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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Direct Share Can Provide Share Links To Specific Contacts Or Conversations Inside Apps

Android's share menu has always been useful and extensible, but Android M will make it even more handy with the addition of direct share. This is a set of APIs that will let developers specify sharing targets deeper inside their apps. So instead of sharing that photo to Hangouts, for example, you might be able to share it to a specific contact in Hangouts in a single tap.


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[Android M Feature Spotlight] App Standby Forces Individual Unused Apps To Hibernate To Save Power

We've already talked about Doze in Android M a few times. That's a system-wide state that keeps your phone or tablet in deep sleep when it's not being used. App Standby is a distinct feature that works to keep individual unused apps from gobbling up power in the background. Depending on how many apps you install on your phone, this could be a bigger deal than Doze.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] App Info Revamped To Include Granular Permissions, More Notification Settings, Data Usage History, And More

The app info screens in Android M have become a repository, of sorts, for many of the cool new features brought to the latest OS. In previous versions of Android, I rarely found myself in need of going to an individual app's info screen. When I did, the actions I might have executed there were very limited. I don't know that Google necessarily wants you spending more time there in M, but they certainly built quite a bit more function into this interface.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] This Is Exactly How Doze Reduces Battery Drain

Doze is one of the more interesting features of Android M, and also potentially huge for the platform. Google has said again and again that the new version of Android would improve battery life, but they might have actually done it this time. Doze puts apps into deep sleep when the device isn't in use to save power, and Google's developer docs explain exactly how this will work.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] New Android Recovery Lets You Apply Updates From SD Card, View Recovery Logs, And Mount /System

Chances are that if you're in the recovery interface of your phone, it's because you broke something, need to force an update, and you're just fiddling with things. The stock recovery doesn't have a ton of options, which is why alternatives like ClockworkMod and TWRP exist. Still, the stock recovery in Android M is a little more capable than before.

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Android M Has An Easter Egg, And It's ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Google likes jokes, but it has confined most of the Android gags to one specific place. When you open the secret version logo, you can long press to see what Google has cooked up for an Easter egg. In KitKat it was an interactive mosaic of platform logos, in Lollipop it was a Flappy Bird clone, and in the M preview it's a shrug emoticon.

To see the shrug for yourself, you have to go into About Phone (or tablet) and tap a few times on the Android version line, which just says M right now.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Deep Linking Without Selector Prompts Can Be Changed Or Removed By Users On A Per-App Basis

We reported yesterday on Google's announcement that Android M would support deep links that skip the sometimes-annoying app selector prompt. Details were scarce at the time and many were worried that this would shut out third party apps or make it hard to view content with a browser when it might be more appropriate.

Screenshot_20150528-145229 Screenshot_20150528-153957

If you go to an app from the list within the "apps" section of the system settings, you will see something like the first picture. You can set defaults and decide whether that app should open its own links without asking. If you go to the advanced area instead of selecting an app, you will see the second screenshot.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] The New Share Menu Is Simplified, Shows Many More Apps At Once Instead Of One Option Per Line

For many, this one falls into the category of "fixing problems you didn't know you had." If you have a lot of apps installed, though, you probably have already been frustrated by the share menus on previous Android versions. God forbid the app you want falls too low in the alphabet, because you will be scrolling like the dickens to share with it. Android developers clearly recognized that they were really wasting some space, so the Android M version is a lot more efficient.

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Left and middle: the old share menu Right: the new one

If you look closely, you'll notice that you can actually see more share options in the compact version of the new menu than you could in the fully expanded view of the old one.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Native Bluetooth Stylus Support Is Here

Wireless styli have generally been relegated to the Windows and iOS world, but now that more and more connected accessories are using Bluetooth, there are fewer reasons than ever for tools like these not to be universal. With Android "M," Google is introducing native support for Bluetooth styluses. Developers are, of course, getting APIs to interact with these devices, and that's where we're getting our information - the API overview for M.

Pressure sensitivity and accuracy make connected styluses much better than their capacitive cousins, and for the creative types out there, full cross-platform compatibility should end up making the product ecosystem as a whole better.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] The Notification Shade Will Now Drop Down Closer To Where You Touch On Tablets

There was a lot of backlash when Google did away with the dual notification/quick settings trays on large screen devices (which happened with Lollipop). Now it looks like the company is taking a slightly different approach with the notification shade on tablets - in the M release it has three different positions (left, center, right) and will drop down closest to wherever you actually swipe.

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According to Liam, who installed M on his Nexus 9, this is actually kind of jarring since there's no visual indicator as to where the shade will actually show up. Sure, there are some rough guidelines here, but those are fairly extreme.

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