ANDROID M: What we want to see
We've got a list of fixes and new features for you, pretty please, Google
Android 5.0 Lollipop is now in use on many smartphones and tablets, but we're futurethinking and here's what we want to see in Android M, which we expect Google to give us the first glimpse of this month.
Android Lollipop supports 64-bit and uses the Android runtime instead of Dalvik, therefore offering improved performance over previous versions, but we don't want Google to stop there – and we're pretty sure it won't.
Modern smart devices such as phones and tablet are brilliant but the hardware inside them means that battery life is always a struggle. Project Volta in Android Lollipop improves things, but we want more. Whether it's a software or hardware thing, or a combination of both, we don't really care.
If you own multiple devices (not necessarily all running the same OS), such as a smartphone and a tablet, you'll probably get annoyed at dismissing notifications you've already seen and to which you have responded. We get frustrated when we respond to an email on a phone only to be told about it again when we then pick up a tablet. Add other devices into the mix, such as a smartwatch, and it's notification overload.
What we want are notifications that dismiss themselves once they've been seen on one of your logged-in devices. Cross-platform, too.
Better parental controls
Android, unlike iOS, allows you to have multiple accounts on the same device. This is a great feature
and means parents can set up accounts for their children. Using a restricted account gives the ability to restrict access to certain apps and content, but we'd like some more advanced tools such as time limits and the ability to shut off access to any app or feature, not just those for which developers have chosen to allow it. It would also be good to be able to switch off in-app purchases or Google Play purchases to avoid the sting of an unexpected bill.
Android has all sorts of clever features and tricks, but Google's manufacturing partners have proved that there's more you can do with a touchscreen than simply swipe to unlock. LG, with the G2, implemented smart gestures such as KnockON allowing users to switchon and off the screen with a double-tap. Others have copied this and added more, allowing you to quick-launch features even when the screen is off.
It's this kind of thing we'd like to see in stock Android, and preferably customisable so you can set gestures for the features that matter most to you.
Open-source Android is highly customisable, but there's one particular area of Lollipop that's bolted
Customisable gestures would allow you to set gestures for the features that matter most to you
down and doesn't need to be. The Quick Settings menu (when you pull down the notification bar a second time) shows handy functions such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, location and mobile data. Why can't it show what we want it to show?
Ultra power saving
We've seen many Android device makers create their own ultra power-saving modes that can, typically speaking, get around 24 hours of life from 10 percent of battery. This is achieved by switching to a simple greyscale interface, switching off powerhungry Wi-Fi and giving access only to basic features such as the dialer and messages.
While you'll find it in various guises, it's not a part of stock Android, and we think it should be.
Google needs to make it possible and easy to manage and secure a fleet of Android handsets in order to maintain its position in the mobile market.