Android M – What’s to come?
So far, its early doors for Android M. We still don’t even know its name, other than it will be lettered M as is the tradition with Google Software (and does that mean we are now roughly halfway through Android OS?). Here is the minimum we can expect from Android M which will probably be released later this year.
The Android Developers Blog says that with Android M, we can expect some core improvements. Not only will “thousands” of bugs be fixed, but we can expect some core fundamentals to be developed too.
- Permissions: As of Android M, the permissions are going to be overhauled to give you much more granular control over what permissions apps will have. Of course we all check what permissions an app requires before installing/updating (right?), but when an app wants to access certain permissions under Android M, you will have a prompt to agree before that app can use those permissions. So for example, if an app wants to use your microphone, it will have to ask you first before listening in.
- App Links: This will make it even easier for developers to link to other apps already on your device. Think of when you’re using Facebook to log into an app and the app automatically sends you to the Facebook app for you to agree the log in. Once agreed, you get sent back to the original app. This will happen with even more apps and with better control for developers under Android M.
- Battery Life: We’ve all had that horrible moment when we’ve gone to check our Twitter feed at lunch only to find the phone only has 10% battery life. Under Android M, a new feature called Doze will use motion detection to see if the phone has been used in a while. If it’s been on the table for a while, Android M will back-off background data usage at the cost of app refresh rate. This means that developers can then choose to have their app have priority notification which will still get through, even on Doze.
Of course, Android M isn’t going to all be updates and improvements, and Google gave us a little taste of some of the big new features coming with Android M.
- Now on Tap: Android Now will get a big integration update under Android M with the introduction of Now On Tap. What this means is, Google Now will be available in any app and be able to use context from within the app to help with searches, reminders and all the other Google Now goodness.
- Android Pay: It wasn’t going to take crystal ball to see this one coming, what with Apple introducing Apple Pay where you can use your phone/watch to pay in store and in-app, Android have released their own version called (shockingly) Android Pay. Using NFC, users will be able to use their phone as a tap-to-pay device at participating retailers (most likely starting in America) as well as using Android Pay in-app.
- Native Fingerprint Support: Yes, the rumours were true, Android M will get Native Fingerprint Support. Android phones with Fingerprint scanners aren’t new, we reviewed the HTC One Max about 18 months ago which had a decent fingerprint scanner. The difference is, this time, support will be native to Android M, meaning you’ll be able to use your fingerprint to confirm payment in the Google Play store, and to authenticate the new Android Pay system. What’s even better is that Google will release fingerprint API’s, allowing developers to enable the security measure within their own app.
Goodies for Developers in Android M:
This won’t apply to everyone, but if you’re an Android developer, there were also some goodies for you in the preview of Android M (apart from all those API’s).
- Android Studio v1.3: Along with the preview release of Android M, Google released an updated version of Android Studio (the program that developers use to create their apps for Android) with the addition of editing and debugging of C/C++ along side Java.
- Android Design Support Library: Google have now made it easier for developers to give their app the Material design look with a library of key components of the Material Design look.
- Google Play Services 7.5: Finally, Google released the updated version of Google Play Services with a bunch of new API’s for developers to use to make