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Christmas Gift Guide

Meet Android Lollipop

Material Design

Whimsical look

New notifications

Priority mode

Quick Settings menu

Overview

User accounts

Screen pinning

Pinned app

People app

Google Now search

Quicker setup

Streamlined volume control

Android 5.0 Lollipop is the latest flavor of Google's mobile operating system. We saw a demo of it from Google and it looks like of the biggest releases in a long time.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The most obvious change in Lollipop is the fresh design aesthetic, called Material Design. It uses a lot of bright, rich colors and adds depth with shadows to give Android a sleeker, more minimal look.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Material carries over to most of the pre-installed Google apps, with bright colors and whimsical illustrations.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Lollipop also introduces a new notification approach. You'll now see notification cards on the lock screen, and you can respond to certain alerts from there.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

If you want to take a break from your endless app notifications, but still want to hear from important people, there's a new mode called Priority. You turn it on from the volume controls and it blocks any less important alerts.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The new Quick Settings menu, which appears when you swipe with two fingers from the top of the screen, shows new options, including a flashlight and an improved Wi-Fi toggle.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The new name for "recent apps" is Overview, and it shows your recent activity in your open apps.

Not only does the menu show your recently opened apps, it will also show multiple tasks within each app, such as your inbox and an email draft in Gmail.

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Android tablets have had multiple user accounts for several years, but now phones can have them too.

Caption by / Photo by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Another new feature in Android 5.0 is screen pinning, which means you can lock an app on the screen so that the user can't exit it. It's useful if you loan your device to kids, so that they can only play a game and not mess with your Facebook account.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Here, a game is pinned to the screen.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The People contacts app gets a major redesign, with bright colors and a grid of contact photos.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Google Now has been part of Android for a few years now, and it's getting smarter with every new release. Here, you can talk to it to send a message.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

You can now set up a new Android phone much more quickly than before. Port over apps, settings, account information and more by tapping your new phone against your older NFC-enabled phone.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Material Design extends to the volume control, which looks sleeker than ever.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
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