Android M is the latest version of Android from Google which focuses on improving overall user experience with Android. Comes with several new features like Now on Tap – personal assistant for Android devices, new app permissions, dedicated support for fingerprint scanner to make payments, and new battery saving features.
Here is a round–up of the latest features in Android M.
Personal assistance with Google Now on Tap
Using the functionality behind Google Now, Google can now crawl your apps to obtain and provide information you need instantly with a single long tap.
How Now on Tap Works
While inside an app, you can tap and hold the home button and Google Now will scan the content you are viewing, look for information and give you more information in return – like social pages of a celebrity, event, or location. Now on Tap returns all this information via a little popup on the bottom of your device’s screen.
Lets say someone sends you an event information via email, with Now on Tap you can long press on the home button and Now on Tap will help you easily add that information to your calendar, information about the event like date, time, and location.
According to Google, this feature will be available in English initially but support for other languages will be added in the future (more on this later).
More control with App Permissions
Before, Android versions had no option to select specific app permissions you want to grant to an app but now with Android M, app permissions are requested the first time you try to use the feature, not during installation like before.
App Permissions are now categorized into eight categories: Location, Camera, Microphone, Contacts, Phone, SMS, Calendar, and Sensor.
With new app permissions, things like camera, location, and microphone can be separately permitted to an app.
Lets say you are making a call with Messenger for the first time. Messenger will prompt with request for permission to use your device’s microphone, which you would need to allow to make a voice call but you don’t need to allow Messenger to use your camera or any other features if you think Messenger don’t need them.
You can modify all the permissions you have granted in Settings, which gives you more control over your device and privacy.
Security with Fingerprint scanner
With Android M, Google adds dedicated support for fingerprint scanners found in Android devices. With this feature you can now use your device’s fingerprint scanner to unlock your device, make payments with Android Pay, or log into apps.
Save battery with Doze and App Standby
Doze is the new battery life saving feature added to Android M which can detect if your device is on idle mode and sends your device into deep sleep mode, which according to Google can increase stand-by time up to 30%.
With App Standby, Android M can put your rarely used apps into reduced activity state, which is basically like reducing background app refresh for your apps.
Seamless payments with Android Pay
Android Pay is Google’s new addition to mobile payments and its answer to Apple Pay, which will allow Android users to make quick mobile payments at terminals that support NFC – Near Field Communication.
Android Pay will support all major credit cards like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
Faster Web experience with Chrome Custom Tabs
This is more of a developer feature though regular users will be able to distinguish it from the speed it provides when going from an app to the web.
With Chrome Custom Tabs developers can allow apps open customized Chrome windows on top of the app instead of launching the Chrome browser separately, which provides seamless user experience and much better speed.
Chrome Custom Tabs support automatic sign–in, saved passwords, and features like autofill. Additionally Custom tabs developers no longer need to build there own web browsers.
Android becomes much smarter with App Links
Remember when you try to open an image and your Android device asks you which app to use to open your image then you would have to choose Gallery or other photo app to view your image.
Android M is getting more awareness of the content and can now automatically open selected content with appropriate apps.
With Android M, it is now much easier to link from one app to another, lets say you click a Twitter link from your Gmail it will now automatically bring you to the Twitter app instead of opening Twitter website in a web browser.
Keep apps safe with Auto Backup and Restore for Apps
This feature works with Google Drive to automatically backup your app data and settings to the cloud, these backups run at most once per day when your device is idle, connected to WiFi and charging. If in case something goes wrong with your device or you delete an app you can easily reinstate the lost settings and data with Auto Backup and Restore.
Small yet meaningful features added to Android M
Rotating Home screen
This feature came a little bit late to Android compared to iOS but with Android M, when you rotate your device to landscape mode, the app icons on the home screen rotate as well giving you a fully useful landscape mode.
Option to choose buttons in Status Bar
Now you have the option to choose buttons that you want to see on the status bar. With Android M, you will be able to remove buttons that you don’t use much.
Lets say you don’t want Hotspot button in your device’s status bar, now you can remove that by turning the toggle switch to off for the Hotspot button, same goes with other buttons which you rarely use.
Translate text within apps
Though this feature requires Google Translate app installed on your device, users will be able to translate in 90 languages right within apps, just select the text you want to translate then the option to translate will appear automatically.