Google unveils ‘Android M’, its brand new Android operating system

Alex Yau
June 1, 2015

Google unveiled ‘Android M’, the next version of its Android operating system launching in autumn, at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco. ‘Android M’ is the follow-up to Lollipop, the current Android operating system released last September.

What new features can we expect from the upcoming operating system? There’ll be a newly designed app drawer, which is where you store all the apps you don’t want cluttering your homescreen. In addition, there’ll be a RAM manager, which Google claims can help improve memory. Changes to Google Chrome, Google Photos and Google Now have also been made.

Google Now, Google’s personal assistant software, will get a new feature called ‘Now on Tap.’ This lets you access weather, travel and other Now content without leaving any apps.

The update will add support for fingerprint scanners. Samsung and Apple devices already include fingerprint technology, but Android M will allow you to use it in the Google Play store if you have a compatible device with fingerprint technology.

Another new feature is Doze which helps improve battery life when the phone is in standby mode. It does this by using motion detectors to recognise when the Android Device hasn’t been used for a certain amount of time. Google said it tested two Nexus 9 devices, one running Android M and one running Android Lollipop. The Nexus 9 running Android M lasted twice as long in standby mode.

What does ‘Android M’ stand for?

Google didn’t reveal what ‘M’ stands for, but it’s likely to follow previous naming trends and be named after a sweet.

Other Android M updates

Also included is Android Pay, Google’s new mobile payment system. This lets Android users in the United States use their phone as a credit card in over 700,000 stores. American Express, Visa, Mastercard and Discover are all supported. Google didn’t reveal whether this feature will be rolled out in the UK.

App permissions will also have changes.

“We’re greatly simplifying app permissions,” said Google’s Dave Burke. “Apps will now ask you for permissions the first time you try to use a feature, instead of asking during app installation.”

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