Google held I/O 2015 last month (May 28 – 29, 2015). In that conference, the company announced Android M would follow “L” (version “Lollipop”) sometime later this year. There is already a preview release. I am convinced that the update is maintenance version of Lollipop. Bug fixes are always welcome. The earlier version already established a tidy, clean usability, but it also introduced many issues.
Android M will add stability, efficiency, and will also improve usability to a lesser extent. The update improves the suitability of Android in the enterprise. Users now have more control over access requested by apps. Previously, apps asked for access to everything. Now, it is possible for users to specify access to things like location or camera.
It is worth noting that BlackBerry 10 already gives users the power to specify access.
Like what Apple is doing with Apple Pay, Android M will have Android Pay. This will use a host card emulator and an NFC, making “tap to pay” a way for processing payments.
Google is also incorporating more “sleep” detection, a move that will improve battery life. Google calls this feature, “Doze.” If there is no motion detected after a certain time, processes are shut down. BlackBerry introduced various battery-saving features in the BBOS 10.3 update. For example, when the phone detects motion, it will then wake the screen up. Placing the phone face down will lower power consumption by putting the phone in a “sleep” state.
Like Apple incorporating USB-C in its latest iPhone, Android M will also support this kind of connection natively.
Android M is just like what Ice Cream Sandwich was to Jellybean. The revisions are minor but necessary. As BYOD – bring your own device – grows in popularity, the update, especially in security, is welcome by enterprises. Companies have many MDM solutions that are available on the market today. This gives them effective means in managing employee smart phones. AirWatch, VMware, Microsoft, and MobileIron are only some of the many firms that offer MDM solutions.
Android still has one significant challenge ahead: fragmentation. First, carriers must approve Android M before allowing their customers to install the update. Second, “M” will just add to the fragmentation problem. This just makes administering security for Androids very difficult. Lollipop had fewer than 10 percent penetration on all Android devices. This means dangerous apps may still exploit most of Android phones, assuming Android L or earlier releases of the phone OS have security holes.
The bottom line
Google I/O introduced a positive development for Android. Android Studio is now on version 1.3. This release now gives built-in support for Google’s Native Development Kit. With NDK, developers have an easier time porting over the C and C++ code written from other platforms.