Google unveils new Android OS, releases developer preview

At its I/O event in San Francisco this morning, Google introduced Android M, the next version of its mobile operating system. The developer preview is available today for recent Nexus devices, while the final version is scheduled for a broader roll-out later this year.

Android M is more about small adjustments than sweeping changes. Senior VP Sundar Pichai said Google went "back to the basics," with a focus on "polish and quality." The new release fixes thousands of bugs, he added.

There are new features, too. Android M overhauls permissions, allowing users to control whether apps can access individual resources. It also includes a standard API for fingerprint sensors. Fingerprint authentication ties into Android Pay, Google's new take on mobile payments.

A new "doze" mode promises lower standby power consumption by synchronizing devices less frequently when they're left unattended for prolonged periods. This mode still works with alarms and notifications, and it reputedly doubles the Nexus 9's standby time.

Google's digital assistant is more deeply integrated into the new OS. Android M features Google Now on Tap, a new capability designed to deliver faster answers to questions based on contextual information culled from active applications. Google Now is already pretty good at anticipating my needs, so I'm excited to see its reach expanding—and still a bit creeped out about how much it knows about me.

Android M includes loads of other changes, like better volume controls and custom Chrome tabs for apps. Overall, though, the update looks decidedly more evolutionary than revolutionary.  Given the current state of Lollipop, which is generally good but still a little finicky, that's probably not a bad thing.

Comments closed
    • UnfriendlyFire
    • 5 years ago

    And meanwhile my first-gen Moto G is still stuck on Kitkat 4.4.4, while the versions in India are allowed to have Lollipop 5.0.

    I recall contacting a tech support about it and all they could tell me was that Lollipop is only available in India for now.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 5 years ago

    Till they resolve the 3rd party bloat ware that is killing their platform and or relaunch a new nexus 5 device this is all rather irrelevant.

      • blastdoor
      • 5 years ago

      I don’t know… is 3rd party bloat ware killing the platform? Or is it fragmentation?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 5 years ago

        By all accounts, “the platform” seems to be alive and well. Samsung, OTOH…

    • Deanjo
    • 5 years ago

    Another android update that the vast majority of android manufacturers will ignore and never offer updates to their existing fully capable devices just so they can offer the same device with another model number hoping it means another sale. Why sell just one device and support it for a few years when you can sell it again with the upgraded os.

    • Archer
    • 5 years ago

    Too little, too late.

    I won’t give Android another consideration until they fix that flea market of malware app store they have.

    • albundy
    • 5 years ago

    the OS is bloated to hell and back. google was kind enough to install quite a few of its own apps without my permission on my samsung phone. Not only did it waste valuable space, but used already limited resources and lowered the performance of my phone. now i have to turn the auto-updates off since manually uninstalling their garbage means it would re-install on the next app update check. me thinks its time to use custom roms to avoid their nonsense.

      • adisor19
      • 5 years ago

      Wow Google’s apps are garbage but the Samsung replacements are not ?! First time I see anyone preferring the Samsung garbage.

      Adi

        • rahulahl
        • 5 years ago

        Nah. My sister loves Samsung apps as well.
        She wont buy anything except a Note because of the screen size and the samsung apps. Especially the calander.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 5 years ago

      No, what lowered the performance of your phone is actually the Samsung software.

      • culotso
      • 5 years ago

      > now i have to turn the auto-updates off since manually uninstalling their garbage means it would re-install on the next app update check

      To prevent reinstallation of those apps:

      – Root the device.

      – Scope the /system/app, /system/priv-app, /system/vendor/overlay for the offending apps, deleting each of them there.

      – Reboot device.

      – Run SD Maid’s corpse finder to tidy up any loose ends (it should take care of the removed apps cache entries, though you can do that yourself by just wholesale clearing of the dalvik cache directory; also should take care of remnants in the /data app directories).

      – Look under SD Maid’s App Control section for any remaining ghosts of those apps (they’ll say ‘apk missing’ or some such).

      – Done and done!

      Also if you choose to go the custom ROM route, make sure you install the very tiniest barebones package of Gapps you can find, or else you’ll be in the exact same situation, and would have to clean things pretty much the same way.

      I think the Banks Dynamic Gapps installs them properly so they can be simply uninstalled; most others do not.

        • albundy
        • 5 years ago

        thanks for the heads up. will definitely try your suggestions. i’ve rooted the phone previously for Titanium Backup and used it to freeze certain apps. The problem that I noticed is that freezing apps for some reason drains battery life faster…not sure if that’s the cost of keeping them frozen. in any case, thank you. your post is far more meaningful compared to the other clowns that posted nonsense.

          • DancinJack
          • 5 years ago

          Maybe it’s your word selection and tone?

            • NeelyCam
            • 5 years ago

            What do you expect from the king of shoe salesmen in Chicago?

