Google’s I/O 2015 saw the launch of Android M preview. Android M was launched to counteract the memory issues with Lollipop and bring back the much needed stability to Android devices.
What’s in the box?
The first major update seems to be app permissions. App permissions have been much simpler. With Android M you can choose to accept or reject requests for individual permissions.
If you have rejected permissions for an app, it’s possible to give it the green light on a later date. Android M aims at giving users total control over their information and choose to share what they like and when they like.
Like allowing Keep to record video, Hangouts to read SMS and Google earth to view your location.
You can also sort apps by permission and see which apps have which permissions enabled
With Android M Google plans on standardizing fingerprint scanning to enable making payments for app purchases on Google playstore
One big expectation with this update was overhaul of Google Mobile payments.
Google pay works by allowing you to walk into an NFC enabled store and make payments. An attempt at mobile payments seeing the likes of Apple Pay and Samsung in the form of Google wallet was botched due to Android fragmentation.
The focus on Fingerprint scanning is supposedly to make transactions more secure and acceptance of Google pay.
The new API will allow developers to add fingerprint recognition on any app and thus standardize the process.
Improving web experience
Google wants to improve the User Experience with improving web experience by making access of Google Chrome easy.
To this end Chrome Custom Tabs has been introduced. It simply allows a user to launch a Chrome window just above the active app. Want to search something quickly? No need to hassle around anymore.
Custom Tabs comes with all the regular features of Chrome— saving passwords, autofilling forms, and automatically logging you on sites where your credentials are saved.
It thus provides a seamless web browsing experience accessible from any app.
Intuitive Web links
Web links have been a stumbling block to phones even before the advent of Android powered smartphones. The phone doesn’t simply whether to open the link on some supported app or the Chrome browser.
If you receive an SMS with a link inside it, and you try to open you generally get a prompt asking you whether to open the link in a browser or somewhere else.
Links inside apps and external links will now require less handholding with Android M. A link for Pinterest will open on the Pinterest app without the need of the user giving the permission.
The Doze mode
With Android M, there’s a new functionality called Doze mode which puts the device on standby when not in use and almost doesn’t pull any charge out of the battery.
If you have dozed off, or haven’t used the device for a while the Doze functionality detects the drop in usage and puts the device into standby saving power.
If we are to believe Google’s claim then this “new mode” increases battery life up to two times as revealed by tests on Nexus 9.
Google Now on Tap
Google’s virtual assistant is now faster, more intuitive and with added functionality. Again with added awareness of 100 million different places, it can easily and accurately answer questions like, “Nearest hotel from this place”, “How much longer to that place” etc.
If you receive a text message proposing eating out that night, Google now will offer suggestions on nearby restaurants as well.
Google has also partnered with 100 plus apps and exhibits contextual awareness.
Holding down the Home button while watching a Youtube video gives you more information on the people in the video.
Just ask, “Who’s he” and Google now will know that you are referring to the person in the video.
The same thing works with over 100 apps.
This contextual awareness also spills over to Android smartwatches which is linked with your device.
Android M supports USB C-type charging which makes charging much faster.
New App Drawer
The app drawer and the widget picker scroll vertically instead of the erstwhile side by side scrolling.
The apps are listed out in alphabetical order as well.
Direct Share and Floating Toolbar
Direct Share is a new addition. It learns what content you share frequently and turns it into a single click process. The floating toolbar, makes copy and pasting content from web pages easy.