Google’s announcement of the next version of the Android OS emphasized the advantages for phones, but there will be plenty to benefit tablet users in the version code-named Android M as well.
With the current version of this operating system, microSD cards can be used to store files like MP3s or Word documents. These removable storage cards will become even more useful on Android M-based tablets because Google is adding a feature called “Adoptable Storage”: the device will basically make a microSD card function like internal storage. Everything on the card will be encrypted, and the user will be able to move apps onto it.
This will be a huge boon to those with budget tablets with small amounts of internal storage. Users of these devices will be able to buy a high-capacity memory card and significantly upgrade their computer.
Greater Support for Flash Drives
Many tablets running Android can use USB flash drives, as long as the drive has the right size jack to match the port on the computer and support for USB On-The-Go. However, the user currently needs to install a file manager to access the full contents of the drive. With Android M, a simple file manager will automatically launch when a flash drive is inserted.
In addition, Android M will include built-in support for USB Type-C, a new standard that can transfer data more quickly and also carry more power than micro-USB.
Better App Permissions
When a new application is installed on an Android tablet, the user is asked whether it can have access to various system resources, like the address book or the camera. Apps running on Android M-based tablets won’t ask for permission to access a resource until they actually need it.
Longer Battery Life
The upcoming version of Google’s mobile operating system will include a feature called Doze that’s designed to increase battery life by employing motion detections to tell if a tablet isn’t actually being used, even if the screen is on.
Google claims that Android M is able to double the standby time of the Nexus 9 thanks to Doze by temporarily shutting down background processes.
More Stability and Usability
The list of new features coming to Android isn’t particularly long because Google says a primary goal of this new version is to make Android more stable. In addition, the company says it is tweaking the design to make already existing features easier to use.
For example, the Interruptions feature in Android 5 is being made over into Do Not Disturb, which will offer users three options to keep their device from interrupting them: Priority Only, Alarms Only, and Total Silence.
Please Stand By
Android M is scheduled to be released later this year – exactly when is not yet known.
Also unknown is what the official code-name for this version will be. It will be sweet treat starting with M, but exactly which one is a mystery. The name could be marshmallow, milkshake, or any one of dozens more.
The product number is a mystery as well – it could be Android 5.5, Android 6, or something else.