The next major version of Google’s operating system has been announced. It’s called Android M (for now), and it focuses less on visual overhauls and more on stability and performance improvements.

You won’t likely find the upcoming changes to be as daunting and confusing as when Lollipop introduced the refined material design. Android M has the same familiar look and feel as its predecessor, but it has managed to make everything more fluid.

With Android M, everything is smarter. For instance, the digital personal assistant Google Now has a better understanding of your smartphone habits by observing you while you read emails, listen to songs, book flights, etc. This feature is called Now on Tap and appears in other apps to provide contextual answers. For instance, you can learn more about a famous celebrity you’re currently tweeting with a simple tap-and-hold on the home button or a short voice command.

Android M devices

Android M further introduces a new payment system called Android Pay. Using NFC and host card emulation, users can make purchases within apps and quick transactions at physical retailers. It doesn’t require opening a separate app: at physical stores, you simply place your phone nearby a payment terminal to charge the cost of your goods to your registered bank account.

The USB port has gotten better as well. Android M supports the USB Type-C standard and offers a variety of new options for users. Besides the usual charging of their own device, users can use the USB port to charge another connected device, to use the device for MIDI input and to transfer files to or from a computer.

Another welcome change brought by Android M is the way app permissions are handled. Whereas the old way is to prompt the user during installation about all permissions the app needs, the new method reminds you about permissions on a need-to-use basis.

The first devices to come with Android M are expected to arrive later this year.

[Source: Android]

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