Check out all the latest details on Google's upcoming mobile OS - Android M - as well as a few pleasant surprises from Google I/O 2015...
It’s getting closer. The next version of Google’s mobile operating system, dubbed Android M was revealed at Google’s yearly I/O conference last night, giving the world a glimpse at what’s coming up for the world’s most popular smartphone platform.
There are some important developments in the latest version of Android, and a host of other interesting developments on their way in the future, so what caught our attention? Read on for all the details…
Meet Android M
The upgrade from Android 5.0 Lollipop to Android M doesn’t promise a raft of new features, but there are some nice bells and whistles coming for Android fans.
The main focus for Android M seems to be power consumption – specifically, tweaks to make your phone more efficient, and give you more control over how much power your phone is using at any point in time. A new feature called Doze will handle all your energy management needs, and Android M is USB-C compatible too, which means you’ll be able to charge your phone faster.
Aside from that, Android M has been given native fingerprint recognition support – a nice addition that means all Android phones will be able to share the extra functionality that devices like the Samsung Galaxy S6 already have. And there are a few tweaks elsewhere too, simplifying volume controls, and added functionality for Google’s Chrome web browser.
As usual, Android M will roll out to Nexus devices first and should be arriving in the next few months, with other Android smartphones and tablets set to follow. We’ve got no exact timeframes on that right now, but we’ll be back with news on that in due course.
So, that’s a nice list of updates all in all. But if you were hoping for something a bit more revolutionary, fear not – Google has plenty more excitement on the way, starting with…
You may already know about Google Photos, as it does exist as part of Google+, and currently works as backup storage for all your images.
Well, Google is making Photos a service in its own right, and giving it a load of new functionality too. Photos will organise your photos automatically, learning intuitively when you’re uploading multiple photos from an event, and recognising specific people as well.
There’s also an intelligent search function so you can find any of your snaps with minimum hassle and share them instantly to social network and messaging apps.
Offline Google Maps
Google Maps has become a lifesaver for us all, which makes it all the more frustrating when you can’t get a signal.
But now, you won’t just get access to maps, but Google’s turn-by-turn navigation as well as reviews and shopping info will all be available offline, which should make your trips into the deepest, darkest recesses of the UK all the more bearable – all coming later this year!
Have you tried Google Cardboard yet? It’s a simple device that you can make yourself out of cardboard that allows you to watch virtual reality (VR) content via your phone.
Previously, Cardboard only supported 5-inch Android phones. The next version has been adapted to work with larger 6-inch devices – including iPhones – and is much easier to assemble, requiring just three steps.
VR film-making is starting to create some waves in the movie industry too, having made a big splash at the Sundance Festival earlier this year, and Google is pressing ahead with its own plans as well, including a new service called ‘Expeditions’ – which lets teachers take pupils on VR field trips – and a VR project with GoPro too. Keep an eye on this to see how it unfolds in the coming months.
We love Google Now, but there still aren’t many of us that really use it on a day-to-day basis. Well, Google Now is becoming ‘Google Now on Tap’, and the functionality is being made broader, to bring you useful contextual information for whatever you happen to be doing.
Say you’re on Whatsapp for example, and a friend has asked you to meet them at the Tate Modern in London. A long tap on the home button will open Google Now as normal, but Now on Tap will immediately recognise contextual information on your screen, bringing up directions, TripAdvisor ratings and even a potted history of the Tate Modern.
It works nicely with voice recognition too. If you had the Tate Modern open on TripAdvisor and you asked, ‘Ok Google, where is it?’, Now on Tap will recognise the context of your question from your screen, and give you directions to the museum. Clever, isn’t it?
Now on Tap will be available with Android M, as it rolls out to phones in the coming months.
That’s your wrap-up of what Google has on the way for the next year, what takes your fancy the most? We’ll keep you updated as news on the arrival of Android M and other Google goodies arrives, so keep it locked to Vodafone Social for more!
See all our Android phones… Check out our full line-up of Android smartphones right here. Excited about Android M? Let us know what you’re most looking forward to below.