Finally, Google has officially announced the arrival of Android 5.1. This new Android release has been known for a while now because of its presence in the new Android One devices.
It is a minor release and mainly includes bug-fixes, but is also bringing some new features including OS-level support for multiple-SIM card slots as well as HD voice. The Android 5.1 also adds ability to join Wi-Fi networks or connect with paired Bluetooth devices right from the quick settings panel and a new Device Protection feature.
According to Google, with Device Protection, 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. It will be available on most Android devices with Android 5.1.
The support for multiple-SIM card slots as well as HD-voice has been long available in the Android phones, but it was not included at the OS-level by Google until now and the device manufacturers had to put their own implementation of the features, which is often not elegant as the one from Google. Anyway, if your device and telecom network support HD voice and you have Android 5.1 on-board, you will be able to use the High Definition voice calling. Same is true for multi-SIM devices. For those of you, who don’t know about HD voice, it provides clearer voice quality and reduced background noise during voice-calls. You can talk in a normal voice and be heard clearly even in noisy environments.
Google has noted the new Android version is being rolled-out starting today and if you own a Nexus, Google Play edition device, which has received Android 5.0 update, or an Android One smartphone, you can expect to see Android 5.1 in the coming weeks.
Android 5.1 factory images & source code now available
Like you can expect with every new Android release, Google has published the Android 5.1 factory images and binaries for Nexus devices on its developer website and the source code in AOSP (Android Open Source Project).
At the time of writing this report, the factory images and binaries were only released for Nexus 5, Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 (2012) Wi-Fi devices, but the images for other Nexus devices are expected in the coming days.
The source-code is now available at android.googlesource.com and you can find the relevant source under tags “android-5.1.0_r1” and branches “lollipop-mr1-release”.