Android M

The slow march to the launch of Android M, and the devices that will accompany such a launch, continued this week as users and developers the world over updated to the second version of the Developer Preview and took a look at the tweaks Google has made to the experience. We know the dark theme hidden in Developer options and the alphabetical markings in the new launcher have gone away for now, and while Now on Tap can be activated in Settings there's not much you can do with it yet. It's a handful of tweaks that, above all, remind us we're not looking at a finished product by any means.

While there aren't any huge shiny things to explore in this updated version of the preview, many of the folks in the forums using the update have had some important experiences so far.

One of the biggest questions any time an early look or developer preview is available is stability, and the forums were full of answers. Some folks want others to play lab rat before jumping in and trying something new, while others want to know whether these new experiences are actually better than what they currently have. This update has been something of a mixed bag, with some folks noticing significant battery drains and other claiming performance has been noticeably improved. There's also some little things, like images being posted to Snapchat and Instagram no longer appearing upside-down and the battery manager offering some additional details when the camera or flash is on, that are quite nice.

Android M Launcher

It's not perfect yet, and as we all know it's not supposed to be. Developers have the tools they need to make things work well in time for the M launch, and the rest of us are mostly just along for the ride. It's fascinating to see updates to things like the launcher as more people interact with these experiences. Three app columns and a huge alphabetical listing isn't nearly as useful as four app columns on a phone, but on a tablet having that marker can be fairly useful. We don't know for sure what the end result is going to look like, but so far it seems like most folks like what they see.