Today, Google announced the developer preview of the newest version of Android. The new version, Android M, will be out later in the year. However, those with certain Nexus devices can download the preview starting today. Here's what you can expect in the next version of Android.
You Now Have More Control Over App Permissions
One of the biggest problems with Android since the very beginning was the all-or-nothing approach it took to permissions. You could either give an app permission to use all the things it asked for, or not install it at all. In Android M, permissions will work much more like iOS. You can install an app without giving it a bunch of permissions right off the bat. When it wants to use your microphone or camera, for example, it will ask you when the app needs it. You can later revoke that permission if you want to prevent the app from using your microphone when you don't specifically allow it. This should help solve the problem of apps requesting permissions without necessarily explaining what they're for.
Fingerprint Support Means (Nearly) The End Of Passwords And PINs
Android M will be the first version of Android that supports fingerprint recognition at the API level. That means if your phone has a fingerprint scanner, apps can use your fingerprint for authorisation instead of a password or PIN. This includes apps like password managers and payment apps.
Android Pay Overhauls Google's Mobile Payments (Again)
Google has made multiple attempts to break into the mobile payments field, but few have caught on (and most have been US-only).Android Pay is its latest effort, and should make make it easier to pay using NFC, or in apps that support the platform. You can also unlock payments using your fingerprint, if the app supports the fingerprint APIs.
h2>Direct Share Lets You Send Stuff To Common Contacts
The Share menu in Android is already pretty cool, but it can also be a hassle to send photos or links to common contacts. Android M has a new feature called Direct Share which gives you quick links to sharing messages with a specific person via a specific app. So, if you frequently send your significant other pictures via Hangouts, Android M will recognise this habit and offer a single button to let you share directly with them.
Text Selection Gets A Lot Better, Adds A Floating Toolbar
Text selection can be supremely annoying on any mobile device. The new version of Android will include improved text selection that will highlight text one word at a time. You can then pull the handle backwards to select by the letter. Perhaps most usefully, Android M will have a floating toolbar that offers cut, copy and paste buttons, so you won't need to decipher the obscure icons in the Action Bar anymore.
Volume Controls Have Been Simplified (After Lollipop Screwed Them Up)
Android Lollipop changed how volume controls worked. The changes were annoying enough that Google itself admitted that the new version was terrible. However, the company also announced that the new volume controls in Android M would make it easier to modify the system volume, music volume, or alarm volume independently.