Today Google gave I/O attendees a sneak peek at Android M – the company’s upcoming version of the Android operating system. If L was a major overhaul of Android, M is aimed more at bug squashing and optimization.
Apps will now ask permissions from users as they use a facet or component of a phone. For example, if you install WhatsApp and use the record feature for the first time that utilizes the microphone, that’s the only time that Android M will ask for permission. This allows users to filter the permissions they give apps, instead of agreeing to all the permissions asked by the app at the same time, which increases security.
Android M also allows Apps to implement Chrome Custom tabs in apps, to allow faster loading of hyperlinks within applications. This allows users to quickly see the contents of hyperlinked material (such as a linked page to a website review) without disrupting the overall user experience of the app. Think of it as a custom Chrome browser inside an app.
Android M also makes app linking easier. Many of you have probably seen a pop-up dialog when you try to open a link within a website or an email asking you which application to use to open a certain file. With the new app linking system in M, apps can verify themselves for certain things. Urls that open Twitter for example, will open the Twitter app without asking you which app to use when you click on it, making the user experience faster and easier.
The new M release also includes and update for Android Pay, Google’s own version of their contact-less payment system. The company has made the system easy to use in conjunction with NFC, as well as fingerprint scanner support. Android Pay will work for stores as well as in-app purchases, though it looks like it’ll be in the US for now.
Speaking of fingerprints, Android M will now standardize the APIs needed to use fingerprint scanners, thanks to the popularity of devices that have the tech. The new fingerprint API is also developed to work seamlessly with Android Pay – you just need your fingerprint to confirm a purchase making everything fast and hassle free.
Probably the biggest M feature we’re looking forward to is called Doze. It’s a new feature that uses the phone’s gyro and accelerometer to determine if the phone or tablet is at rest. If it does detect that the phone is not on a person, it forces the phone to go into a deep sleep, saving a lot more power while still allowing messages and notifications to go through. Google says that Doze gives M equipped devices up to 2 times more battery compared to batteries without.
Google is now also providing native USB Type C connector support to devices with Android M. Aside from being reversible, USB Type C connectors on Android phone allows power to flow out, as well as in, which means you can use Android phones as impromptu powerbanks if need be.
While Google hasn’t announced when exactly Android M will be released, it’s a good bet that it’ll come around Q3 of this year.