Google has made fingerprint scanner support in Android official, but of course we knew that was coming. The Nexus 6 was supposed to have a fingerprint reader, but now future Android devices will be able to reap the benefits of native biometrics. This will be used for accessing the device, of course, but that's not all.
Google Now is based on getting you data that matches your context—your location, time of day, what you've been searching for, and so on. A new feature of Google Now in Android M called "On Tap" will take that a step further by using the context of what you're doing on the phone to find answers.
While we've been following this rumor for months now, Google made Android Pay official during today's keynote. We first heard the name back in February, and knew something was coming ever since they acquired the intellectual property of mobile payment competitor Isis, an agreement that would also make Wallet a pre-installed app on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon phones. Though it was announced as part of Android M, it will work on KitKat and newer versions.
Functions new to Android Pay include the ability to tap to pay within apps. For apps that use the Pay API, you will only have to click "Buy with Android Pay" and leave the arduous typing of numbers and addresses to the automated system.
Just as expected, Google has taken the wraps off the latest iteration of Android at Google I/O. So far all we have with regard to the name is the placeholder "Android M." Will that be Marshmallow? Marzipan? M&M? Magneto? We don't know, but we do know what sort of features it will bring. There are six tentpoles in Android M.
Mobile electronics use power. And as the software becomes more complex, they use more and more of it. At Google I/O 2015, the company has announced an improvement on the ultra low-power mode found in Lollipop. They're calling it "Doze," for obvious reasons, and it will debut in the M release of Android scheduled to go into a developer preview soon. It should debut in public builds later this year.
Specifics on the improvements made to the low-power mode are scarce, but apparently they are extensive enough for some dramatic power savings. According to the I/O presenter, a Nexus 9 equipped with an Android M developer preview build saw nearly two times the battery life in low power mode versus the same hardware running Android Lollipop.
The Android M Developer Preview was just announced at Google I/O during the keynote this morning. Android "M" will focus on "quality end-to-end," with a strong emphasis on improving the user experience, according to Dave Burke.
Supported devices include the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and Nexus Player. M includes brand-new features like granular app permissions (which is huge on its own), new app linking APIs, doze mode for enhanced battery life, enhanced fingerprint support (including Android Pay), and a whole lot more.
Google has now detailed some of the ins and outs of the preview, so we've got more information.
At the Google I/O 2015 keynote address, Google is moving fluidly between broad Android improvements for the upcoming M preview build and more specific improvements for the company's apps and APIs. One of the first reveals was for a new Chrome feature, Chrome Custom Tabs. This is basically a more robust alternative to embedding a web view in an app, adding a minimal and customized window of Google Chrome on top of the active app.
A while back, Apple got to announce exclusive access to HBO's standalone application called Now that lets users watch content without a pre-existing subscription to the service. Of course we were all jealous, but today, that jealousy ends. Sundar Pichai just announced at Google I/O 2015 that HBO Now will be available on Android "across all devices."
That last bit is pretty important, because that means Android phones, tablets, and Android TV - just like how the service was released for Apple devices.
Unfortunately, there's no word as to when Now will hit the Store (but I would look for it soon).
As we expected, Android M will have a revamped permission system. No longer will apps ask for a bunch of permissions at installation time. Instead, apps will ask for important permissions the first time they need them. You can also change permission settings via an AppOps-like interface.