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Google Inc. used its annual I/O developer conference to debut the next major upgrade to its Android mobile operating system, giving a clear picture of what to expect from the release.

Also releasing the developer preview on Thursday, Google chose to focus on enhancements that many app developers will find appealing, and also a feature that looks a direct response to Apple Pay:

  • Android Pay & Fingerprint will function much like other smarpthone mobile payments apps – users can use the embedded NFC chip to tap to pay at a checkout terminal. Android uses Host Card Emulation to store your credit card credentials, meaning you won’t need to have carrier support for this payments solution. You can even use your fingerprint to authenticate a purchase, sound familiar?
  • Now on Tap is a new feature that links Google Now’s predictive services more deeply into your smartphone. For example if a friend messages you a restaurant to meet at, you can use Google Now to find reviews, book a table, and navigate there, all without leaving the app.
  • App links will allow for deep linking between apps. That means that a specific app could be associated with a certain type of link and open it up by default, or a specific location within an app can be linked to from elsewhere.
Google Now will be more deeply embedded in the Android M OS.
Google Now will be more deeply embedded in the Android M OS.

Just make it last all day

For all the new features and intelligence being packed into a mobile OS these days, the most popular feature for many will be a promise to make a smartphone’s battery life longer. The Doze feature will detect if a device has been left unattended and put it into a power-saving mode.

Seems like a good idea. After all, if you’re going to rely on your smartphone to pay for things then you really don’t want it to die on you.

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