Android M Developer Preview 2: Quick Look at What’s New

As expected, this afternoon Google released the highly anticipated Android M Developer Preview 2 update for supported Nexus smartphones and tablets. For those that want to see some of what’s new in Google’s recently announced Android M Developer Preview 2, we have a few screenshots and information to share.

Back in May Google announced and released the successor to Android 5.0 Lollipop, called Android M for now. Just like the preview of Android L last year, which became Lollipop, later this fall in August or September Android 5.2 M will be officially named and released to the public. Yes, we think it will be labeled Android 5.2 and possibly called Marshmallow or Milkshake.

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Read: How to Install the Android M Developer Preview 2 Update

With this update the Android M preview gets one step closer to a public release. Google has added a few new features, removed some, cleaned up the application tray, and fixed a slew of bugs in the first beta of Android M. Check out all the information and slideshow below.

Android M vs Android L

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The initial Android M beta or Developer Preview was extremely stable, but missing lots of key features from the announcement during the annual Google I/O event. There were a few changes to Lollipop, but the overall look and feel remained the same. The focus is on improving and refining the Android 5.1 Lollipop experience, not changing it.

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Android M will deliver a slew of new features, improvements to battery life with a feature called Doze, Android Pay, native fingerprint support, multi-window mode, Google Now on Tap, USB Type-C ports, and much more for Android smartphones and tablets.

Read: Android M vs Android 5.1 Lollipop: What’s New So Far

The update that arrived today is currently available to manually install with Google’s factory images of Android M, or for those running the first developer preview, an over the air update will arrive over the course of the next few days. The guide at the top of the page explains how Nexus 5, Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 owners can install it right now.

We know there is a lot coming with Android M this fall, and today Google even confirmed it will be released in August or September, going as far as to say it’s “on track for a fall release”. Rumors are pointing to late August, but we’ll have to wait and see. Google also confirmed another Android M Preview #3 is coming around the end of July, and a 4th “near-final” developer preview final update will be released in August.

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That all said, users are likely wondering what is coming in Android M, and what has changed in the Android M update compared to the original Developer Preview. Below are just a few of the new features or changes, and we’ll update as more are found.

If there are two of the same screenshots below the new Android M Developer Preview 2 is on the left, while the first release is on the right.

Android M Beta 2 App Tray

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Android M Beta 2 App Tray

In the original Android M release the application tray received a huge overhaul. Google added a row of four persistent icons of  "recent apps" to the top for easy access, and split all the apps up alphabetically. It was somewhat convoluted with gaps between letters, and that's all been removed in the 2nd release.

As you can see the Android M Preview 2 has a much cleaner and simple looking application tray. On the left is the new clean look, and on the right is the messy original M version. We like the new look.

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