          • BabelHuber
          • 5 years ago

          You do not need to be rooted to freeze Apps, this can be done via the “App”-menu in settings.

          What you can do when rooted is to [b<]uninstall[/b<] system-Apps. Technically there is no need to install the bloatwar as system-Apps, but vendors seemingly don't want users to uninstall all that crap. When rooted, just use Titanium Backup or 3C Toolbox to uninstall the system Apps you don't want and call it a day. I hope I do not have to mention that uninstalling system Apps can mess up your device if you uninstall something of importance (AKA real system Apps). When I got my SGS4 2 years ago, I had the Google cloud, Samsung cloud, Vodafone cloud and Dropbox installed - all as system Apps! So rooting and deinstalling is the only way to go. But note that you'll get that crap back after your next update, so I'd use a custom ROM instead of the bloated Samsung original ROM. I personally only use CM, Samsung's Touchwiz ROMs I can't stand - I bought the device because of its hardware and [b<]despite[/b<] the Samsung-ROM.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 5 years ago

        Why bother with all that? Just go to the applications menu in System Settings and find the app and disable it.

      • Prestige Worldwide
      • 5 years ago

      Complaint of Android being bloated.

      Uses Samsung phone.

      I don’t even….

        • sweatshopking
        • 5 years ago

        he’s right though. android runs (in a best case scenario) as well with 3gb of ram as iOS does with 1gb.

          • DancinJack
          • 5 years ago

          You really believe that? Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but you’re overdoing it just a tad.

          I’m not saying that iOS doesn’t run beautifully on an iPhone6 with 1GB of RAM, because it does. But saying that XXXX (you didn’t even specify) Android device, with 3GB of RAM doesn’t run “as well in a best case scenario” is a little overgeneralized. No need to spread that SSK, c’mon man.

          You still rock though, SSK.

            • Deanjo
            • 5 years ago

            If it’s not in caps, he is serious (and, ugh, I agree with him).

            I’d even take iPhone 4s running iOS 8 over a vast majority of Android devices out there for smoothness of use.

            • sweatshopking
            • 5 years ago

            DancinJack is both a totes ballin playa, as well as technically correct. there are SOME devices that run well enough on android, but it definitely isn’t as efficient as iOS.

            • DancinJack
            • 5 years ago

            I think we’re all agreed there. It’s frustrating. :/

      • tootercomputer
      • 5 years ago

      I have an LG G3 and it is probably the best electronic device I’ve ever had (except for my own PC builds, of course) in terms of everything doing what it is support to do. The upgrade from OS 4.4 to Lollipop 5.01 went without a hitch. I was indifferent to android on my prior phone, but Android 4.4 and 5.01 have been pretty seamless for me (and having the hardware of the G3 with 3G of RAM probably helped). I’ll look forward to any improvements Google makes to Android. I would love to have a desktop version.

      • Cranx
      • 5 years ago

      I won’t buy a samsung device because of how crappy their OS customizations are. The stock Android experience is superior. That being said I can understand being frustrated at having duplicate apps, but you have to understand that Samsung thinks that by adding their crap to the phones they have differentiated themselves from the rest of the Android phones. This is perhaps the most frustrating thing about Android devices. No one tries to make better hardware, just more crappy bloatware.

    • rika13
    • 5 years ago

    This is why I can’t wait for Windows 10 phones. The security nightmare platform (remember that “keep your stuff updated part”? try that with most Android devices) gets more fragmented and more outdated.

      • adisor19
      • 5 years ago

      LOL perhaps you should look up Windows Mobile/Phone history before talking. Unless that was sarcasm/joke, in which case, AHAHHAHAHAH, good one !

      Adi

        • sleeprae
        • 5 years ago

        I suspect that rika13 was making reference to the announcement that the new Windows 10 update mechanism extends to all platforms, including phone/mobile. Therefore, system updates would come directly from Microsoft and not be dependent upon notoriously slow manufacturers and carriers to distribute.

        That said, it’s a claim Microsoft has made before. The tone and approach seem far different this time, though.

    • Chrispy_
    • 5 years ago

    Still recovering from GMail handling multiple mail accounts to replace the default Android AOSP mail client!

    Merging all email accounts together with either “all inboxes” or having to swipe out, select from a list and then reselect the inbox is a messy kludge.

    Hopefully usability feedback has convinced them it was a mistake that needs rectifying.

    • adisor19
    • 5 years ago

    That’s a funny coincidence seeing how Apple is doing the exact same thing with iOS 9 : stability.

    All the other big features are exact responses to Apple’s services : new photos app with unlimited free storage for pics (take that Apple !), new HomeKit like SDK for Android etc etc.

    Oh well, maybe Apple will respond back with a better offer for their Photos app cause 5GB free versus unlimited free storage is quite a difference.

    Adi

      • derFunkenstein
      • 5 years ago

      Both mobile OSes have been feature creeping at breakneck speeds the last few years. Everyone needs to just slow their motors and fix the damn things.

