Google has recently announced Android M, the version 6.0 in the long list of Android OS updates, which are named after a variety of sweets. Central to the Android M experience is speed as well as battery life, with primary focus on optimization. Google Lollipop (Android 5.0) was called Android L right until launch last year. In a short span, Google has launched Android M, so let us examine the difference between Android M and Android L right away.
Look and Feel
When it comes to look and feel, things are pretty much the same, but Android L was concerned with interface overhaul, while Android M pretty much keeps the material design. Hence, there are no major design changes with Google M, but Google’s main intent seems to be focusing on streamlining the interface as well as making it easier for users to interact with it.
The lock screen and the app drawer have changed, while there are a couple of tweaks and volume control improvements. When it comes to the lock screen, the shortcut now points to ‘Google Now’ instead of pointing to the Phone App. When it comes to the lock screen, the only thing that seems to have changed is the shortcut which instead of pointing to the phone app, now is for quick access to Google now.
The App Drawer has changed significantly. The old horizontal tabs are missing, and instead have been replaced by a vertical list of all the apps that exist on the device. This list is singular and makes navigation easy with letter indicators on the left. Additional changes include the addition of a dedicated ‘Favorite’s Dock’ on the very top. With the current build of Android M, this seems to be non-customizable, but a search function has been added so that users can search for the apps in the app drawer, in case they don’t want to search for the apps manually.
Additional category called “Google” contains all the options that include smart lock passwords, ad preferences, location, search and now, and others. One of the long standing problems with Android Lollipop has been improved in Android M. In Android M, when users are at their home screen, they can tweak the volume for media as well as notifications, which was previously not possible with Android L.
The trouble that currently exists with app permissions and Android L is that users needed to agree to all of them, or the app wouldn’t get installed. However, beginning from Android M, app permissions are being re-imagined. Here, the user, instead of agreeing to a whole set of permissions, now can permit the app to access only a specific part of their system. The app asks permission not upon installation, but at the time it is accessed first. Hence, there is much more control over an app’s behavior than what would happen in the past.
Now Android M allows easier app permission control. Users are now in control, as they can now revoke permissions easily. For example, if they don’t want an app to access their phone’s microphone, they can revoke the permissions easily.
Now on Tap
Unlike in Android L, Google Now, which was a dedicated Google Feature, now takes a huge step forward. Google Now is a feature which ties together the information stored between Google Apps together so that useful contextual data can be provided as the user needs it.
However, in Android M, this feature is being expanded, so that it can offer integration within third-party apps, and even contextual data can be generated from their data. This feature is called ‘Now On Tap’; and it brings forth almost limitless possibilities. Currently, the build preview does not completely include this functionality, however it can be explained as it will be included sometime in the future. Users can summon Google ‘Now on Tap’ by long pressing the home key, which will then analyze what users are looking at and provide suggestions and assistance.
The Dozing Feature
Dozing is a power saving feature that is designed to improve the standby time of the device. This special mode accesses the sensors of the Android mobile phone in order to determine whether it’s been left alone on a table or hasn’t moved in a while and this mode puts the device in a sleep state that is deeper than the conventional standby state available on Android L. However, important notifications will be able to reach their phone, nevertheless conserving battery life.
Also, USB Type C has been introduced, which sets the Android device in ‘Power Bank’ mode. This means that it is possible to transfer the charge from say, a tablet to their phone.
Native fingerprint scanning support & Android Pay
Unlike in Android L, Google M includes mobile payments as well as native fingerprint scanning support. This means that the finger print functionality is being built into the core, so there is no need for the manufacturers to program fingerprint scanners themselves. This means that just the fingerprint scanners need to be acquired by the handset makers and perform a few simple steps in enabling the finger print scanning feature for customers.
Additionally, a new service has been introduced, which is called Android Pay. This service, which is alike Samsung Pay and Apple Pay, is being introduced in a determined way by Google this time.
Thus, with Android Lollipop, if Google introduced a major design and looks overhaul, with Android M, the company is building an additional momentum that it unleashed with Android L. With the impressive functionality that it has launched with Android M, it hopes to get there.
The frank opinion is that Google is aggressively improving and expanding its mobile OS capabilities. Hence, what is being foreseen is not a complacent Google, but an aggressive company that is adding some healthy features to gain the #1 position in the mobile space. With the introduction of Android M, Google is going for the top of the market position, and lets all hope that Google is able to deliver the best of performance when it comes to Android M.
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