After getting the error and bug reports regarding Android’s Lollipop flavor, Google has introduced its latest version of OS, Android M with improved stability, at the annual Google I/O developer conference on May 28. The developers will get the pre-release version starting from today, however, the full version will debut in Q3 this year.
The company’s spokesperson Sunder Pichai reported that developers have improved the stability and usability of the latest Android platform. He further stated that this time the firm has emphasized on serving the quality rather than providing new looks.
David Burke, the vice president of engineering at Google, said that Google is trying to focus on the integration of the features to the stock Android ROM that the device manufacturers adding to their products. He also informed that the preview version of Android M will be only available on Google Nexus 5, 6, 9 and Nexus Player.
— Google (@Google) May 28, 2015
Now on Tap
As of now, the Google Now is learning by analyzing the search requests and the users’ emails to provide personalised results and helpful information like latest news about favourite topics.
By upgrading to Android M, users will be able to summon the Google Now results by scanning whatever is displaying on the screen by the new feature, ‘Now on Tap’. It will help in providing information about the topic of a text, a song, a video clip, an article, etc.
Also, the user can just say what they are seeking, after activating the feature. It will get activated on the device by just pressing and holding the ‘home’ button or just by speaking “OK Google”.
The latest Android M boasts Android Pay feature that enables the users to make payments from their smart devices. Google developers have integrated the NFC (near-field communication) and host card emulation techniques in the latest platform. These techniques help the users in tap-to-pay services without installing an external app.
To use the feature all you have to do is, just add your card details to the device, it will automatically create a virtual account number to make the payments. This won’t share the actual card number to the store during the transaction.
In addition, the company has reported that Android Pay will be pre-installed on AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile devices of contact-less payments. It will be used for payments in around 700K stores in the US and to make in-app payments.
Permissions and Privacy
As earlier seen, by installing an external app to the device, the user have to allow to all app permissions during the first install. With the new Android M, the users will get an option to decide which permission they want to allow or revoke. Android M users will be notified and asked for permissions only when they are using a particular function in an app.
Some of the device manufacturers like Gionee, provides an App Manager pre-installed on its product boasting the same feature.
There as basically eight parameters including location, camera, contacts and so on, to give permissions. With the Android M, if an app wants to use the camera of the device then the App Permissions tab will pop up, asking you for permission to use the camera. However, the permission can be revoked later.
In addition, while updating the apps it won’t ask for permissions off the bat, until and unless the feature isn’t used by it.
Google understands the users needs, as it is trying to improve the web browsing experience day by day. The firm has added new ‘Custom Tab’ feature to the chrome browser that includes web-views within a particular app, without rushing to the Chrome app.
One of the developers reported that the Chrome browser will be running on the top of the app, if the user clicks a link it will be opened within the app without switching to the default browser of the device. Features such as automatic sign-in, saved passwords, autofill will work on the apps seamlessly.
In addition, the Custom Tab feature take up the color and fonts of the app it is being opened with to make it seem like a seamless experience. It looks much familiar with Facebook’s Instant Articles, it is, however, somewhat differ from it as it will make you feel like you are within the app you are browsing.
The latest Android M will come with app auto-verification system that enables the device to automatically select the best app for the user without prompting. For instance, currently if a user clicks a link of twitter the device will ask to open up the twitter app or to open the link in a web browser.
Meanwhile, Android M will let developers add in an auto-verify feature within their code that verifies the link with the app’s server and post-authentication will proceed to open the link within the app itself, it wouldn’t ask the user where to open the link.
After embedding fingerprint scanner by Apple, Samsung is also providing the feature in its flagship device and it is assumed that other rivals may also do so. Therefore, the tech giant Google has provided fingerprint support to the platform. It standardises the support by working with various phones to develop a standard API. It allows the users to use their fingerprint to authorise an Android Pay transaction, unlock the device or make Play Store purchases.
Previously, Google has received many negative feedbacks regarding the battery performance on Android L platform. So that, the company has improved the battery life on its successor. The Android M sports a ‘smart power management’ feature, Doze that manages and optimises the background running processes.
For instance, it keeps a tab on the motion detection sensor, the system shuts down some processes if there is no activity for a long time.
As the device is in the Doze stage, the system can still get activated by alarms or high priority notifications.
As per Google’s statement, this feature has helped increased the standby-time on the Nexus 9 by around two times over the Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Android M supports USB Type-C for charging. A USB Type-C is has a bi-directional port that offers to either charge the phone or to charge another device.
The M platform also has some of the other improvements like a better implementation of Copy/Paste function as it has a floating toolbar just above the selection of the text with common options Cut, Copy and Paste.
The ‘Direct Share’ feature allows to share images, links or any other stuff with the most frequently shared contacts or apps, using a single click.
Volume rockers just won’t control volume now, they also give a drop-down menu, which was earlier seen on the Cyanogen OS.