Android 6.0 Marshmallow: first impressions

Published on Oct 01, 2015 in Android Developers Resources
Android 6.0 Marshmallow: first impressions

Android’s new version, finally called Android 6.0 Marshmallow, will be released along with two Nexus devices in the next weeks, presumably by October 5.

The Android OS update will be available for the following compatible Nexus devices as well: Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7 (2013), Nexus 9 and Nexus Player. Nevertheless, Nexus 4, 7 and 10 won’t be able to get the update and will have to keep Android’s previous version, Lollipop, because Google considers them too old (they are from 2012) to be updated.

Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X: the first smartphones with Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Android Marshmallow comes with the announcement of two new Nexus devices: the 5.2-inch Nexus 5X by LG and the 5.7-inch Nexus 6P by Huawei. They are both available for pre-order on September 29 for the US, UK, Ireland and Japan.

On the one hand, the Nexus 6P is the first Nexus designed by Huawei. It’s a 5.7-inch metal-clad phablet and its screen will be made from super resistant Gorilla Glass. The Nexus 6P price will be of US$499.99 for the 32 GB version, US$549 for the 64 GB variant, and US$649 for the 128 GB device.

On the other hand, LG renews its successful Nexus 5. The new model will have rounded edges and will be a bit thinner than its predecessor. Nexus 5X’s release date is set for the end of October. The Nexus 5X price is set at US$379 for the 16 GB model and US$429 for the 64 GB version.

Android Marshmallow

Android Marshmallow’s general features

Android 6.0 Marshmallow arrives with a bunch of exciting new features, including an option to manage battery life and a simplified way to handle app permissions.

Android’s newest version will come with an Auto Backup and Restore for Apps, which will run only when the device is not being used and connected to Wi-Fi and power. Android Marshmallow will also have a new app drawer which scrolls vertically instead of horizontally, where you will see the four most recently used apps across the top of the menu.

About menus, from now on you will be able to remove icons you don’t use from the status bar. For instance, if you never use the Bluetooth, you can erase its icon from the status bar so it doesn’t take a useless space up there. With the new Network Settings Reset, you will also be able to wipe all of your network settings at once, including Wi-Fi, data and Bluetooth connections.

Android 6.0 will include a new RAM manager to help users manage the RAM usage of apps more easily, and Adoptable Storage Devices, Google's new storage feature which takes an external storage source (such as an SD card) and formats it like an internal storage space. This way, apps and personal data can be moved freely between a device’s internal storage and its 'adopted' storage source.

Another of the innovations is that Android’s Home screen will be rotating at last, so you can now have the Home and Apps’ screens on landscape mode too.

Android Marshmallow’s newest features

Among other characteristics, Android Lollipop brought us more control over notifications and a new standard for design called Material Design, to be applied on every Google platform since then. Android 5.1. Lollipop was a minor update, just to fix some errors of the original version. But what’s going to be different with Android’s brand new version? Android 6.0 Marshmallow arrives with some remarkable new proposals; keep reading to find out the most interesting ones!

  1. Doze. Doze lands to help you improve your Android device’s battery life. This new feature will be able to determinate if the phone is unused and thus reduce background activities: Doze will detect if some of the apps are in standby and “sleep” them. When you pick up the phone again, they will all “wake up”. Google declares that Doze is specially made for tablets, because they usually remain idle more time than smartphones. Thanks to Doze, a Google Nexus 9 battery can last twice.
  2. Android Pay Google’s reply to Apple Pay and Samsung Pay is here. Google’s new mobile payments system will be an update to Google Wallet, and it will be easier and faster. Android Pay will be available for all the Android devices, while Apple Pay and Samsung Pay can only be used in their respective brands. Android Pay will let you use your existing credit cards to pay in more than 700,000 stores in the US and it’s supported by American Express, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. Android Pay will be compatible with any 4.4 KitKat or above device featuring NFC.
  3. Google Now “on Tap”. Google Now, Android’s personal assistant which studies your behaviours in order to make suggestions based on your preferences, will be improved and smarter in Android Marshmallow. Google Now will now offer you more contextual information about anything that appears on the screen, like the music you are listening to, the word you are writing or suggest you a place to park when you are driving somewhere. Google Now will focus on three main areas: being aware of different contexts, providing answers and helping you take action. Google Now's context awareness understands more than 100 million different places.
  4. Android Marshmallow
  5. Simplified and reversible app permissions. Until now, users had to accept or deny all the permissions before installing an app: so if, for example, you don’t want an app to have access to your microphone, you just can’t install that app. With Android Marshmallow, you can now choose to accept or deny individual permissions. In addition, permissions will now be requested the first time you try to use a feature, not at the moment of installation.
  6. Standardized fingerprint support. Android Marshmallow’s new functionality will allow fingerprint scanners to be used to make purchases when shopping in real-life or within Play Store apps. So far, all the providers who wanted to use a fingerprint scanner in an Android device had to implement the technology by themselves. But with Android’s new version all that will be easier, because all the scanners can use a standard.
  7. Simplified volume controls. There was a bit of confusion with the centralized volume controls of Android Lollipop, so Marshmallow’s new controls will establish different individual volumes for apps, music and alarms.
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