Android M is the next version of Android, Developer Preview available Today!
Google I/O 2015 is here and during the keynote, Sundar Pichai officially announced Android M Developer preview which is out now for developers to test on the Nexus 5, 6, 9 and Player. Similar to last year with the L Developer preview, Google is releasing the new operating system to developers and a formal consumer focused launch will take place in the Fall right before the holiday season.
Likewise, we're still not entirely sure what 'M' stands for but Google says that this new version of Android comes with a bunch of new features but most of them focus on polishing the core experience of Android.
As to what's new in Android M, the highlights include improved app permissions which works well with messaging apps which use hardware from your phone. Also, Google is formally announcing Android Pay which works with Android Lollipop and above devices but Android M will enhance the Android Pay experience with features spanning to hardware capabilities like a fingerprint scanner.
Besides that, Google is also fixing two core Android problems from the past which is app linking and app browsers. With app linking, developers will be able to set the default redirect for applications so that users will not need to fiddle with the old android app chooser. This means that when implemented, you will be automatically redirected to the instagram app when you click a link on twitter.
App browsers in the other hand is lead by a feature called Chrome Custom Tabs which like it's name suggest will create a custom chrome tab for a specific application. Developers will need to rework their application to enable this feature and when enabled, a web link in the app will instantly open the link on a custom version of Chrome. The benefits of this is that performance will be better and users will enjoy the Chrome specific features like password syncing.
More improvements include optimizations for battery, charging and also managing background tasks. These optimizations will be apparent on devices running Android M and will greatly improve the overall experience towards the device compared to it running Lollipop. Also with Android M, Google is introducing native USB-C support for Android devices which means that the upcoming Nexus devices will come with this new port.
Overall, that's about it for Android M at the moment and developers will be able to get their hands off the Android M developer preview today to test out. As for normal users, expect to see the update available during the Fall. Check out the images below to see what we're working with here