During Google I/O, Google’s speakers announced the Android M as Google’s “most powerful Android release to date,” and will be the new software that will power Android smartphones starting this fall. Andriod M’s Developer Preview has already been opened to developers, allowing them to build and update their apps for the next version of Android for free, and it’s already available on developer.Android by downloading the M Developer Preview tools.
Android M is the successor to Android Lollipop and will feature new, consumer-centric, functionalities like Doze, which places devices in a deeper standby mode when applications aren’t being used but are open on a device. Google’s Material Design and Chrome Custom Tabs will come together for users in order to provide a faster and more intuitive user-experience when navigating between apps and the web. “Chrome Custom Tabs is a new feature that gives developers a way to harness all of Chrome’s capabilities, while still keeping control of the look and feel of the experience,” said Burke.
Google’s Smart Lock for passwords has been extended to Android M and Google will extend API support to developers and publishers along with biometric support for upcoming fingerprint scanning hardware that will allow the owner to unlock their phone, sign into Android or Google, and provide authentication for purchases in storefronts and online. The highly anticipated Android Pay has also been announced for consumers to provide “simplicity, security, and choice,” by allowing its users to add existing credit card accounts to pay for products in more than 700,000 stores in the US. Project Soli tracks hand movements and translates them to input commands to manage volume control, swiping and button pushing, allowing users to control the smallest wearable without ever having to touch it; while Google’s new Project Jacquard that will turn clothes into wearables by weaving sensors into fabrics, transforming them into interactive surfaces that recognize simple touch gestures-starting with Levi’s.
App permissions have also been reworked in Android M, with simplification and the ability for end-users to choose to accept or deny individual permissions as they see fit. Permissions will now be requested the first time a user tries to use a feature instead of at the point of installation, to ensure reception. “You don’t have to agree to permissions that don’t make sense to you,” Google VP of Engineering David Burke said, using the popular WhatsApp to give an example of how it works to user benefit. Other user-customizable functionalities like Android M RAM, Auto Backup, and Restore for Apps allow the user to manage their phone memory allocation and handle backups in the event of power or device loss.
Android M previews 1, 2, and 3 will be released with updates through the summer before the final SDK release in Q3, which delivers the official APIs for the new version of Android, as well as the final system behaviors and features. The new features made possible by Google’s Android M API will propel the user experience into the future, allowing a new degree of adaptation of new functionalities like contactless pay, wearable apps, and increased accessibility that will bring user interfaces to the next level with the help of software developers!