back in June at the I/O developer conference. Now, after a long wait, the newest version of Android is finally here, Google is releasing it.

 

This new release comes almost a year after 4.4 Kitkat was rolled out. So what do we get after a year? Lots! The new Android 5.0 Lollipop has a brand-new design in the whole operating system. Most notable of what’s new in Lollipop is how it will change the way you do multitasking and how the notifications are enhanced. There are a number of features that are new too and we’ll get to them one by one.

The first thing that users will notice in Lollipop is the aesthetics of the design, it looks fresh and really new. They call it “Material Design.” Android now looks sleeker and more minimalist with the clever use of bright colors and better use of shadows that enhance the depth in the interface patterns. It looks more spacious because there is now bigger white space around the text. The touches have become more transparent. When you interact with the screen it feels somewhat magical because of the ripples of colours while you are doing the interaction. It looks like Android has gone to the beauty parlor and got its long awaited makeover. And it looks really good.

 

The Lollipop is also having some changes in the notification setup, although it looks like it is borrowed from iOS: the notification cards are now in the middle of the locked screen. Users can now respond to the notification even if the screen are locked. You can set the kind of notifications that comes to to the cards to protect your privacy. The default notification settings will prioritize those that are deemed by Google as more important than other notifications.

 

When you are doing something on your device like watching a video or playing a game and a notification comes up, the new Heads Up feature will let you take a peep at what’s coming, you can see the tip of the head of an email, a text message, or an incoming call. You can choose to respond to the notifications without leaving the video or game you are playing because there is no need for you to open the notification drop down menu. If you are too busy with what you are doing you can simple swipe the notification into storage for retrieval later.

 

Now your multitasking habits will change with the new menu called “Recents” which allows you to see what apps are running in the background. You can see it now as stack cards and not as a list. It feels like browsing open tabs on Chrome’s Android app. It is easy to switch between apps by just scrolling through the stack.

 

The Lollipop has also brought changes to the swipe-down quick settings. You can now get to the controls for hotspot, screen casting, flashlight, and more useful feature by just swiping down with two fingers from the top of your screen.

 

There is also a new battery-saving feature that’s added to this new version of Android. When you are running low on power the CPU will be clocked down and background data are turned off. This feature can be turned on manually if you choose to have it that way or you can have it programmed to turn on automatically when power is running out. This will give your battery an extra 90 minutes of life.

 

Lollipop will roll out with Nexus 6 smartphone and Nexus 9 tablet. In the coming days other devices like The Nexus 5, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, HTC One M8 and Moto G will also get the new Android.

Imgur gives the GIF image format an upgrade with Project GIFV

Animated GIFs are ancient, every time we stumble upon them we are reminded of the early days of the internet, they were the “in” thing then.  Now, the new generation of internet users are annoyed with animated GIFs because they are cumbersome, they take forever to load especiall on pages where there are a lot of them.  But GIFs are here to stay and hopefully they’d be back to the mainstream again, thanks to Imgur and its Project GIFV which gives the GIF an upgrade.  What kind of upgrade? Well, for starters, the upgrade will give the animated GIF a new kind of richness. yes, the new animated GIF that you can see now in Imgur will blow you away. If in the past GIF animation makers sacrifice the image quality for loading time, now it won’t be a worry, you can now have very high quality animations that loads fast. Here is an example, straight from Imgur:

Are you impressed with the quality of the picture? And are you surprised with the speed with which it loaded? How is this made possible? Well, with Project GIFV the GIFs that Imgur users will upload are automatically converted into MP4 video format.  The converted file becomes significantly smaller in size than the original file uploaded without sacrificing the image quality. The animation above was 50MB when uploaded, after it was converted upon upload its size was reduced to 3.4MB, hence the quick loading.

Here are major upgrades that Imgur given to the GIF experience of its users as stated on the Imgur blog:

Massively Increased Upload Limits: With the efficiencies introduced by MP4, Imgur is increasing its traditional GIF upload limit of 5MB by an order of magnitude to 50MB. This opens the door to massive improvements in quality. (Note: Original files over 20MB will not be available after upload)

Optimized for Social Channels: Uploads to Imgur will now fully animate on channels like Twitter and Facebook, allowing for the sharing of the full GIF experience throughout the social web.

The .GIFV Extension: With all these improvements, Imgur will now denote converted MP4s with a “.gifv” extension. The intention is to signal to users throughout the Internet that these links will feature a GIF experience that incorporates all the current and future enhancements made through Project GIFV. Imgur plans to submit an accompanying specification to relevant standards organizations before the end of the year.

And to all those who love social media, yes, this will now work of Facebook and Twitter. Try it!

Adobe Premiere Clip, the new video editing software for iPhones andiPads

Adobe has introduced Premiere Clip, a video editing software designed to be used for iPhones and iPads. Adobe Premiere Clip can produce moving pictures, it has a lot of similarities to iMovie, users can arrange their clips, they can trim and apply a lot of filters and add transitions and different kinds of effects to their videos.

There are two cool features that bring magic to this software, the “Smart Volume” and “Auto Mix.” The two features will balance the music you add in the video you are producing and even out the level of the audio in all the clips. You can sync your projects online because Adobe Premiere Clip is connected to Adobe’s Creative Cloud.

Adobe Premiere Clip is free to download from the Apple Store.

Windows 10 to be released in final form in 2015

Forget about Windows 9 because it won’t be coming, just think of Windows 10 because it is what Microsoft is rolling out after Windows 8.

Yes, Microsoft is skipping Windows 9 and is heading straight to Windows 10. “Windows 10 will be our most comprehensive platform ever, it wouldn’t be right to call it Windows 9,” Terry Myerson, Windows’ chief, said in a briefing with reporters in San Francisco. Microsoft is expected to roll out this new version of Windows in 2015. This version will run across the widest array of devices; users will be able to run it in devices with the smallest screen to devices with the biggest screen up to 80 inches. And it will also be in devices that do not have screens at all.

Windows 10 is not only the next version of Microsoft’s PC operating system, it is also the next big release for Windows Phone. Microsoft is moving to have a single operating system for all devices (PS, tablets, and phones).

We haven’t seen Windows 10 yet but according to those who have, it looks like a mix of Windows 7 and Windows 8. You can expect to find a lot of Windows 8’s user interface features present in Windows 10. New-style apps and the classic ones will be running smoothly together in this new version of the OS.

According to Myerson, Microsoft is releasing a technical preview version of Windows 10 beginning October 1st. Those who would like to try this preview program can download it.

Windows VP Joe Belfiore gave a demonstration of how Windows 10 can work with a lot of different kinds of interfaces, he showed that it works even with the very ancient command prompt, to the task bar styled Windows 7 and to touch screen that is Windows 8 now.