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Android 5.1 released: what’s in the new flavour of Lollipop?

Multiple SIM support amongst a selection of new features in Android 5.1 (Lollipop)

Google has officially released Android 5.1, with a smattering of new features being made immediately available to those running native Android devices. The standout new feature is support for multiple SIM cards, with Google providing the option to run work and personal SIMs simultaneously on the same device for the first time. Google says it will also allow people to share a phone with a family member, although you will of course need a handset that has more than one SIM slot in the first place. 

Android security has also been bolstered with the new flavour of Lollipop. Device Protection now ensures that a handset marked as lost or stolen stays locked, even if the thief performs a factory reset on the device. It won’t be unlocked until you re-enter your Google credentials on the device. Buyers of second-hand Android devices will need to be wary of this potential gotcha, as unscrupulous sellers could effectively leave you with a bricked phone or tablet. 

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Another new feature is so-called High Definition voice calling. This transmits voice calls over the 4G network, which can support a wider frequency range that’s much closer to the frequency span of the human voice, making calls sound more natural. Google says it will be available on calls made between Android 5.1 devices on the T-Mobile and Verizon networks in the US; there’s no word on UK support as yet.

Other minor additions to Android 5.1 include the ability to join Wi-Fi networks and control paired Bluetooth devices from the Quick Settings menu. 

Android 5.1 will be rolled out immediately to those using native Android devices, such as the Nexus 6. Those running manufacturer-modified versions of Android will have to wait until the company gets around to refreshing their devices – if they ever do. Owners of devices such as the original HTC One (M7) are still waiting for the Android 5.0 release to arrive on their handsets, more than three months after Google released the operating system. 

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