Today is the kickoff of the Google IO15 event, and while they’ve announced a number of different things, one of the major ones is the announcement of Android M and releasing a Developer Preview for those of you with a Google Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, or Nexus Player.
The company said at its I/O conference today that “the central theme of M is on improving the core user experience of Android”. Google’s Dave Burke said that the firm has “made a conscious decision to focus on quality end-to-end”. Google will be altering its approach to app permissions, “giving users meaningful control over the data they care about.” One key element of this will be a streamlined set of app permissions, to make it easier for users to approve or deny access to data and device features. Apps will now ask for permissions the first time they’re opened, rather than during installation. Users will also be able to revoke or add permissions after an app has been installed.
The company is also improving app linking, making it easier for devs to automatically refer a web link to an app, rather than prompting the user to select between opening a link in app or in the browser.
With Android Pay improvements, users will now be able to use their devices to make payments online and in stores, and the company says that the new initiative is “focused on simplicity, security and choice.” Users will also be able to make a payment via NFC without even having to open an app. Android Pay works with devices from Android 4.4 KitKat onwards, but Google says that it’s getting even better in the M release, thanks to features like integrated fingerprint reader support on the platform. Fingerprints can also be used to unlock devices in Android M.
Google is also improving power management in Android M, with a new feature called ‘Doze’, which enables devices to ‘know’ – through motion detection – when a device has been inactive for a long period of time, and reduces app background activity to extend battery life. Burke said with this feature enabled, battery life can last up to twice as long.
The Developer Preview version will be available today while the final retail release and upgrade won’t be released until the 3rd quarter of 2015.