Google announces Android M, available later this year

Google has just made the next version of Android official. During the keynote address of its annual developer conference, Google unveiled that Android M will succeed Android Lollipop this year. Google says that Android M, which is debuting as a prerelease version today with a full release later this year, brings a host of new features and performance enhancements. But at the same time, Google’s Sundar Pichai says the company has “gone back to the basics” and improved quality of the platform. Google isn’t saying what the version number or name of M will be just yet, but it is showing of a lot of what will be part of the update.

Dave Burke, vice president of engineering at Google, says that the company has been watching what device makers have been adding to Android and is folding a lot of those ideas into the core system. There are six new areas that Google has focused on with M, ranging from new features to improved performance and efficiency.

One of the big parts of Android M is a revamped apps permissions system. Users will be able to approve or deny security permissions, such as camera or location access, on a case by case basis. There are only eight categories of permissions available to apps now, and the apps will ask for them as they need them. That’s different from how Android current works, which asks users to approve all permissions at once when the app is installed. It’s also very similar to how Apple has handle app permissions in iOS for years. Apps will not have to ask for permissions with every update, either.

For Android M, Google is also revamping the web browsing experience with its Chrome browser. A new feature called “Chrome Custom Tabs” lets developers insert webviews directly in their apps, giving them the full power of Chrome without having to force the user to switch apps. Chrome features like automatic sign-in, saved passwords, autofill, and multi-process security are all now available to app developers within their apps.

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