Google has just announced Android M at I/O 2015 and it comes with a host of new features. The tech giant highlighted many features like improving the core user experience, improved word selections, a new floating clipboard tool, a direct share feature for easy access to social media, and a much needed improved volume control menu. It announced that the developer’s preview will be available to Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player users. We give you a lowdown on the biggest changes Android M brings along.
1. App Permissions
The new version brings back granular app permissions control that was last seen on Jelly Bean. Most apps ask for permission to access contacts, photos and other information. At the time of install, users are asked for permission by the app to access all of this information. Once you ‘ok’ access to these apps, there is no way you can go back and change that permission setting unless you re-install. However, Android M brings an option in the Settings Menu that will let you control and change the information what each app can use. Apps Permissions will let you toggle on or off access to information like contact, location, media, camera and identity.
2. Chrome Custom Tabs
Chrome custom tabs is a another new feature coming with Android M that allows websites to add buttons and menu items to the browser that makes a Chrome tab feel like an app. So when a user clicks on a web link in an app, it will open the Chrome browser within the app. This lets users take advantage of various Chrome functions like remember password, auto sign-in and Google translate.
3. App Links
Google announced that it will allow app developers to put in app-to-app links in their codes. The new system will verify app link requests which will enable Android to verify that the app actually owns the links it says it does. With Android M users won’t get the annoying dialogue box that shows which app to open a link. Developers will be able to have verified links so when a user clicks on a link, it will automatically open an app that has claimed the verified link.
4. Android Pay
Android M brings an updated version of Android Pay which will let users pay with their fingerprint over NFC, just like Apple Pay. It creates a specific virtual account number for each user to not reveal card details to retailers. It has partnered with many commercial outlets like McDonalds, Subway and many more to bring Android Pay to the market.
5. Fingerprint support
Android M also brings fingerprint authentication for individual apps. This new feature will let app developers integrate fingerprint payment and lock systems into their programs.
6. Doze and charging
With Android M, Google has highlighted the biggest problem in smartphones. The new Android version focuses on improving battery life by snoozing off intelligently. The Doze feature basically uses motion detection to see if the device has been left alone unattended for a long time and it will stop real-time updates during that period. Using intelligent algorithms, it temporarily snoozes unnecessary battery eating apps and functions. This feature, the company claims, saves 2 times more battery than Android L on standby mode.
Besides trying to make your phones last longer with Doze, the company is also adopting USB-C support for faster Android charging. Google said that devices will charge 3 times faster with USB-C and can charge other devices.
7. Updated Google Now with ‘Now on Tap’
This is an extremely cool new feature within Google Now that’s always ready to assist by just a long press of the home button. At the I/O keynote, the company demoed how the new feature understands context and displays relevant further information about the conversation taking place in apps like WhatsApp or Gmail. At the event, an email was opened that talked about Tomorrowland. Long pressing the home button bought quick information like ratings and trailers from existing apps in your smartphone like Flixster or IMDB in a bottom dialogue box on your screen. Similarly, if you are listening to a song, and want to know the singer, all you need to do is ask’ Who is the singer?’ and the new Google Now will understand the context and display the singer’s name.
8. Improved word selection
Android M has updated the way words are selected, and has tried to make it easy. It will highlight text one word at a time, and if you pull the handle backwards it will select each letter at a time. It’s even added a floating toolbar, something similar to what is seen on iOS, that offers cut, copy, and paste buttons, so you won’t need to go to the Action Bar to make a selection.
9. Direct Share
Android M amps up social media sharing with Direct Share. We’ve already got a pretty satisfactory Share Menu in the current Android version, but Android M effectively lets you share videos and photos by generating quick links. This quick link can then be shared with specific people through specific apps, and Android will intelligently learn whom you frequently share things with, and show you relevant suggestions tolet you share directly with them through links quickly.
10. Improved volume controls
The most dignified thing to do is acknowledge a mistake, when you make one. With Lollipop, Google overhauled the volume control menu, and needless to say the feedback wasn’t great. The company tries to rectify its goof up with Android M and announced new volume controls that make it easier to modify the system volume, music volume, or alarm volume independently.