Google unveils Android M, download the developer preview now

Google unveils Android M, download the developer preview now

At Google I/O, the company’s annual developer event in San Francisco, we got our first peek at the next version of Android today.

Android M finally makes it easy to control app permissions on a fine-grained basis; you can approve only the things you want just like in iOS.

Before today, users had to give apps blanket access to the permissions they wanted. Now, they’re able to disable particular permissions, like the microphone, if they don’t want to provide access.

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Chrome custom tabs allows websites like Pinterest to add buttons (think the “Pin This” button) and menu items to the browser that makes a Chrome tab feel like an app. They are pre-fetched by the mobile app.

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Android M also lets users pay with their fingerprint over NFC using Android Pay, which is a similar service to Apple Pay. Android Pay is an improved, second go at payments after Google Wallet failed to gain adoption.

Google is co-operating with a number of cellphone providers including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and more, who will pre-load Android Pay on their Android devices.

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The OS also focuses on performance improvements, specifically those that improve battery life. Android can now go into a “dozing” state that detects if the device is moving and goes into a low power state if left unattended for a while.

Over time, Android M will “exponentially” restrict background activity to ensure longer battery life.

Google is also adopting USB-C for Android charging. Google said that devices will charge 3 times faster with USB-C and means you can can charge other devices from your tablet or smartphone.

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One other big change is deep app links which make it easy for developers to link between apps. Android M allows users to be pushed into any screen of an app without a prompt.

There will be “hundreds” of other improvements in Android M, including simplified volume controls.

Android M will be available to users in Q3 2015, however you can download it and start building your apps now. There are also system images available for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and Nexus Player devices.

Read next: Everything Google announced at Google I/O 2015 in one handy list

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