Google has officially announced next version of Android, the Android M, at its Google I/O 2015 developer conference. Google's new Android version comes with a slew of new features and upgrades over the predecessor. The company has already released Android M Developer Preview, while the final version is likely to be available by end of this year.
Apart from new features, Google's Android M focuses on improving battery life and users' privacy and security. One of the most important security features that has been added is simplification of app permissions. Apps will now seek your permission the first time you try to use a feature rather during app installation. Settings will give users much easier access to manage all the app permissions. “We are giving users control of app permissions in the M release. Apps can trigger requests for permissions at runtime, in the right context, and users can choose whether to grant the permission. Making permission requests right when they’re needed means users can get up and running in your app faster. Also, users have easy access to manage all their app permissions in settings,” explains Google on its developer blog.
Android M also fixes the long pending issue of battery drain in the Android phones. The new OS will ensure the device starts “dozing” in standby mode – feature that Google says will double up run time as compared to the current Android L. The Doze feature uses motion detection sensors to learn if a device has been left unattended for a while. In this state, Android M will “back off” background activity and ensure extended battery life. “Consider how this may affect your app; for instance, if you’re building a chat app, you may want to make use of high priority messages to wake your app when the device is dozing,” adds Google. The company is also working with hardware manufacturers to bring in support for a new USB charger standard USB-C that enables you to charge other devices using a phone's battery.
In a bid to expand its base in markets with slower Internet connectivity, Google has announced offline view for Chrome and Google Maps. Google search results will also be presented as per the connectivity. Results on slower connections will appear with fewer images and optimised pages. Chrome and Google Maps offline will work similar to YouTube's Offline feature.
Now on Tap
Google has also improved its Google Now digital assistant. The feature is now more extensive via a new initiative called Now on Tap, feature that delivers relevant information when pressed the home button. The new feature allows users to access Now Cards across all apps such as email or web browser.
Google has revamped its Photos app, giving users back up for unlimited number of photo and videos for free. The revamped Photos app has an improved overlay, organisation of images and a slew of new features such as auto-tagging and a dedicated Assistant tab. Google has already started rolling out new upgrade to its Photos app.
Android Pay and Fingerprint support
Fingerprint scanning has already been adopted by several manufacturers. While Apple already had launched this feature, Google seems to have finaly caught up. However, it was long rumoured that Google will bring native fingerprint support in Android. Fingerprint on M can be used to unlock devices and make purchases on Google Play. "We’ve built on our work with Near Field Communications (NFC) in Gingerbread and Host Card Emulation in Kitkat to develop Android Pay. Android Pay will enable Android users to simply and securely use their Android phone to pay in stores or in thousands of Android Pay partner apps. With M, native fingerprint support enhances Android Pay by allowing users to confirm a purchase with their fingerprint," adds Google.