During its I/O developer conference held in the city of San Francisco, Google officially revealed the developer preview of the latest version of its Android mobile operating system. Dubbed Android M for now (its full name will eventually be unveiled upon its wide release some time this fall), this newest iteration of the world's most popular smartphone OS comes with a number of new features.
Some of the highlighted new features include the following:
Android Pay. This is Google's answer to Apple Pay. And the search giant is collaborating with banking entities like American Express, Discover, Visa, MasterCard, as well as other partners like Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and T-Mobile.
Google Now On Tap. This is a version of Google Now which provides users with more data about the things they are looking at in any Android mobile app running on a smartphone or tablet. Say you are chatting with a friend about Game of Thrones -- by holding the home button on your device, Google will give you more info about the cast and crew, related apps, show schedules, etc.
Permissions for apps. Before, apps had to ask permission from users in order to access contacts list, files, or photos. But with Android M, Google has made the permissions process more simplified and secure by asking for all permissions via single dialog when installing the app for the first time.
Fingerprint scanner support at OS level. It was high time Google created an OS-wide standard for fingerprint scanning, and now, the tech giant finally has something to show.
Doze mode. This new battery saving mode lets the user's device sleep when not in use (e.g. when the device is inside the pocket, left on the table. According to Google, this mode can help save the battery life of Nexus devices by as much as 50 percent.
Compared to its predecessor Android Lollipop, Android M notably does not come with any major new enhancements in terms of design. Android Lollipop made some waves upon its release when it introduced Material Design, an encompassing language that aimed to provide a better overall experience for users by optimizing visuals, functionality, and interactivity inside the Android environment. But with Android M, the improvements may be more subtle. Or it is possible that Google is just not in a hurry to make an overhaul again. After all, there are still loads of developers who have not migrated their apps over to Android Lollipop even until now.
As mentioned earlier, the scheduled wide release for Android M is some time in fall of this year.
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