Updated: Android M release date, news and features

Android M release date, news and features

It’s been a whole year since Android Lollipop was announced at IO 2014, so it’s about time Google took to the stage and announced its successor – and thankfully it’s done just that.

Say hello to Android the latest mobile platform from Google.

We’re live at Google IO 2015 in San Francisco and we’ll be constantly updating this page with all the latest news and features as it breaks – so make sure you stick around!

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The successor to Android Lollipop
  • When is it out? Q3 2015
  • What will it cost? As with all Android upgrades it’s free

Android M name

So Android M is official, but it’s missing its sweet treat name. We expect Google to keep that under wraps until later this year when it starts rolling out the update, but we know that internally it’s currently going by the name Macadamia Nut Cookie.

We’re hoping that is just the development name and Google goes for something a little more catchy when it rolls out – but we’ll have to wait and see.

Android M release date

Bad news folks, you won’t be able to get your hands on Android M straight away – unless your a developer.

The Android M developer preview is available from today, but the main Android M release date is set for Q3 2015 – and we’d say it’s most likely to be September – when we’ll also learn the sweet treat name Google has christened it.

Android M developer preview

Android M developer preview

As mentioned, developers can get their grubby mitts on a preview of Android M from today with support for the Nexus 5 and 6 handsets, Nexus 9 tablet and Nexus Player available.

Some may be disappointed to see a lack of love for the Nexus 7 slate – so fingers crossed Google pushes out the final software to it later this year.

Android Pay

Android Pay

Android Pay isn’t just available with Android M, it will be supported on devices with NFC running Android KitKat and above.

There’s no need to open an app to make a payment, all you’ll need to do unlock and place your handset on a compatible contactless payment terminal.

For those rocking Android M on their device you’ll also be able to use Android M within third party applications for simple purchases which don’t require you to enter all your details every time.

Android M fingerprint support

We’ve seen some smartphone manufacturers already include fingerprint scanners in their devices, but with Android M Google is looking to make the support standardized across the whole platform.

As well as allowing you to unlock your device and pay for media from the Google Play store the fingerprint scanning tech is also open to developers.

That means devs can build it into their own applications, allowing you to sign into them without the need for a password, as well as pay for goods using Android Pay.

Android M power, charging and more

Android M power

Android M Doze

Google has done a load of work surrounding battery life and power in Android M, which will be music to many user’s ears.

First up Google has cooked up Doze – where your device will use motion detection to realize when it hasn’t moved for an extended period of time and switches to a deeper sleep which consumes much less power.

Your device won’t be completely useless in this mode, as Doze still allows alarms and key notifications to come through.

The search giant says it grabbed two Nexus 9 tablets, one running Lollipop and the other Android M, loaded the same apps and settings on both and then tested the standby power drain on the two.

Apparently the Nexus 9 running Android M lasted up to two times longer than its Lollipop counterpart. It sounds impressive and we’re hoping it translates to noticeably better battery life on our devices.

Android M charging

As well as making our batteries last longer, Android M also brings faster charging to the fore with USB-C support.

USB-C is a new type of USB connector which, like Apple’s Lightning connector, can be plugged in either way round. No more fumbling in the dark trying to plug in your charging cable the right way round.

Google claims devices with USB-C connectors will charge three to five times faster than the current microUSB offerings on the market.

More new features on Android M

Google has simplified volume controls once again with the Android M update, with more granular control over the various audio settings on your device from ringtones and alarms to music playback and voice calls.

Word selection has been made easier too, with Android M highlighting text more intuitively, and a floating menu offers controls such as cut, copy and paste at your fingertips, rather than in the toolbar at the top of the display.