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Android M adds USB-C support, Doze mode for extending battery life

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It may sound odd, but Google's perpetual effort to make Android better will involve sleeping more this year. Or in Google's parlance: Dozing. A new feature just announced at Google I/O for Android M, 2015's big update for the Android OS, will include a Doze mode that intelligently powers down your phone or tablet when it's not in use for a long period of time, extending its standby endurance significantly. Google describes it as "trading a little bit of app freshness for longer battery life," and cites testing on Nexus 9 tablets that showed "devices with M lasting up to two times longer in standby."

The other big new addition on the power front is support for USB Type-C. It's the same reversible USB connector that Google and Apple are already using in their latest laptops — the Chromebook Pixel and the new MacBook, respectively — and Google promises it will accelerate phone charging in a major way. "Anything from three to four times faster charging" is the company's bold new promise, though the big appeal of USB-C comes from its sheer versatility and ease of use: it can transfer data and power in both directions and it can be plugged in in either orientation.