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11 Hidden Lollipop Features for Your Nexus 5

When Android 5.0 rolls out to the Nexus 5, several changes and new features will come along with it. The over-the-air update is already rolling out, and if you don't want to wait, you can get it right now.

We've pored through the massive changelog—which includes over 700 Nexus 5-specific commits—and found quite a few interesting tidbits of info. Changes range from software tweaks to new hardware capabilities, and we'll break down some of the more interesting features in plain English below.

Lots of new code (highlighted in green) has made its way into Android 5.0 for the Nexus 5

Camera Tweaks

We've already covered some of the awesome stuff that the new Android 5.0 camera API will allow for, but a set of hidden gems give some new insight.

  • 84057fd : Camera3: Implement Raw capture up to HAL [1]

As noted in the above-linked article, Android 5.0's new camera API will allow for raw (DNG) capture [1], and it means that the actual image captured by your Nexus 5's camera sensor can be stored in an unadulterated state, allowing for better post-processing and cleaner JPEG compression.

  • 7f36295 : camera: apply Fast Autofocus algorithm [2]
  • ae49ce4 : Camera3: Add support for face detection [3]
  • 7f6c37b : QCamera3: Flash Firing Level Support [4]

A new Fast Auto-Focus [2] method and support for Face Detection [3] should make focusing on the subject of your photo faster and easier than ever. And with rich LED Flash Controls [4], you'll be able to control the brightness, warmth, and power of the camera's flash function—but these features will require an update to the existing camera app.

  • fa2212b : Camera3: Add new EXIF fields for JPEG [5]
  • 40d2bac : QCamera2: add support for video HDR [6]

New EXIF data [5] can now tag your photos with exposure time, white balance info, and sub-second capture time, but possibly the most interesting info here is a Video HDR Mode [6].

By capturing multiple exposures simultaneously, then blending them together for the best balance, videos should now be less washed-out or dark in extreme lighting conditions. It remains to be seen how this new Video HDR Mode will affect resolution or frame rate, as the feature has not yet been implemented in the stock Google Camera app.

USB Audio & Other Sound Enhancements

USB headset and speaker owners will love these next few commits:

  • b13d9ef : Enable multi-format usb audio output for Hammerhead [7]
  • 03de93f : Enabling USB capture for Hammerhead [8]
  • df82f27 : Add loudness enhancer effect in the default configuration file [9]

Finally, the Nexus 5 will have support for USB Audio [7]—both output and input [8]. And once you plug your awesome USB audio equipment into your Nexus 5, you'll be happy to find a new Loudness Enhancer [9] DSP mode mixed in amongst the stock audio presets.

NFC Changes and...Ethernet Support?

These last two noteworthy commits bring new hardware capabilities to the Nexus 5. Oddly enough, the N5 will now support an Ethernet Connection [10]—presumably through a USB-to-Ethernet adapter.

  • 667f7d6 : Add ethernet support for hammerhead [10]
  • 0a5b356 : Hammerhead: NFC: Keep controller in snooze mode. [11]

The second entry here will have a lot more practical applications—a new NFC Snooze Mode [11] was created, and set as default on the Nexus 5. This mode allows your phone to be waken by an NFC tag or other NFC-equipped device, and means that the Nexus 5 can now interact with such devices even with the screen off.

Overall, Lollipop looks like it will bring a lot more to the table than a few flashy animations and a new Material Design interface. Which Nexus 5-specific changes are you looking forward to the most? Let us know in the comments section below, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

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