Android M Unveiled – Features We Know Till Now

The much awaited Google I/O Summit 2015 has finally ended with many new announcements and exciting projects from Google and Android M stands one big thing among them. Acclaimed as the next big upgrade for Android and successor of Android Lollipop (5.x), Google has come up with several functional changes rather than design improvements when compared with the shift from Android KitKat (4.4.x) to Lollipop (5.x). In fact, Google has minimised the extent of upgradations in the Look and Feel of the UI, but rather opted for several performance improvements which had been a major setback for the Eco System, when compared with its top rivals. Here are the top six changes which Google has announced to come in its latest upgrade:


App Permissions

In the previous versions of Android till Lollipop, users were prompted for several App permissions, like profile, personal information, contacts and several others only once during the installation of the app. Starting from Android M, users will be prompted for individual App permission when they’re needed during the first run. Also users will be able to change the permissions in the settings menu thereby enhancing the reliablity and user privacy.

Web Experience

Android M has changed the way we see the Web pages that are embedded in any app when needed. Instead of going for a web embedded view in any app (like the URL links that open in Facebook app), Google has come up with a Style Chrome that styles these Web Views to open a custom Chrome tab, which is styled to suit the App – Better user web experience together with the nativity of App, combined.

App Links

Google has comeup with several changes in handling the App Links. An official blog post about the same explains:

Android has always allowed apps to register to natively handle URLs. Now you can add an autoVerify attribute to your app manifest so that users can be linked deep into your native app without any disambiguation prompt. App links, along with App Indexing for Google search, make it easier for users to discover and re-engage with your app.

Mobile Payments

Google has come up with its own payment System, Android Pay. The new payment system makes use of the device’s NFC system and a Virtual Card Number to make transactions securely. Google says that the service will work with all major cards, US carriers (AT&T, T-Mo, VZW) as well as at over 700,000 vendors : McDonald’s, Subway, Best Buy, Coca Cola, Pepsi.

Fingerprint Support

Google has now come up with native Fingerprint support for its devices. Although Flagship devices like HTC One Max, Samsung Galaxy S5, S6, Note 4, Note 4 Edge, Oppo N3 and many other have Fingerprint scanners, there wasn’t any native support from the system to use the feature. Starting with Android M, Google provides core functionalities support for fingerprint which can unlock phones without a password, or make secure transactions.

Power & Charging

Android has come up with a power managing feature called Doze, which will exponentially back off background activity, trading off a little bit of app freshness for longer battery life when the phone is left unattended for a long time.

Apart from these features, there are several other new features which weren’t actually revealed during the summit and were observed in the technical preview.

App Data Backup – Google backs up the App Data by default to the Cloud, so that when you reinstall any app, the app just starts with the previous settings and info rather than asking for users to startover again.

Quick Settings Panel Customization – Google has finally come up with customizable Quick Settings panel, with option to add/remove existing options.

Swipe Left Lock Screen to Voice Search – Previously till Lollipop, you swipe left in your lock screen to open camera app. this is now replaced with a Google Now voice search option.

Use Device as internal Storage – Google has never added an option for SD card in its Nexus Lineup since Nexus S, because it makes file management harder in case of handling multiple storage volumes. With Android M, Google is fixing this by allowing users to treat SD cards like they’re just more internal storage.

Choice of theme option for System Interface – Google has gone over fully bright colors with its Material Design starting with Lollipop (5.x). This wasn’t much lauded because the brighter colors caused lot of inconvenience to people as well as drained much power. Now Google has added an option that’d leave the users with a choice between the dark halo theme and the light theme, although the app colors wouldn’t be affected.

Modified App Drawer – Google has changed the way its App Drawer works. It has come up with several changes including a search bar at the top, that’d come up with the exact app you’re looking for rather than scrolling through the entire list. Also the Apps are now displayed in Alphabetical groups, for quick selection.

Enhanced Google Now Search – Google Now Search Bar is no longer confined to the Home screen, but integrates with all the apps so that you can go for a voice search while in any app, with just a single tap rather than swiping from the bottom.

Although we knew several new features of the Next big upgrade of the Android OS, we aren’t yet clear about all the new features and what M would stand for. Like as everytime would it be the name of some dessert? or anything new this time? With the leaked images of the new Nexus devices Nexus 5 (2015), looks like Google would reveal the name of its new OS along with the release of its Nexus devices. Let see what happens!


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