The Google I/O Keynote just concluded today over at San Francisco and guess what? A brand spanking new Android M was announced with Sundar Pichai, Senior Vice President, Products taking to the stage for The Android M developers preview and from what he said, it seems like the company has “gone back to basics” with the new version of Android.
As per Dave Burke, vice president of engineering at Google, who outlined the major changes that users are going to face once they switch to the latest version of Android stressed the fact that the Android M is about usability and stability improvements, which while not particularly exciting in the short-term, may prove to be more useful in the long-term.
Some of the major features that were announced at the developers preview conference are as follows:
1) App Permissions
In the earlier versions of Android, while installing an application the user must agree to grant a whole bunch of permissions which may or may not make sense at the time. However, to install the said app the user must grant them nonetheless. Well, No longer!
Android M features a complete change in the way permissions are granted. Now, instead of a whole bunch of permissions to be granted at the time of app installation, a prompt comes up the first time you wish to use a feature that requires that particular permission, with the final decision resting in your hands. As Dave Burke said “You don’t have to agree to permissions that don’t make sense to you”. Although not agreeing to grant that permission may result in a feature/features not working properly, but again its your call.
2) Web Integration
Another brand new feature that the Android M will feature is the Web Integration that allows for greater interaction between native apps and your web browser. So now when your app asks permission to access the web using chrome and you grant it, a new tab opens up on top of the app itself instead of separately thus allowing for faster switching between the app and the browser. Called as Custom tabs, the feature also supports things like automatic sign-in, saved passwords and autofill.
3) App confirmation
Remember how annoying it is to click upon a you tube link only to have a prompt come up asking if you wanted to use the video player to open that file when it is obviously what you want.
Well, with the brand new Android M that is no longer an issue. Now, once you click on a link or a pic or whatever that requires a particular app, instead of that annoying prompt the application will directly open the content — provided of course that you don’t have multiple apps installed for the same content.
4) Android Pay and Fingerprint Recognition
Android Pay is a system that has been slowly built up as an alternative to other mobile transaction systems. Faster, easier and more secure, the system is accepted at over 700,000 stores across the US along with American Express, Visa, Mastercard, and Discovery supporting it as well. Also, the new payment system can also be used for transactions in thousands of apps available on the play store as well.
What’s more, the fingerprint scanning system will now not only allow users to unlock their device but will also enable them to confirm a purchase with their fingerprint.
5) Improved Battery life
Android M brings along “Doze” — a feature that will make for smarter managing of the available power, thereby improving the standby time. The feature will allow the system to shut down background processes if the device is left unattended for a while and thus reduce battery consumption at the cost of app freshness.
When tested with the Nexus 9 devices, Doze seemed to provide up to twice the standby time.
6) Now on Tap
Another first by Android, the feature lets you access Google Now to find out relevant information about a topic from a message, an email etc. For example, lets say someone texted you about dinner at someplace, The Now on tap app will enable you to find menus, help you book a table and even navigate to the place — all without leaving the app.
The Android M Developer Preview has been made available starting today, for the Nexus 5, 6, 9 and Player while the final version is expected to hit the public in the third quarter of 2015.