How to Download and Install Android M on Your Nexus 5, 6, 9, and Player
All said and done, Google I/O 2015 left us wanting more.
One of the biggest announcements to come from Google’s keynote address at I/O is Android M, its latest mobile operating system and successor to Android Lollipop.The smartphone market is buzzing again; Google has released Android’s latest operating system (OS), ‘Android M’, which is to succeed the Lollipop. At the Google I/O 2015 keynote, Dave Burke, vice-president, engineering, for Android at Google, revealed that Android M was going to replace Lollipop over this year. While Google promises a plethora of new features and performance enhancements, some of the features appear quite familiar and seem to be borrowed from Apple and other existing platforms.
Last week I traveled to Portugal and the UK, and took a couple hundred alone. iPhoto, for me, is really just a repository for the photos that get imported to it via Photo Stream—someplace that I know that all my photos are safe and sound. Though details of the rollout timeline are yet to be disclosed, it is likely the company will first start with other Google-produced phones like MotoX and high-end ones like the Samsung Galaxy series.
And I’ve been wary of adopting its successor, iCloud Photo Library, in part due to some concerns about its uploading process, but mostly because what I have right now works fine, and its stability is a matter of record. You can also use pinch to zoom gesture to go from a single image to images by the week or month, a feature already present in Apple’s Photo app as well. Complete with a live skydive out of a plane, on to the roof of the Moscone centre, rappelling to the ground, on to bikes to the stage at Moscone where Sergey Brin was onstage to demo a true invention which was making sci-fi a reality.
Unlike Android 5.0 Lollipop, which introduced a new design and interface, Android M is reported to focus on improving the stability and usability of the software, as well as the core user experience. The App Permissions have got a major overhaul and Google has decided to let users decide which permissions they want to allow or revoke, based on when those particular functions are used. As someone who has followed the developer space for quite a while, we must add, we deeply appreciate the contribution Google has made in terms of tools, languages and support for the open web and software development ecosystem. Unlike the current implementation, where users have to agree to all app permissions on first install and also for updates, in Android M, users will get notifications asking for permissions only when they are using a particular function in an app. Chrome Custom tabs, a new feature, will now let you include webviews within a particular app, without the need to switch to the Chrome browser on your phone.
The feature has been developed to be a mind reader of sorts, using its digital sight, constantly collecting information about the emails and stories you are reading, the music you are listening to, and the route you are driving on. Of course I do back up my photos, both to a USB hard drive nightly and daily via the cloud backup service CrashPlan, and while that makes me confident that my photos aren’t about to totally disappear into the ether, neither of those do anything about providing ways to access or view those pictures. In the ideal scenario, the feature is likely to suggest when to leave, to make appointments, track your coming flights, play you some music of your choice, prompt you to order food of your choice and many more day-to-day hacks you can think of.
In truth, what I want—and what Apple, Amazon, and Google are all promising to various degrees—is the ability to store and access my photos, no matter what device I’m using. Soon after Apple announced iOS 8 at WWDC last year, the most common and widely voiced criticism it received was ripping off features from Android and other services. Looks like, both companies want to ensure that each time iOS and Android are pitted against each other, their respective users don’t complain about any missing features. We couldn’t say the same about Apple, because then we’d probably have to think whether we’re setting the volume the right way, or our ears functioning properly.
Amazon, for example, is great at scalable storage, but it doesn’t have much of an ecosystem and its software, especially for Apple devices, is often lacking. Android currently supports the app linking system, also known as Intents, which gives you the choice to open a particular web link in a web browser or an app.
Mountain View, smartly realizing that it wants as many people on its products, regardless of what platform they use, has carved out a nice little niche for itself on iOS over the last few years. Android M will let developers add in an auto-verify feature within their code, which will help open the link within the respective app (provided the app is installed on your phone).
Not that Google is problem-free—the company often takes criticism around its collection of information, which sometimes comes across as…let’s say “overzealous.” To paraphrase Ian Malcolm, Google gets so wrapped up in thinking about all the cool things that it could do that it sometimes doesn’t stop to wonder if it should. Battery life has been a great concern for Android users since the beginning, and Google is possibly looking to resurrect its standing on this parameter through this new feature. Doze is a system state that will idle your device and background apps to near-off when you haven’t used it for a while, a tactic that can make your phone last twice as long as it does at present. According to Google, Android Pay will be pre-installed on AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile devices and will be accepted in around 700,000 stores in the US which accept contact-less payment. Especially considering automotive companies such as the Nissan-Renault alliance working on autonomous drive vehicles with the target of launching one for consumers by 2020.
In addition to this, ‘M’ is also bringing faster charging with USB-C support, which is a new type of USB connector that is like Apple’s Lightning connector; it can be plugged in either way and allows for faster and easier charging. Though it’s unclear exactly when my current setup might expire, I’m giving Apple as much time as I can to respond to Google and Amazon’s respective salvos. When the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference rolls around in just a short couple weeks, I’m hoping that Apple takes a hard look at its photo offering and paints us a compelling picture.
Some minor interface changes also include changes to the app drawer, and to volume controls but could have a big impact on how user-friendly Android devices are. The new app organisation makes it a lot easier to manage large app libraries, for instance, and the volume controls now actually let you control the volume on your device, instead of being more or less completely confusing. That’s pretty much what the wearable space has come down to, rather than emerging as a new philosophy of extending the user’s access to useful information.
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