Google released its latest Android operating system at its annual I/O 2015 conference, which took place a week ago in San Francisco.
The latest Android M is here with the number of improvements over its predecessor - Android 5.0 Lollipop. The Android Lollipop was one of the most important release by Google, which introduced a new design and interface for the Android platform. Now with Android M, Google is focusing on improving the stability and usability of the software including the core user experience with number of improvements.
Android M is now available as a developers preview, but the company has not mentioned the version number or the name of M. Here are the big changes Google made for the Android in comparison to Android Lollipop.
Native Fingerprint Technology
Until now only few smartphones manufacturers like Samsung, have included fingerprint scanner in their handsets. But the latest Android M featuring a native fingerprint technology at the API level, which means that fingerprint scanning will be standardized across all upcoming devices that runs on Android M.
The native fingerprint support for Android M will enhance the Android Pay for users to confirm the payment with their fingerprint. In addition to that, this feature will allow users to sign-in or authenticate on integrated apps or unlock the device without the need of password or pin.
Samsung introduced fingerprint scanning with its flagship smartphone, Galaxy S6 that operates on Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system. Samsung also delivered some important bits of code to the Android OS with its SELinux security reinforcements.
Google introduced a payment initiative feature for Android M, called as Android Pay. Many smartphone running Android KitKat and above comes with NFC connectivity to make contact-less communication.
But Android M lets the user make payments using NFC through Android pay. Android Pay uses virtual card similar to the Apple secure tokens, which is secure than an actual card. Android Pay will be pre-installed on Android platform, using an open API. Android Pay can be integrated into banking apps to make payments and can also use fingerprint to authenticate the payment.
It also means that developers can build apps with open API, and can verify the payment in the Android Pay with fingerprint technology.
Doze vs Project Volta
Battery life is one of the biggest concern for Android users since the beginning and it looks like Google is improving it. Every year Google comes up with new features to its latest Android platform with improvements on battery usage.
This year at Google I/O, the company announced a new feature called Doze. It is believed that the Doze will make Android device smart in managing power. Doze detects and idles the device and background apps that have not been used for a while, which makes your phone last twice as long as the device on standby with Project Volta in Android Lollipop.
Project Volta was introduced in Google I/O 2014 for Android Lollipop. It was supposed to improve the battery drain of Android platform, but Google failed to deliver it with Lollipop. Now the company is finally improved the version and dubbed as Doze.
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Google says, it has experimented with two Nexus 9 tablets, one running Lollipop and other with Android M. Both Nexus were loaded with same apps and settings and then tested the standby power drain. As expected, the Nexus 9 with Doze running Android M lasted up to two times longer than the Android Lollipop.
Doze will use motion detection to realize when the device has not moved for a period of time and automatically switches to a deeper sleep to consume much less power. During the deeper sleep Doze still allows alarms and selected notifications.
Google announced the USB-C ports support for the Android M OS. The new USB ports are great in terms of reversibility, which means you can charge other devices using Android phones. The new USB connecter is similar to the Apple's Lightning connector, which can be plugged in either way. Google also claims that Android M devices with USB-C connectors will charge up to three to five times faster than the current version of microUSB in Android Lollipop.
One of the biggest feature of the Android M is selective app permission. Google has increased user control on apps. Now with Android M users will be able to approve or deny security permissions like location access, access to contacts and messages and more.
In the earlier version of Android OS, during installing app on device, user needs to agree number of permissions, provided by app, on what the app can have access. While in Android M, user doesn't need to agree the permission, instead, apps will ask permission when user uses a feature and not while installing.
In addition to that, users can also manage all their app permissions in settings. Google has also urged the developers to design their app, that they prompt permission request during installation.
Google has made many improvements in the Android M including changes on how text selection works and volume controls has also been simplified over the Android Lollipop. Google also managed updated for volume controls overs various audio settings including ringtones, alarms, music playback and voice calls.
Some major improvements also include Now on Tap, Chrome Custom Tabs, App Linking, New RAM manager and much more. The Android M is now available as a preview for developers, interested users can install the preview version of Android M on nexus devices and share your feedback with Google.