Android M is finally here. Google’s new version of its number one operating system was revealed yesterday at the company’s annual I/O developer event in the US.
Aimed at taking on Apple’s upcoming iOS 9 software, it’s set to give Google’s platform a slew of new features.
So, can it measure up to last year’s major Android Lollipop upgrade? And when will you be able to install it on your mobile or tablet?
Read on and we’ll tell you five key things you need to know about Android M.
1 There’s no official name yet
Like last year, Google has not given its latest Android update a proper name from the get-go and has instead opted for a single letter until the software is released for real.
What M stands for is unclear, although Google has a tradition of naming its operating system after something sweet.
Marzipan? Maltesers? All will be revealed later this year.
2 It’s a refinement, not an overhaul
Google was at pains to say that Android M is not another overhaul like Android Lollipop. Rather, it’s a refinement.
Among the tweaks are some major bug fixes, a change to app permissions.
The latter means you’ll only be asked to give your permission for an app to access a certain aspect of your phone when it needs to do so. Until now, you did so on installation.
There's also a new feature called Doze that senses when your phone is inactive and conserves battery.
However, Google’s attempts to improve battery in recent years have met with failure, so we’re not getting too excited.
3 Android Pay to the forefront
Android Pay, Google’s Apple Pay rival, is set to land as part of Android M. Initially launching in the US, it will work in 700,000 outlets, with support for Android devices that have fingerprint security.
That should reassure those worried about fraud. Visa, MasterCard and American Express cards will all work with the service when it rolls out.
4 Now on Tap
Perhaps the most exciting feature of Android M, Now on Tap is a new take on Google’s increasingly impressive Now tool.
It means that you’ll be able to pull up information about movies, restaurants and shows from directly within an app.
Get a message asking if you fancy seeing a film? Hold the home button to see reviews and screening times.
Google says developers whose apps it has indexed will be able to get Now on Tap working with their creations seamlessly,
5 It's out at the end of the year
Google has not given an official release date for Android M. However, it is likely it will roll out to current top end Nexus phones and Nexus tablets at the end of the year, in line with previous updates.
Non-Nexus device owners will probably have to wait until 2016 in order to try out all those cool new features, though.