Google has published links to its Android 5.1 update factory images for three Nexus devices, with more on the way.
Google announced the release of Android 5.1 yesterday, meaning Android owners should see it pushed out in an over-the-air (OTA) update in the coming days, weeks or months, depending on which device they have. But Nexus owners who want to skip the wait can download the factory images directly from Google.
Currently, the 5.1 images are available directly from Google for the Nexus 5, the Nexus 10, and the Nexus 7 2012 wi-fi edition. That still leaves numerous Nexus devices without an update that Google first made available to Android One devices over a month ago.
Other Nexus devices that are still waiting for the 5.1 factory images include the Nexus 4, Nexus 6, the 2013 editions wi-fi plus mobile versions of the Nexus 7, and the Nexus 9.
T-Mobile in the US has started rolling out the Android 5.1 update as an OTA to owners of the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, and Nexus 7 2013 edition.
The update brings a host of smaller features that cater to different segments of the Android user base. For example, it adds support for dual SIM on devices that have the two necessary SIM slots - such as all the Android One devices for emerging markets. It also adds high-definition voice calling on devices that support the feature, such as the Nexus 6.
5.1 also brings device protection designed to prevent anyone stealing or finding a misplaced Android device from gaining control of it by resetting the handset to factory settings. With Android 5.1, the device will stay locked until the owner signs in with their Google account.
The feature goes some way to meeting the new kill switch requirements in the US that Apple, Samsung, and Google agreed to last year. The three tech giants said they would prevent software reactivation through unauthorised factory reset attempts.
The feature will be available on most Android phones and tablets that get Android 5.1 as well as the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9, Google said. That means devices on lower versions of Android, including Lollipop 5.0, won't have the feature.
No doubt Android fans will be keen to get their hands on the latest version of Google's mobile OS but most devices can't upgrade to Lollipop. Currently 96.7 percent of Android devices that connect to Google Play are on Android 4.4 or lower.
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