There were a lot of announcements that were made during the Google I/O 2015 keynote. From a preview of the next version of Android to the Internet of Things and a Google Cardboard update.
There is a whole bunch of features that are in Android M. The new update will focus on bug fixes and other behind-the-scenes improvements. This should help Android run more smoothly.
Android M still retains the Material Design of last year’s update but it will just be more stable.
One of the bigger changes is with app permissions. Instead of asking you for a list of permissions when you first install an app, you will now have more control over what an app can and cannot access.
Another new notable feature in Android M is Google Now on Tap. Essentially it gives you Google Now anywhere and everywhere. You can now access your Google Now cards from which ever app with just a tap and you won’t have to leave the app you are in.
Android M also brings fingerprint sensor support so then you can unlock your device or even pay with your device.
This leads into the announcement of Android Pay. Essentially you’ll be able to use your Android phone in places that use tap-to-pay. Android Pay will work with devices that have NFC built-in (which is most devices nowadays).
Just like last year, Google release the developer preview of the latest version of Android. It is available for the Nexus 5, 6, 9 and Player.
Android M hasn’t been given an official name yet but some people are guessing that it could be called Android Marshmallow or Milkshake when the final release comes out in the fall.
Also here is a list of all the new features in Android M:
- Work Contacts in personal contexts
- Hotspot 2.0 R1
- VPN apps in settings
- Flex Storage
- Duplex Printing
- App Standy
- Seamless certificate installation for Enterprise
- Undo/Redo keyboard shortcuts
- Do not Disturb automatic rules
- Data Usage API for work profiles
- Material design support library
- Text selection actions
- Improved text hyphenation & justification
- Bluetooth SAP
- Easy word selection and Floating clipboard toolbar
- Android Pay
- Voice Interation service
- USB Type C charging
- App link verification
- Battery historian v2 BT 4.2
- Simplified volume controls
- Improved Bluetooth low energy scanning
- Corporate owned single use device support
- Do not disturb quick setting and repeat caller prioritization
- Improved trusted face reliability
- Fingerprint sensor support
- Improved text layout performance
- Alphabetic app list with search
- Unified Google settings and device settings
- Work status notification
- MIDI support
- 5GHz Portable Wi-Fi hotspot
- Bluetooth connectivity for device provisioning
- Seven additional languages
- Power improvements in Wi-Fi scanning
- Data binding support library Beta
- Setups wizard: IMAP sign-in
- Delegated certificatie installation
- Secure token strage APIs
- Google Now Launcher app suggestions
- New runtime permissions
- Stylus support UI toolkit performance improvements
- Chrome custom tabs
- Auto backup for Apps
- Unified app settings view UI toolkit
- Contextual assist framework
- Enterprise factory reset protection
- Direct Share
Google brought big changes to how their Photos app work. First of all, it has kind-of been separated from Google+. The next thing is that Google is offering you unlimited photo and video storage for life for free (yes, free). And it will store them at a high quality. It can store photos that are up to 16 megapixels and video that it up to 1080p.
In addition to the free unlimited storage, Google Photos has become much smarter in how it can organize your photos. You can easily see photos of just certain people to an event or place that you went (trust me, it sounds cooler than how I am describing it).
You can also easily search through those photos using keywords and it will recognize photos that contain your search query. There is also the ability to automatically backup your photos from any of your devices and you can view your photos by when they were taken (which can become helpful for throwback thursday posts).
The Google Photos app is now available on the web (visit photos.google.com), iOS and as an update on Android.
Google is getting into the Internet of Things (IoT for short). Essentially that means making our homes, smarter. Brillo is using a special version of Android to help make this happen.
This is a platform that both developers and consumers can easily jump on board with. A developer preview is going to be released in Q3 2015 while the first products that are compatible with Brillo will be released by Q4 2015.
Google Cardboard update
Since it’s unveiling last year at Google I/O, Google has announced a new version of Google Cardboard that can work with phones that are up to 6 inches. In addition to that, Google Cardboard is now available on iOS, which brings it to millions of more people.
Google also announced, Expeditions, which is tailored towards education. Students can go on a field trip anywhere in the world or anywhere in the universe. All you will need is a phone and the new Google Cardboard viewers.
Offline navigation in Google Maps
Google Maps has had the option to download offline maps for a while now but now its time to add in local search and voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation to that.
Essentially the Google Maps app will still work, as if it was still online. This will be especially helpful in places where you won’t have access to a data connection.
These features will be available later this year.