      • blastdoor
      • 5 years ago

      Technologically speaking, Google’s photos sounds very impressive. But I just don’t think I could bring myself to trust Google with my photos… Or any other data, other than receipts and other commerce related paraphernalia. Certainly nothing personal – only the trivial stuff. That is what I use Gmail for these days – – it is the account to which I have all receipts and marketing crap sent.

      • tipoo
      • 5 years ago

      Do you mean coincidence literally? Because it probably was. No way they would make an OS with dev previews fast enough if they only followed after details of iOS9 leaked. Both Apple and Google had been pushing features over everything, and both really needed to slow down and pull a Snow Leopard, focus on bugs and performance for a whole release. I’m glad both did. OSX 10.11 will too, I know all too well it needs it.

    • UberGerbil
    • 5 years ago

    In somewhat related news, the 3D-sensor equipped Tango tablet is [url=http://www.cnet.com/news/project-tango-sways-its-way-to-customers-for-512/<]now available to everyone at the Google Store[/url<]. Still not intended for consumers (as if the $512 price didn't tell you that already) but potentially interesting for folks who like to tinker (and aren't put off by the price -- but hey, free shipping!).

    • Peldor
    • 5 years ago

    [quote<]Given the current state of Lollipop, which is generally good but still a little finicky, that's probably not a bad thing.[/quote<] It'll be interesting to see if Lollipop ever gets above Jellybean and Kit Kat or if M gets here first.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 5 years ago

      Even if M gets here first, good chance device makers are slow to adopt it, just as they have been with Lollipop.

      • MarkG509
      • 5 years ago

      Yeah, T-Mo’s been quite a tease for me. From about half a mile away from my place in any direction, until about half a mile away from where ever I’m heading, the reception’s been perfect. Four or five bars, with as good performance as though I’m on my home WiFi connection. It seems that once I get where ever I’m going, the phone’s dead as a doornail (unless I have their wifi password, and then only if it decides to actually switch over without a reboot).

      I give them a break for getting stuck with spectrum that doesn’t penetrate walls. But, carrying two phones is a bit ridiculous (even though the Vzn phone is subsidized).

    • derFunkenstein
    • 5 years ago

    Standby time is a big deal. I think part of why I I found the Galaxy S4 battery to be less than I wanted is that every time I picked it up, it’d lost another few percent of battery. Withotu touching it at all, it would eat through about 1/3 of the battery at idle throughout the day. So that’s an exciting development there.

      • MarkG509
      • 5 years ago

      Updated my T-Mo GN4 to 5.0.1 and find that the battery life is 2/3 to 3/4 of what it used to be. I’m also having issues with the phone switching between WiFi calling and cellular (in a very weak signal area), and am often stuck in “Emergency Only” until I reboot the phone. If not for being able to unlock the fully encrypted phone with a finger print, I’d go back to KitKat (4.4.4).

      I’m still keeping my Verizon Moto Barrage until I feel I can depend on the GN4 on T-Mo. Right now, if my WiFi and/or internet goes out, only the Verizon phone will let me complain.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 5 years ago

        Sounds like you’re having the same problem I had with T-Mobile. I ended up switching away from them, but man did I love the price.

        • NeelyCam
        • 5 years ago

        I’ve heard so many horror stories about Lollipop on Samsung that I resisted updating when the S5 AT&T OTA update became available… the notifications got to me, though, so I bit the bullet.

        Lo and behold – my battery life actually improved! Color me happily surprised.

          • tootercomputer
          • 5 years ago

          Initially, lollipop on my LG G3 seemed to slow things down a bit, but over time, all runs quite well, actually a bit better than 4.4 Battery life has been unchanged.

          • MarkG509
          • 5 years ago

          I actually do like L better than K, despite the extra battery drain. But in my case (GN4 on T-Mo), something is definitely broken in switching from cellular to WiFi calling. WiFi itself has been perfect on both L and K, i.e., speedtests max out my ISP connection. Still trying to sus it out, but so far, it seems that keeping my connection (voice and texts) alive requires a reboot of the phone whenever switching [b<]to[/b<] WiFi after having been on cellular.

    • anotherengineer
    • 5 years ago

    Unless it’s called Dark Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream with Mint Flakes, I’m not biting, sorry.

      • DarkMikaru
      • 5 years ago

      Hmmm…brownies!

    • ludi
    • 5 years ago

    “In other news, Samsung announced it would be extensively modifying the new platform to enhance the experience on its Galaxy S-series phones. The project is tentatively called Android S&M.”

      • Peter.Parker
      • 5 years ago

      It feels like they tried that for some time already! Good one, +1 from me…

      • UnfriendlyFire
      • 5 years ago

      And the OS update will take about 8-16 months after Google releases their new Android version.

      Also, no guarantees that phones older than 6 months after the new update release will be supported.

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