Google has released a second developer preview of Android M. The next version of the Android operating system is expected to launch this fall, but Google has been offering developers (and early adopters) a chance to try early builds of the software on select Nexus devices since May 28th.
The second preview includes a newer version of Google Play Services, changes to permissions, and new developer tools, as well as fixes for some bugs.
Like the first preview, the new software is available for Google Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 smartphones, the Nexus 9 tablet, and the Nexus Player Android TV box.
If you’re already running the first preview you can wait for an over-the-air update to roll out. If you’re impatient (or installing the software for the first time), you can download the latest builds from the Android Developers website. There’s also a new SDK and new developer documentation.
Among other things, the update modifies the way permissions are handled for external storage, WiFi and Bluetooth location detection, and contacts and identity permissions.
When you hook up a device to a computer with a USB cable, it’ll be set to charge-only mode by default, but you can grant permission to connect to the computer.
You can find a more detailed list of changes at the Android Developers website. Plus there are a few goodies Google hasn’t mentioned, including:
- You can enable or disable specific status bar icons.
- The app drawer now has a search box at the top and it doesn’t have letters of the alphabet on the side anymore.
- Beta 2 also lays the foundation for the upcoming “Now on Tap” function, but it’s not actually working yet.
- The Dark Theme is no longer an option in the settings.
- You can now view the home screen in landscape mode using the Google Now launcher.
- There’s an option to delete screenshots from the notification that pops up shortly after you create one.
- Storage & USB settings give you a new way to view available storage and memory details.
Ars Technica has a good roundup of most of the new (or different) features in Android M Developer Preview 2.
Google says the features and APIs included in this release are pretty close to what the company plans to ship this fall. But it’s still asking testers to report critical issues.