Breaking News
recent

NEED TO UPDATE ANDROID M - LETS FIND OUT....

As expected Google has today announced Android 6.0 which it has codenamed ‘Android M’. Google repeated this trick last year when it unveiled Android (5.0) Lollipop, referring to it as ‘Android L’ right until launch. Far more important, however, is what Android M brings to the table – in short: what’s the difference?

Well, just like Apple’s upcoming iOS 9. Android M will also focus primarily on optimisation with speed and battery life central to the experience.

That said there is still a lot of key differences between Android M and Android Lollipop, the first of which is a potential game changer…

Read more - Google Android M Has 9 Great Secret Features

Google Now On Tap

By far the biggest news in Android M is the expanded role given to Google Now. Until this point Google Now has been a dedicated Google feature which ties together the information stored between Google apps together to provide useful contextual data as you need it. But it takes a huge step forward with Android M.


Google Now On Tap demonstrated in Gmail – Image credit Google

In M Google Now will be expanded to offer integration within third party apps and generate contextual responses from their data, Google calls this ‘Now On Tap’ and it opens up almost limitless possibilities.


A new shortcut (long press the home button) triggers Now on Tap within a compatible app and, in the example of Gmail (image above) it will pull up useful data based on the content of your email. The demo showed a discussion of the Tomorrowland movie where Now On Tap pulled up a film summary, ratings and local screening times within Gmail itself.


Another example was given during music playback where verbally asking ‘What’s his real name’ during a Skrillex track brought up the information within the player. Meanwhile an SMS conversation about a restaurant saw Now On Tap bring up its location, ratings, photos and even the menu. From the menu Now On Tap can search for images of certain dishes… and so on and so on.


Google Now On Tap demonstrated in chat – Image credit Google

Given Google’s extensive algorithms Now On Tap feels a massively powerful tool for users and a real differentiator over iOS. It also places Google and its search capabilities back at the heart of Android.

Of course for those uncomfortable with Google receiving contextual data, the option exists to fine tune what Now On Tap can see or to turn it off entirely. Funnily enough, Google Not On Tap’s timing is superb given Apple’s leaked attempts to build its own Google Now clone in iOS 9.

Android Pay


Having beaten Apple to the punch with Google Wallet some years ago, the stagnation of the service meant (ironically) the company has been left chasing the slicker Apple Pay when the service was introduced in iOS 8 last year.

The similarly named ‘Android Pay’ hopes to change that and thankfully this time around it couldn’t be simpler.


Android Pay app and Android Pay receipt – Image credit Google

Android Pay works via NFC and you simply put your phone against any touch payment equipped terminal for the transaction to go through, whereupon you receive a digital receipt. A dedicated Android Pay app can be used as a credit card locker, but no apps need to be opened for Pay to work: just touch and pay.

Read more – Galaxy S6 Vs iPhone 6 Review: Samsung Uses Apple To Beat Apple

Google claims Android Pay will work with any merchant using contactless terminals (over 700,000 in the US) and Visa, Mastercard, Amex and Discovery are all aboard along with Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T. Android Pay support will be built into the core of Android M with the ability to pay for apps in Google Play and make purchases within third party apps. Google said Groupon, Grubhub, Lift, Target and OpenTable are just some of the services already preparing apps.


Android M




Android Pay app and Android Pay receipt - Image credit Google

Interestingly Android Pay will ultimately come to both Android Lollipop and KitKat as well, but it will debut on Android M.

As for security, every Android Pay transaction will create a virtual account number so your real details are not shared with merchants. Pay will offer also a second key security layer which brings us to our next major new feature…



Biometric Security

This is another long awaited Android catch up and Android M brings system-wide biometric fingerprint support to compete with Touch ID on iOS. Until now frustrated handset makers like Samsung were forced to bolt on their own software for fingerprint sensors (as seen on the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note ranges), but that should no longer be necessary.


Android M native fingerprint support on the lockscreen – Image credit Google

As implied earlier Android Pay (like Apple Pay) will use fingerprint verification to validate transactions and Google is opening up the API for fingerprint support within apps. Google says discussions are ongoing with several banks along with the likes of Target.

Google is playing catch up here, but Android Pay looks slick.



Android Pay shown off in a prototype new Target app – Image credit Google

Support For USB 3.1 Type C

USB 3.1 Type C is arguably the most exciting new technology standard is years and support for this powerful, reversible, multifaceted standard is built into Android M.

As Type C supports up to 100W of power (USB 3.0 supports 4.5W) Google promises this will bring a new dawn of supercharging to smartphones and tablets (3-5x faster was quoted) as well as blazing fast data transfers and the ability to use the port in different ways.

For example Android M USB 3.1 Type C devices can use cables to disperse their charge to other devices (handy if one party has a fully charged phone and the other doesn’t), send crystal clear audio (lookout Apple Lightning headphones) and more. Quite frankly, you won’t want any phone without USB Type C by the end of the year.


Android M has USB Type C support which enables many new features – Image credit Google

Read more – Samsung Galaxy S6 Vs Galaxy S5 Review: Should You Upgrade?

Better Battery Life

Prior to launch Google proclaimed Android Lollipop as a far more efficient OS than predecessor Android KitKat, but the opposite turned out to be true. Android M hopes to right these wrongs, marrying the fast charging of USB Type C with far better battery life standby times.

Behind this is ‘Doze’ and it uses motion detection to learn when a phone has not been used for an extended period of time. Doze heavily cuts down on background app and data demands (but still receives real time messages, alarms and alerts) and Google boasts tests using Doze on a Nexus 9 saw its standby time double compared to running Lollipop.

