If you're developing for Android, it's time to start updating your hardware. Google today released a new M Developer Preview, which is packed with bug fixes, new features, and improved APIs.
The Developer Preview 2 update includes the very latest Android platform code and APIs that are almost in their final form. Google has supplied new system images for its Nexus devices, onto which developers can install the new preview. The preview is compatible with the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 smartphones, the Nexus 9 tablet, and the Nexus Player media device. The new preview updates Play Services to version 7.6, but Google didn't say what new tools are contained therein.
Google said the update can be downloaded over the air. The update should go out to developer hardware automatically over the next few days, though impatient developers can download the system images directly from Google if they so desire.
What's new? Plenty.
There are two changed APIs. The Bluetooth Stylus API has been updated so it can be used to callback events. The view and gesture functions of the API can now let devices listen for stylus button presses and then perform the associated secondary actions. Google updated the Media API, too. It now has a method for determining if there are microphones attached to the device.
The updated preview bakes in a handful of changes to the platform core. For example, Google modified the platform permissions to include external storage, WiFi and Bluetooth location, and changes to contacts/identity permissions. Moreover, devices that are connected via USB are set to charge-only mode by default. Users will have to explicitly grant permission in order to access the phone through their computer.
You complained, and Google listened. It made a few fixes based on developer-reported issues. For example, a bug affecting camera permissions with legacy apps has been resolved, as has an API bug that affected TextInputLayout.
Google doesn't updated previews of Android as often as Apple does with iOS. It may only offer one more before the unnamed Android system is considered complete. The final release of Android M is not due until the fall months. Even so, Google is confident that the updated M Developer Preview and associated APIs give develoeprs all they need to test their apps ahead of Andriod M's general release.