Google and Apple have unveiled the main improvements to their next mobile operating systems, including correcting a security flaw, creating third-party applications and Office for Android smartphones.
Word, Excel and PowerPoint on Google Play
Until recently, the three main software programs of Microsoft Office’s suite were only available in beta or for tablets and by signing in through Google+. But since the end of June 2015 the finalised versions are now available on Android smartphones from 4.4 (KitKat) and up. Users have access to a range of features, depending on the option chosen:
- Free downloads available to anyone for basic document editing
- With an Office 365 subscription: most of the features available, even on screens bigger than 10.1 inches.
Intel Remote Keyboard for Android
Intel has developed an app that can turn a mobile Android device into a keyboard and trackpad for a PC. Both devices must be on the same Wi-Fi network*.
Android M: the successor to Lollipop
The new Android OS probably won’t hit the mainstream until 2016, and Google Nexus smartphones will of course be the first to benefit from it. The new features and improvements expected include:
- Customised Quick Settings
- Uninstall apps directly from the home screen
- Better notification management: block or prioritise notifications
- A battery saver that can be disabled by voice
- Switch directly from one app to another, without going through the menu
- Native support for Micro SD cards: Android M can “adopt” an external storage device like a micro SD card and format and encrypt it so it acts like the device’s internal storage
- Supports USB Type C, meaning faster charging and data transfer and can even allow users to charge other devices
- Android Pay, Google’s conctactless payment system
- Direct Share: faster sharing of links, photos or files via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Also, Direct Share prioritises and puts first the sharing options that you use the most and that are the most logical for that particular item.
Find out more details about the new Android OS in the articles below*.
Google Hangouts (SMS, MMS, voice and video calls) for iOS updated
Google has improved the Hangouts interface, with a more reader-friendly chat view using different shades and colours. In terms of features, it’s easier to send messages and attachments: options that were previously hidden behind a paperclip button are now front-and-centre in the message interface. Photos, camera, stickers etc. are now in a strip below the text-input field.
Apple fixes a security flaw in iOS 8.4 and includes Apple Music
With its update of iOS, Apple has patched a security flaw detected on the Mail application on iPhone and iPads earlier this year which allowed a hacker to hack into a user’s iCloud account. The new release of iOS and iTunes also come with Apple Music, its new streaming service as a three-month free trial, after which users have to pay a monthly subscription to use the full streaming service. The Android version of Apple Music is due for release in the autumn*.
iOS 9 geared towards productivity
This new version of Apple’s mobile OS is due for release in September 2015 and will come for free on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches which already have V8. The main improvements on iOS9 include:
- View two documents in the same app at once on iPads
- Multitasking for iPad Air2 only (pictured below) to run 2 applications at once
- Improved voice search capabilities for more accurate, varied results
- Notes improved to ensure easier note-taking. The new version of Notes supports graphical links and a quick way to turn notes into interactive to-do lists.
- Apple Maps now features public transport directions
- More effective energy saving with Low Power Mode which adds as much as three hours of battery life.
Plus, iOS 9 will take up just 1.3 GB of your internal storage, (compared with 4.8 GB on iOS8)
* Reference articles
- Intel Remote Keyboard for Android lets you control your PC from your couch, The Next Web
- Google Hangouts for iOS update brings new UI and photo attachment features, The Next Web
- Android M release date, news and features, TechRadar; The Android M Preview makes for a surprisingly usable daily driver, Engadget
- Apple Music release date, price & features: Apple Music available now, MacWorld UK
- iOS 9 release & new features, MacWorld UK