So the signs look good and it is about time Google delivered here. Android’s voracious battery consumption needs addressing, though Google hasn’t said whether Android M will do anything for battery efficiency while devices are actually in use.


Doze on Android M doubles battery capacity on standby – Image credit Google

The Internet of Things

Android M wasn’t the only new platform Google announced today. It also unveiled ‘Project Brillo’ a tiny, open OS Google has built to unify the Internet of Things and its ‘Weave’ API which will be supported within Android M (and presumably older Android versions in time).

The move is smart as Google is trying to repeat the trick it pulled with Android when Apple first announced iOS (then called ‘Mobile OS X’): give Apple’s rivals an alternative unifying platform.


Google’s new IoT unified platform support – Image credit Google

Read more – Galaxy S6 Vs LG G4: Samsung’s Failed Galaxy S5 Successor

Apple is expected to launch its own IoT platform called ‘Home’ with iOS 9, but Google can create one for everyone else to try and mop up the fragmentation elsewhere. This makes a lot of sense as Apple and Google IoT standards will likely rule the roost just like Android and iOS so compatibility with both should ease headaches for IoT developers.

Then again – as Microsoft knows through its Windows Phone struggles – the key here will be adoption. A preview of Project Brillo will launch in Q3 with a Q1 2016 release.



Android M Tweaks

Aside from these major changes, Android M will also bring further welcome nips and tucks to Android Lollipop. The highlights include:

Improved App Permissions – Now neatly classified into: Location, Camera, Contacts, Phone, SMS, Calendar and Sensor, apps will only ask for permissions as they are needed, not all up front at the point of installation. This is smart as it stops users agreeing to everything in one go and makes app requests more transparent so users can choose to stop some permissions but not others.

Android M makes app permission requests contextual and bespoke for each user – Image credit Google

Chrome Custom Tabs - Chrome has long been accessible within third party apps, but it is now fully customisable within those apps so it matches their colour schemes and the UI can even be tweaked to add app-specific buttons or features. Under this customisation, however, it still remains the same core Chrome browser so you benefit from autofill, password memory and so forth.


iOS 8 vs Android 5.0 Lollipop Review: Material Difference


Verified App Linking – The constant questioning of which app you want to use should reduce with Android M. A new API will allow apps to be verified and once you give permission for certain apps to open in specific contexts (eg the IMDB app on IMDB web links) you won’t be bothered again. Simple, but smart.

Better Word Selection – Google is finally tweaking text selection and highlighting in Android and add a floating toolbar for quick commands like cut, copy and paste. It’s another catch up moment, but another very welcome one.

Android M finally adds convenient floating text toolbars – Image credit Google

Direct Share - Access to frequent contacts will be faster in Android M with direct links to them in share options.

Simplified Volume Controls - happily mute will return with Android M, but users will also be able to control the volume of different apps individually. So if you want YouTube videos and Twitter alerts to be quiet by default, but Facebook alerts and Spotify music to be loud that can now be set.


The Best of Android One – Google revealed its budget Android One range will soon receive Offline support in Chrome (via preloaded pages and compressed data on slow collections), Offline YouTube videos (which can be held on devices for up to 48 hours) and Offline Google Maps (with nearby search and turn-by-turn directions). All are expected to make it over to Android M.

Offline Google maps still brings search results and turn-by-turn directions – Image credit Google


I’ll skate over this as the big changes occurred with the launch of Material Design in Android Lollipop last year and Android M is more about polish than any radical overhaul.

Consequently what Android M demonstrated - at least in demo form – was a faster and more fluid version of Lollipop. Menus, folders and scrolling response was virtually instantaneous and while questions will remain over whether Google can deliver this on budget hardware, it looks a major step in the right direction (at least until handset makers mess it up with ugly, bloated skins).

A secret Material Design ‘Dark’ theme is also on the cards for those nostalgic for the colour scheme of Android KitKat and put off by the (at times) harsh white paint job of Lollipop.


Availability

Just like last year Google has released developer editions of Android M immediately. Be warned, these are unfinished and have plenty of bugs, but those determined to live on the cutting edge can dive in.

For the rest of us Google has given the ambiguous time frame of ‘Q3’, but based on previous years that suggests a late August/September launch to coincide with the arrival of (possibly two) new Nexus smartphones.

How long it takes other handset makers to jump on the Android M bandwagon remains to be seen, but Google will be keen to avoid the delays suffered by Lollipop. Especially after handset makers initially touted fast Lollipop adoption only to miss their targets (often by wide margins) in the months that followed.


Android M looks very similar, though a new vertical and alphabetised app drawer will alienate some – Image credit Google

Bottom Line


Much like Apple iOS 9, Android (6.0) M looks like a Google consolidation year. This is no bad thing. Having been able to poke fun at Apple for many years for its advanced functionality, in a number of ways Android has actually fallen behind iOS with the likes of Apple Pay, biometrics and performance.

Furthermore, while few complain about the abilities of Lollipop, the real issues lie with its battery consumption. So if Google can also get Android back to performing like it did with Android (4.0) KitKat while sporting the refined beautification of Lollipop most users should be happy.

Then again the most exciting thing about Android M is likely to be the devices it can inspire. Android Pay, fingerprint readers, USB Type C super-fast charging, a faster OS with lower power draw and the intelligence of Google Now On Tap has the potential to give phone and tablet makers all the tools they need to once again apply the pressure to the iPhone…
Amol Kamble

Amol Kamble

No comments:

Post a Comment


Amol kamble. Powered by Blogger.