Google has taken the wraps off the latest Android version, the Android M and it is now available for developer preview devices. Google has focused on improving the core user experience of Android with Android M. Have a look at the detailed Android M changelog that has compilation of changes from various sources.
Android M: Detailed Changelog
Easy text selection & floating clipboard toolbar:
Text selection is now improved. Whenever you select text a floating window appears and features buttons with ‘cut’, ‘copy’, and ‘paste’ written. Word selection is now also improved as you can select jumping word by word, or character by character.
Simplified volume controls:
Volume controls are now again with separate control for ringer volume, alarm volume, and media volume.
Google is giving users control of app permissions in the M release. Apps can trigger requests for permissions at runtime, in the right context, and users can choose whether to grant the permission. Making permission requests right when they’re needed means users can get up and running in your app faster. Also, users have easy access to manage all their app permissions in settings. On M, as a developer, you should design your app to prompt for permissions in context and account for permissions that don’t get granted. As more devices upgrade to M, app permission behavior will be a critical development flow to test.
Google has made it easier to link between apps. Android has always allowed apps to register to natively handle URLs. Now you can add an autoVerify attribute to your app manifest so that users can be linked deep into your native app without any disambiguation prompt. App links, along with App Indexing for Google search, make it easier for users to discover and re-engage with your app.
Google is making Android devices smarter about managing power through a new feature called Doze. With M, Android uses significant motion detection to learn if a device has been left unattended for a while. In this state, Android will exponentially back off background activity, trading off a little bit of app freshness for longer battery life. Consider how this may affect your app; for instance, if you’re building a chat app, you may want to make use of high priority messages to wake your app when the device is dozing.
Now on tap:
Google has made it even easier for Android users to get assistance with Now on tap — whenever they need it, wherever they are on their device. For example, if your friend texts you about dinner at a new restaurant, without leaving the app, you can ask Google Now for help. Using just that context, Google can find menus, reviews, help you book a table, navigate there, and deep link you into relevant apps. As a developer, you can implement App Indexing for Google search to let users discover and re-engage with your app through Now on tap.
Auto Backup for Apps:
The system now performs automatic full data backup and restore for apps. This behavior is enabled by default for apps targeting M Preview; you do not need to add any additional code. If users delete their Google accounts, their backup data is deleted as well. To learn how this feature works and how to configure what to back up on the file system, see Auto Backup for Apps.
Android M offers new APIs to let you authenticate users by using their fingerprint scans on supported devices, and check how recently the user was last authenticated using a device unlocking mechanism (such as a lockscreen password). Use these APIs in conjunction with the Android Keystore system.
Android M provides you with APIs to make sharing intuitive and quick for users. You can now define direct share targets that launch a specific activity in your app. These direct share targets are exposed to users via the Share menu. This feature allows users to share content to targets, such as contacts, within other apps. For example, the direct share target might launch an activity in another social network app, which lets the user share content directly to a specific friend or community in that app.
Bluetooth Stylus Support:
Android M provides improved support for user input using a Bluetooth stylus. Users can pair and connect a compatible Bluetooth stylus with their phone or tablet. While connected, position information from the touch screen is fused with pressure and button information from the stylus to provide a greater range of expression than with the touch screen alone.
Android M offers a new way for users to engage with your apps through an assistant. To use this feature, the user must enable the assistant to use the current context. Once enabled, the user can summon the assistant within any app, by long-pressing on the Home button.
Android M provides a new voice interaction API which, together with Voice Actions, allows you to build conversational voice experiences into your apps.
Android M adds enhancements to audio processing on Android, including support for the MIDI protocol
There may be more changes that Android M brings with itself and we will keep this article updated as we come to know more.
Android M Release date (schedule):
Android M will see the public release during Q3 2015. Given below is the dev preview schedule.
- Preview 1 (initial Preview release, late May),
- Preview 2 (late June/early July), and
- Preview 3 (near final, late July)
Android M, how to join developer preview:
In case you want to test the Android M developer preview you should own one of the below devices. Below is a list of eligible devices and corresponding system images.
- Nexus 5 (GSM/LTE) “hammerhead” device system image
- Nexus 6 “shamu” device system image
- Nexus 9 (Wi-Fi) “volantis” device system image
- Nexus Player (Android TV) “fugu” device system image
Here is how to join the Android developer preview program.
- Follow the flashing instructions to flash the latest M developer preview system image for Nexus 5, 6, 9, and Player. Once you’ve flashed your development device, Preview updates will be delivered through over-the-air (OTA) uhttp://www.thegadgetox.net/wp-admin/post-new.phppdates.
- Join the Android M Developer Community to get the latest news and connect with other developers working with the new platform.