Android M is official, and it will transform your smartphone

Google outs its latest and greatest mobile operating system

Google took to the stage last night at its IO 2015 event to officially unveil the newest version of Android, it's incredibly popular software that powers over a billion devices around the world. Pretty big news then.

Although Android releases come with a sweet-themed name – last year's release was Android 5.0 Lollipop – Google hasn't announced what confectionary has taken its fancy this time, so for the moment we know it only as Android M.

We might not know its full name but Google announced loads of exciting new features for Android M, and it's shaping up to be the most powerful, versatile and secure release yet.

For example native fingerprint support is coming with Android M which will allow you to securely unlock your smartphone by simply pressing your finger against a built-in scanner.

Some Android devices already offer this feature, but by building it into the core of Android M, we can expect a lot more devices to support fingerprint authentication – which is as secure as it is efficient.

Google has also made paying for stuff even easier with Android Pay which will allow you to whip out your smartphone and get buying by simply tapping it onto a contactless payment device. To keep it secure it will work with the fingerprint scanner to ensure you and only you will be able to use your smartphone to pay for things.

Better battery life

If you're often left with a dead smartphone at the end of a hectic day, then you'll be pleased to know that Google has got its sights firmly set on making battery life longer and more dependable on devices running Android M.

It's done this with a new Doze mode which puts your device and background apps into a near-off state when it's not being used. This deep sleep will apparently help make batteries last twice as long!

When your device finally runs out of juice, Android M will also be able to charge your phone much faster thanks to USB Type-C support. Future devices that sport this port will be able to take full advantage of the faster charging, which can top up your smartphone up to four times as fast as current smartphones using microUSB.

We've only just scratched the surface of the new features that will be coming with Android M, but from what we've already seen we can tell that it will be a very exciting update for our handsets.

Android M is already in the hands of developers so they can get busy making sure their apps work with the latest version, and for the rest of us we should be getting out hands on it later this year.