Welcome Android M! Android M is the upcoming android version announced that adds up to the count of Android operating system. It is not so long ago, Android Lollipop was released, its successor Android M developer preview is revealed in Google I/O 2015. Whether it’s related to designing an app’s layout or an entire user interface; Android versions have always been released with innovative trends that have been well embraced by the Android app development community.
Release date : Android M Developer Preview available today for Nexus 5, 6, 7, 9 and Player. Final version is due to launch in Q3, 2015.
While some of the features were being asked for a while are improved and some of them are completely new. Here are the features highlight of the Android M preview release.
Let us have a look into each of the features in details and what it means to developers.
1. Improved App permissions
So far all of the Android operating system asks user to accept or reject all permission used by application before app is being installed. User was forced to access each of the permissions for installing the app. For example, lets say an application is accessing both contacts and GPS features, but I would like to allow permission for GPS only and decided not to allow contact to be accessed. This was not possible.
Android M finally simplifies app permissions by a great extent! You don’t have to agree to permissions you don’t need anymore. Android M allows you to selectively turn off permissions for specific features, restricting apps from using them. You can choose your permissions and see which apps have access to it.
This is good news for app developers as well as its faster to get users up and running compared to the previous permission model and allow a seamless app install process.
2. Seamless Web Experience
Web today is pushing its priority towards mobile as more and more users prefer to browse that way. Android M keeps their experience in mind and provides a better way to improve that very experience.
Custom chrome tabs is one of the recent announcement from Android M. This allows you to open links from within your app into a ‘Custom Chrome Tab’ that overlays your app screen seamlessly with a transition. The Custom Chrome Tab, adapts to match the look and feel of your app so that you can comfortably browse its content.
verify linksApp linking is now made possible with Android M. Links can now be provided in the app via Intents in the Manifest file.
This allows content to be more trusted and verifiable making the user aware of the content before actually tapping on it!
4. Android Pay
Android Pay Say goodbye to your wallet! Your phone’s going to take care of your payments from now on thanks to Android M! Android Pay was made with three things in mind: simplicity, security and choice. The payment method is very easy to use and can instantly help you make payments from your phone. This means lesser digging your wallet for those notes, and more of paying quick (like a boss).
The payment process itself is entirely secure in Android M. Being an open source platform, security is one of the highest concerns and Google hasn’t forgotten this.
Virtual Account Number : A virtual account number is used the entire time to process the payment. This means that your actual card number is not known or used in the transaction itself.
Android Pay provides users the flexibility and choice in choosing their payment methods. You can hook up any supportive banking app to Android Pay, existing credit or debit cards as well. They’re even working with mobile carries such as Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile. It works with any devices having NFC support.
5. Inbuilt Fingerprint Support
Honestly, I would’ve flipped, hadn’t Google announced this. We’ve already seen Apple do this on their iPhones putting it to creative uses and its about time Google did with Android too.
Your fingerprint can now be used to process payments, make purchases on the Play Store and even unlock your device!
Any developer could use it within their apps to authenticate either a payment or process using the fingerprint APIs.
6. Power and Charging
Smartphones always faced the problem of not holding enough charge, and if you’re a mobile data user, you’d probably be tagging along a power brick all the time!
With more features being added in, the gravity of power management went higher. Android M kept this in mind and came up with a solution for it.
Say hello to Doze!
Doze is your smart(er) power management solution in Android M. While the device is asleep it manages power smartly, putting the device on a standby mode, while still handling the high priority messages and notifications you receive.
During a test, Android M Developer Preview was capable of lasting x2 times longer than the same device running Android Lollipop.
7. Other Features and Highlights
So thats M. While those were definitely the highlights, Android M Developer Preview still had a few aces up its sleeve for the reveal. Smaller, yet significant.
New USB Type-C Standard
We’ve seen this in Apple’s new MacBook and we’ve all talked a lot about how not many support it. Google is really pushing this forward with Android M for it to be the new standard.
The new USB type allows for much faster charging of devices. Almost 3-5 times faster! You could either charge using the port, or use the phone itself as a charger for other supporting devices. Here comes my favourite feature: The USB pin is finally flippable!
Improved Word Selection
Android M finally understood our need to copy paste certain text by letting us do just that, easier, faster and above all, more intuitively. Copying and selecting parts of texts is no longer frustrating and it also provides a hovering Tooltip letting us to select actions such as copy and paste.
While Android did promote sharing of content/ media across apps, it really was downright annoying to do so. For instance, I often share on WhatsApp to my circle of friends. Me having to scroll all the way down to choose WhatsApp, isn’t always the easiest thing to do.
Android M gives users easier sharing by providing options to share from apps which you use the most and with which you share more. It now shows you app suggestions accordingly. Neat!
Simplified Volume Controls
I don’t know what’s up with Android Lollipop’s volume controls. I mean Material Design was great, I loved it. Was a delight to use, but man those volume controls.
Cheers to the fact that Android M got that straight with simplified volume controls that are easier to use and actually make more sense compared to Lollipop!