Google announces Android M Developer Preview during its I/O conference. The search giant has officially unveiled the next version of its operating system: Android M, which will replace the Android Lollipop as soon as this year, and Google announces that the Developer Preview is available today with a full official release in Q3.
While the new mobile operating system will bring a number of new features and improvements, Google says that the company is going back to the basics to improve the quality of the platform.
The company also says that it has been observing what device makers have been including to Android and is integrating many of these ideas into the operating system. There is about half a dozen new areas that Google is shifting attention with Android M.
Aside from the improvements on performance and efficiency, a significant change in Android M is the new apps permission mechanism. With the new operating system, users will be able to approve or deny security permissions, such as location or camera on a per app basis.
There are eight categories of permissions available to apps, and apps will prompted users as they are needed, which is different from Lollipop that asks users to grant permission once during installation.
In Android M, Google is also making a better user experience with the Chrome browser. A new feature called “Chrome Custom Tabs” allows developers to add web views directly within the app, which delivers a better browsing experience without forcing users to move to a new app.
With M, linking between apps (also known as “intents”) also are being updated, allowing apps to open content directly without having users to be prompted to switch apps every time. For example, if you click a YouTube video link on an email, the YouTube app will launch automatically instead of asking users which app to use.
In Android M, the search giant is also announcing Android Pay. This is a new tool that uses NFC and Host Card Emulation for tap-to-pay services and it’s replacement for Google Wallet. Developers will be able to include Android Pay into their apps for in-app purchases and different payments.
Android Pay will come included on devices in T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T, and the new payment method will be accepted in 700,000 stores in the United States. Google’s Android Pay will also support fingerprint scanners out-of-the-box on devices such as the Samsung’s Galaxy S6, and it works with any device running KitKat or newer.
The new version of Android, also will bring a new feature called “Doze”, which lets your phone manage the background process more efficiently. The new feature, relies on motion detection to determine if the device is being used or it’s sitting on a table, and if no one is using the device for a period of time, then Doze will shut down unnecessary processes to save battery life. According to Google, the new feature prolongs battery life up to two time over Android Lollipop.
Android M, now includes support for USB Type-C, which allows faster and much easier charging. In addition, the new support lets users change other devices with their Android phone.
There is also various small tweaks, such as better volume control and copy and paste.
Google’s Android M is available as a developer preview now for the Nexus 5, 6, 9, and Nexus Player, and a full release will arrive in Q3.