Google Android M has just launched in beta form and is available for Nexus 5, 6 and 9 devices, in case you don’t mind spending some time to flash your devices via USB and PC. The official version is expected in Q3 2015, at least for Nexus devices.
Google SVP Sundar Pichai said:
"Android M means back to basics for Google and "We've really focused on polish and quality; we've literally solved thousands of bugs."
Android M will include better permissions, breaking them down into location, camera and contact location. It got really crazy with app permissions that are often few pages long. For example, Whatsapp will notify you that the app wants to use a microphone, giving a you much clear picture what is going on with your phone. You will be able to hide your photos or contacts from companies such as Facebook or Google, but we are sure that they already know more about you then your own mother.
Google will include Android Pay (Insert Apple Pay joke here. Ed.) and this feature will let you buy things at NFC equipped retailers with your phones. More than 700,000 retail locations in the US will support it, and Android Pay will work with Visa, MasterCard, AmEx and Discover cards. The feature is supported on AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile carriers. A picture of Google's own website revealed that the Nexus 6 will be among the first to support the Pay feature. Android has similar mobile payments feature called Google Wallet that has been around for years.
Fingerprint authentication is also coming with Android M, as well as fingerprint unlocking of your phone. Of course, Google didn’t borrow these ideas from Apple, they just got identical ideas a year after Apple. It is safe to assume that Nexus phones expected in late 2015 will come with fingerprint sensors and the NFC-enabled Android Apple Pay feature.
Improved battery life and USB Type-C
A new feature called Doze should improve battery life. Doze will tell sensors when they are not needed and shut them off in order to conserve power.
Google makes a bold claim that Doze can double the battery life on Nexus 9 devices it was tested on and there is no word if it can improve the battery life of phones in a such significant way.
Android M will support USB Type-C cables and fast charging. New Nexus phones will support that too. Since USB Type-C is bidirectional, you will be able to charge other devices over your phone too. We wonder if the USB Type-C will play DisplayPort too.
The Nokia Tablet that we get to see at Mobile World congress already comes with the USB Type-C connector, with the "old" Android 5.0.
Overall, it looks interesting, but it will be a long time since the first official versions hits Nexus devices. We will be lucky if any popular non-Nexus phone gets Android M before the end of the year.