Android M: 6 Awesome Changes That Make You Want It
Google has introduced its next operating system: Android M. We don’t know what M stands for yet other than M Developer Preview. Considering its past names have all been sweet (Gingerbread, Lollipop, Jelly Bean, Ice Cream Sandwich, etc.), we wonder if its final name will be marshmallow, meringue, macaroon, or macaron. We’re getting hungry and off track here.
Back to Android M. It’s currently in developer preview available for the Nexus 5, 6, 9, Player, and some Sony Xperia devices. An emulator is also on hand. The preview gives developers the opportunity to try the OS and test their apps for the new release. According to the Android Developers website, Android M is scheduled to be released in the third quarter of this year.
Google reps say that it’s getting back to the basics with the Android M. Its focus is to improve the core user experience. The company is also squashing bugs and aiming for product excellence through the fundamental aspects of how the app works.
Here are the six areas where Android M enhances the user experience.
1. App permissions
When selecting an app to download, you will no longer see a long list of stuff the app wants permission to access. Instead, the app will download and install. No barriers. Permission prompts won’t appear until the app wants access to access a feature. The only time it’ll ask for permission up front is when the app’s main purpose is to access something like the camera.
This gives users more control over data as they can change or revoke permissions at any time. It also allows them to get up and running faster. Legacy apps, however, will continue to ask permissions at install.
2. Web experience
Currently, web views within an app requires developers to build a browser, which is complex and time consuming. In using a web browser within an app, users lose some of the browser features that make it easier to browse the web like saved passwords, autofill, and logged-in sessions.
Android M introduces Chrome Custom Tabs, which allow developers to take advantage of Chrome’s browser features without losing the look and feel. For example, when you tap a link from within an app, the web page slides forward to appear. This is the Chrome web browser running on top of the app.
The custom tab is the same color as the brand of the app you’re using to create a holistic experience. The back button allows you to return to your app. Chrome loads pages faster because the app asks the browser for permission to pre-fetch the content.
3. App links
We click links on web pages all the time and move between websites. App links applies the same principle allowing you to move from one app to another. Let’s say you’re reading an email with a Twitter link.
In the old way of doing things, the Android didn’t know whether to serve up Twitter.com or the Twitter app, so it’d ask which you want to use. This is called disambig dialog. Android M opens the Twitter app. Disambig dialogue be gone. This improves the core user experience by taking away the extra step and taking you straight to the content you want.
4. Mobile payments with Android Pay
Android Pay on Android M builds on previous work while adding simplicity, security, and choice. Customers can pay in stores that have the Android Pay logo. To pay, just unlock phone and put it in front of NFC terminal.
Google is working with major financial institutions, mobile carriers, and other places around the world to implement Android Pay. It’s more secure because when you add a card, Android Pay creates a virtual account number. It does not share your actual card information with store. Incorporated within apps in Android M, Android Pay works with more than 700,000 stores in the U.S.
5. Fingerprint Support
Google is standardizing fingerprint support to work across many sensors and devices. It can be used to authorize Android Pay transactions. Simply unlock your phone with your fingerprint and you can make a payment. Developers can make use of new open API to add fingerprint support to their own apps.
6. Power and charging
Neat feature called Doze identifies when device is most and least active. It finds patterns and puts device in deeper sleep state to save power and energy when the device is least used. Unused devices become inactive and wait longer to wake up for background tasks. As soon as you pick up the device, Doze turns off and it’s business as usual.
Even when asleep, a device can still trigger real-time alarms or respond to incoming chat. Unused apps that haven’t been touched in days lose network access and resume when used or the device is plugged in.
Developers loaded one Nexus 9 with Android Lollipop and another with Android M. Both had the same accounts, apps, and activity. Android M lasted two times longer in standby.
Google has created a new USB Type-C standard, a new way of charging that works across hardware including cell phones, tablets, laptop, and other devices. It charges three to five times faster and it’s more durable and mobile-friendly. It’s also bidirectional, so you won’t have to figure out which way to insert the USB adapter.
A few more little features
A few other little features that enhance the Android M experience such as word selection with auto-select or chunk that lets you to drag the selector backwards or character by character. With one tap, you can share content with specific people through direct sharing. Volume controls have also been simplified.
We’re looking forward to the public release of Android M. In the meantime, you can expect Akruto to sync Outlook with Androids running Android M when it becomes available.