What to Expect from Android M
It seems like just yesterday when we were telling you all you needed to know about the forthcoming Android Lollipop, and now here we are talking about Android M. Yes, it’s that time already, and Android’s new operating system is looking at a Q3 launch, which most probably means that come September we can expect updates to start rolling to phones. What do we have to look forward to from the new Android? Well, just like with any update there should be enhanced security and stability, as well as (hopefully) a lighter operating system that takes less CPU power to run. However, we should be getting a bunch of new features too!
What’s In a Name?
As you probably already know, Android are in the habit of naming their operating system versions after sweets. So, we’ve had Gingerbread, Icecream, Jellybean, Kitkat, Lollipop, and… Well, we actually don’t know yet. Android aren’t going to tell us until the release date, apparently (unless someone leaks the info before then). We do know that the working name has been Android Macadamia Nut Cookie, but that seems a little long for a release name. Marshmallow? Marzipan? Your guess is as good as ours…
Money, Money, Money
Since the launch of Apple Pay, Android have been scrambling to keep up with a digital payment system, and Android Pay is the result. Everyone with Android Kitkat and above are going to be able to use Android Pay for their cashless buying needs, but only with Android M will certain features be enabled. Most importantly this will be the ability to use Android Pay to pay for stuff inside third party apps, rather than only through Google apps…
Another much anticipated feature from Android M is what’s being called Doze. In an effort to improve battery life on phones, Android have come up with a neat little idea. Using the motion sensors that nearly all modern mobiles have, Android will be able to detect when a phone hasn’t moved for a while (even holding your phone steady in your hand is enough to trigger the sensors). After a set amount of time, your phone will switch to Doze mode, which is like a heavier version of sleep. Sinking down that extra level should help save up some battery power if you’re not constantly using your mobile, and alarms and other notifications should still come through.
Fingerprint scanning is nothing new at this point, and as well as the top end iPhones, flagship Androids (like the Samsung Galaxy S6) are also coming equipped with print scanners. Android M is opening up that tech to developers though, allowing them to build fingerprint scanning into apps. That means that rather than just using your fingerprint to secure your phone itself, you’ll be able to use it in other apps too. Frequently forget your Facebook, email, and Skype passwords? Hypothetically, you should be able to sign in with a fingerprint instead. No word yet on whether any of the big name apps have signed up for this feature, but we’re sure at least some will.
As you may be beginning to notice, a bunch of Android M’s new features involve integrating an ability into third party apps, and voice recognition is the next software to get the treatment. Android M is going to allow developers to integrate voice recognition into apps, and that has a whole lot of potential. Basically, this should mean that your apps can talk to you and you can talk back. Very sci fi. This is looking to be the future of mobile use, however, particularly for apps, and the ability to interact with an app without having to use your hands is not only cool, it’s also convenient…
If you’re already a hardcore Android user, you’re probably using Google Now, Google’s integrated assistant programme. What Android M is bringing to Now is a far batter functionality called Now on Tap. This will allow you to use Google Now from anywhere on your Android device, rather than needing to open up the Google Now app from your home screen. This certainly sounds far more convenient, and a much better way of doing things. Get an SMS inviting you to a movie? Then you can check out cinema times through Now on Tap without leaving your SMS programme, before typing in your response. Neat, right?
Rumour has it that Android M is also going to be supporting USB-C to give you faster charging times. You’ll need a device that accepts a USB-C charging cable, of course, but after that you should get a full battery three to five times faster than with a traditional USB charger. Plus, USB-C chargers are reversible, meaning it doesn’t matter which way round you plug them in, so no more fussing around trying to plug your charger in in the dark…
There’s a whole bunch of other stuff going on in Android M, and we know this because developer versions have already been released to allow developers to get to work on apps and compatibility for the new operating system. Probably the thing that’s going to have the biggest impact on users is a new flow system. Under older Android versions, opening up your app drawer meant scrolling horizontally through pages of icons. It looks like with Android M you’re going to be scrolling vertically, and that apps will be stored in alphabetical order. This really does make more sense, and should be a nice change.
Alrighty, that’s all we can tell you right now about Android M, and do remember that all this stuff is rumour, nothing’s guaranteed until actual launch! But if Android M can do even half the things it’s being reported that it can do, it’s going to be a pretty awesome update.