Google unveiled the new Android M version of its mobile operating system at its I/O conference held in San Francisco yesterday.
Even though the Android Lollipop OS is relatively new, the Android M launch signals Google's intent to bring in a plethora of quick updates to maintain its leadership in the smartphone markets.
Apart from the very popular iOS OS, Android's domination has recently been threatened by several phonemakers who have developed or are in the process of developing their own ecosystems for future smartphones. Samsung, the world's largest smartphone maker in terms of sales and revenues, has introduced its new Tizen mobile operating system. Tizen debuted with the Samsung Gear and the Gear 2 Neo followed by the Samsung Z smartphone which was later launched in Russia.
While the developer edition of the new Android M has been released, the final consumer version will be released before the end of the year.
Apart from launching a flurry of new features, Google's Sundar Pichai claimed that the role of Android M is also to improve the overall stability and usability of the Android platform.
Here are a few notable features that Android M will come with when it is released:
When downloading apps in the Android M setup, you will no longer need to fill in the range of permissions that the app may require later to perform its functions. For example, permissions like location services and microphone will only be required during the actual functioning and not when the app is being installed.
Custom tabs in Chrome
A significant update made to the Chrome mobile browser will see the browser embed itself within apps so that when you click on a link within an app, the new page will open in the custom tabs within the app itself rather than opening separately in the Chrome browser.
The embedded custom apps will carry the looks and feel of the mother app to ensure continuity in user experience.
The new Android Pay, Google's response to Apple Pay, comes with a partnership with Visa which will allow Visa cardholders to be able to make contactless in-store payments directly from their Android phones without having to swipe their cards every time they make a purchase. This will be made possible through an integration of Android Pay’s secure APIs with Google’s existing Host Card Emulation (HCE) functionality.
Android Pay will work in over 7,00,000 NFC terminals across United States and will allow users to store credit card details, loyalty card details and other sensitive information in their Android smartphones.
Like in iPhones, the Android M platform will let you unlock your Android phones through a fingerprint sensor. The sensor will also enable you to complete transactions via Android Pay as well as make purchases on Google Play.