Android M is probably the coolest version of Android. Google says it’ll also be the most refined and bug-free version of the OS. M isn’t a drastic change form L in terms of design or functionality; M is more about integration and security.
There are over six major changes in Android M:
1. New App Permissions Model
How often are Android users forced to agree to all app permission while downloading an app form the play store? As Google said, this model hampers security and some permission categories make no particular sense. M has a new App Permissions Model: Users do not need to agree to all app permissions while installing an app; instead, as users use the features, the permissions are asked. This model is very similar to Apple’s, but is a sure upgrade from the cumbersome permissions model currently used.
2. Native support for Chrome within Apps
Developers can now integrate a Chrome tab (called Chrome Custom Tab) right into their app. This ensures high quality, easy to use browsing without the need to leave the app. And because Chrome is a native Android browser, it is not only very stable, but also very convenient: the user’s passwords and autofill works within the Chrome Custom Tabs.
Google also announced an all new app linking system, so when a user taps the share on twitter version, Android automatically opens the Twitter app (and not ask what app should open the link).
3. USB-C, Dosing and battery life
Yes, Android M finally natively supports USB type C- the new standard of USB technology that can be used for charging, data transfer and accessories.
Google announced Doze; when you do not use/touch your phone for extended periods of time, the phone “dozes off”, that is, only alarms and notifications will work, hence extending the battery life. Google said that dozing on the Nexus 9 extended the battery life by 2x.
4. Google Now on Tap
Google Now on Tap is the coolest, craziest update to Google Now since Google Now. Now on Tap is a program that works across apps and uses advanced machine learning technology to learn from what’s on the screen. For example, if you receive a mail from your friend asking to watch a movie in theatre, you can long press the home button to call Now on Tap. Now automatically scans the mail for understandable information- as soon as it understands that there is a mention of the movie, a Google Now card pops up and displays information on the movie, including ratings, reviews and links to apps like IMDB. Another cool example: You are listening to Skrillex on Spotify. You say Ok Google and ask “what's his real name?”. Now understands that the “his” in context is “Skrillex” and displays the real name of Skrillex. Now on Tap is a very cool addition to Android M, as long as it works.
5. Google’s Photos app
"Make memories instead of managing them."
Google released an all new Photos app that is unsurprisingly similar to the iOS Photos app. The app organises photos based on time and location; you can pinch to zoom to see more (or less) pictures on the screen. But Google has gone beyond just organisation: the Photos app has integrated face detection and search to catalogue and find picture easily. Moreover, the app automatically makes video clips combining your stored videos, making moments simple to share.
Google photos will store unlimited 16 MP photos or 1080p HD video for free and will sync them across all your devices. The App is available NOW on both Android and iOS.
6. Android Pay and native Fingerprint acceptance
Just like Apple Pay, there is now Android Pay - add your credit cards and pay directly via your phone using NFC. To make this process secure, Google also announced that it’ll accept fingerprint scanners natively in Android to support all those manufacturers who already have placed a fingerprint scanner in their device’s home button.
Apart from these six features, Android M comes with other subtle upgrades, including new volume controls and floating copy/paste buttons.
Google also updated us on the few new features coming to Android Wear, including draw for emoji and swapping cards by flicking the wrist. Google announced that Wear now has over 4000 apps on its store, and apps like Uber are arriving soon.
Google also introduced a new operating system for the Internet of Things called Brillo. Brillo is “derived” from Android, and incorporates useful features like support for Wifi, Bluetooth Low Energy. Brillo works with its brother, Weave, that helps connect all these devices together into one uniform ecosystem, so when you refer to ‘camera’, all your devices will know about what camera you are talking about. Brillo will run on Refrigerators, Ovens, Washing Machines and other home electronics and will integrate naturally with Android.
That’s all about the new Android. More from I/O coming soon!