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Android M Sets Smartphones Smarter

Updated: June 20, 2015 1:45 pm

Google’s next version of its Android operating system launched an all-out attack on Apple with a new range of software in the quest to make its technology vital. The new version of its phone software called Android M is believed to stand for Milkshake. It also publicised the latest smartwatch software, a plan to power home appliances with a new scheme called Brillo, and an online photo and video service, which will keep unlimited snaps online for free of charge.

 The upgrade of software, which includes fingerprint recognition, overhauled app permissions to try and alleviate privacy fears, Google Pay, which will let people use phone as a credit card, Chrome custom tabs to make viewing web pages easier, will enhance battery life of existing devices, doubling battery life in some cases. It also showed off virtual reality system to allow schoolchildren to simply go on virtual field trips. In the midst of dozens of announcements, the company said it would add offline directions to Google Maps, and let users in developing countries download YouTube videos to watch later. There is a possibility to reach farm and farmers well beyond city life. Urban areas transportation could be controlled. So, one can see a range of opportunities that are endless. Here’s a closer look at some of the key features in the upcoming Android upgrade, known as M.

Now on Tap

Google Now currently learns a user’s interests and habits by analysing search requests and scanning emails so it can automatically present helpful information, such as the latest news about a favourite sports team or how long it will take to get to work. With the M upgrade, users will be able to summon Google Now to scan whatever content might be on a mobile device’s screen so it can present pertinent information about the topic of a text, a song, a video clip or an article. The new Android feature, called Now on Tap, will be activated by holding down the device’s home button or speaking, “OK Google,” into the microphone.

Mobile payment do-over

Android M will include an alternative to the mobile payment system that Apple introduced last fall. Google’s response, called Android Pay, will replace Google Wallet for making mobile purchases in stores and applications. Google Wallet, which came out in 2011, will still work for sending payments from one person to another. Like Apple’s system, Android Pay can be used to store major credit and debit cards in smartphones that can be used to pay merchants equipped with terminals that work with the technology. Android Pay will also work on devices running on the KitKat version of Android released last year.

Protecting privacy

Android M will be compatible with fingerprint scanners so device users can verify their identities by pressing a button instead of entering a pass-code. Apple’s iPhones began using a fingerprint reader in 2013. Besides supporting fingerprint scanners, Android M will make it easier for users to prevent mobile applications from grabbing their personal information. Permission will only need to be granted to each app if the access is needed for a specific action. That means Android users won’t be asked to share information about their contact lists, photo rolls or locations until an app won’t work without it.

By Sanjay K Bissoyi

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