At I/O 2015, Google’s annual developer conference, we finally got our first look at Android M, the next version of Google’s operating system for smartphones, tablets, wearables, and smart appliances such as internet-connected toasters, lights, washing machines and more.
While Android M doesn’t look too different visually from Android Lollipop, which was announced last year, it has a number of key features that make it a solid upgrade. Here’s what will make the next version of Android tick.
Android Pay is finally here and it seems to look and work just like Apple Pay, Apple’s NFC-based mobile payments solution launched with the iPhone 6 last year. Users with NFC-supported smartphones will simply be able to tap their devices against terminals at merchants that support NFC payments to make a transaction. Just like Apple Pay, Google says that your actual credit card number won’t be shared with the merchant, so the payment is completely secure.
Android Pay will work with over 7,00,000 stores in the United States that accept contactless payments. It will also be available within shopping apps to speed up the in-app checkout process.
If you smartphone has a fingerprint sensor, you will be able to use Android M to unlock it, pay for Google Play store purchases and also lock and unlock third-party Android apps.
SIMPLER APP PERMISSIONS
When you currently install an Android app, it asks you for permission to access your location, microphone, camera, and more right up front (depending on what it requires). Once you agree to those permissions, you have no idea what the app is doing in the background.Android M will ask you for specific permission as and when an app needs it. For instance, if you wanted to send a voice message in WhatsApp, Android M will only request access to the microphone when you first try to use the feature and not before. This allows you to easily see what an app is doing with the permissions you grant it.
BETTER BATTERY LIFE
Android M includes a feature called “Doze”, which uses your smartphone’s built-in motion sensors to detect it at rest and automatically go into a low-power state whenever it detects that your phone hasn’t been used in some time (such as when it’s just resting on a bedside table). Google says that devices with Android M typically lasted twice as long in standby compared to those running Android Lollipop.
With USB-C support, you will also be able to use your phone or tablet to charge something else, since USB-C is bi-directional. It will also charge your phone 3 to 5 times faster than the current microUSB standard.
SMARTER APP LINKS
Android will automatically detect it you have the relevant app installed (when you launch a Twitter link from an email, for instance) and seamlessness launch it when you tap on a link instead of asking you which app you want to open the link with like it does right now.