The new Android M: These are the 6 core features

Android M google IO 2015

Google has just made the next version of Android official at Google I/O 2015. During the keynote address of its annual developer conference, Google unveiled that Android M will succeed Android Lollipop this year. Google says that Android M, which is debuting as a pre-release version today with a full release later this year, brings a host of new features and performance enhancements. But at the same time, Google’s Sundar Pichai says the company has “gone back to the basics” and improved quality of the platform. Android M has been built around 6 core features bring the most polished Android experience to date.

App Permissions

Android M App permissions IO 2015App Permissions got a full overhaul. In M, Apps only ask when you try to use the feature, instead of when you first install it. That’s basically how the iPhone has done it forever, so instead of a wall of permissions on install, it just gives you an ask whenever you want to use, say, the camera. And here it’s things like location, camera, microphone, contacts, phone, SMS, and your calendar. You can dig into an app and see what it can do, or you can see all the apps that can access a certain thing. So, like, you can see all the apps that can access GPS. No more having to re-approve permissions on apps for updates.

Web experience

Right now you either have to dump somebody out into the browser or use a webview in your app. But apparently any developer can just, like, stick Chrome into their app now. It’s called “Chrome custom tabs.” It looks like an in-app browser, but it’s actually Chrome. So you can have Chrome with different chrome if you like chrome. And if Chrome put in a custom app browser, you’d have Chrome with different chrome inside Chrome. Supports saved passwords, autofill, and all the rest. It’s available today for developers and will come out in Q3.

App Links

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Android has a thing called the “intent system” that lets apps link to each other, but you get a “disambig dialog” that makes you choose which app you want to use when you click it. With M, apps can “verify” themselves as cool for certain things, like Twitter links, so when you click on a verified link it just opens the Twitter app, every time.

Android Pay

Android M Android Pay IO 2015

It uses NFC and Host Card Emulation. Google says that Android Pay is about “simplicity, security, and choice.” You unlock your phone like normal, then tap the NFC. So no extra code, then. Android Pay is an open platform,  so you can either use Google’s stuff or use the bank’s app to activate it. It also works in-app, for in-app purchases. The same partnership model that fueled Android’s growth will help Android Pay. It certainly didn’t work on Google Wallet. Android Pay works with any KitKat or later device.

Fingerprint reader support

Hey now, Google is building official fingerprint reader support right into Android instead of leaving it to Samsung and Moto. In theory, the Target App would let you authenticate your purchase with a fingerprint.

Power Management

Android M Type C USB IO 2015
Android M will use Type C USB Standard

There’s a new feature called “Doze.” Apparently it’s “smarter” about managing power. M uses motion detection. If your tablet doesn’t move in awhile, it cuts off apps. Alarms and high-priority chat messages still come through. A Nexus 9 with Doze lasts “up to two times longer” than one without it, Google says. USB Type-C is going to be supported on Android. You will also be able to use your Android phone to charge something else. Because everybody has too much battery life on their Android phone.


Other Features

They’re fixing word selection and OMG, THEY FIXED COPY AND PASTE. They’re also fixing volume controls too, you can get a drop down to control individual levels. And you can properly silence androids. Developer preview today for Nexus 5, 6, 9, and Player.