Android - Now in Marshmallow Flavor!
Android v6.0, code-named “Marshmallow,” was released on October 5, 2015, and I think you're going to want it on your Android-powered smartphone or tablet. Here are the most significant new features in the latest edition of Google’s mobile operating system...
What's New in Android 6.0?
Marshmallow has arrived. Is it all a bunch of fluff, or is there something really good inside that candy wrapper? Let's take a look…
Google Now On Tap is touted as a “connective tissue” that permeates every part of the Android experience. Google Now On Tap provides contextual information for whatever is on your screen, drawing upon Google’s vast store of information about the real world. For instance, if a text message mentions a certain restaurant, Google Now On Tap will display cards showing the eatery’s location, reviews, hours, etc.
Better power management is built into Marshmallow to extend battery charge life. First, any time your device is unplugged, unmoving, and the screen is off, Marshmallow will put it into a sleep state that uses minimal power. Periodically, the device will wake to enable app syncing, notifications, etc., then go back to sleep. Marshmallow also identifies seldom-used apps and blocks their unnecessary background activities that drain battery power. Finally, you don't need a sketchy third-party app to manage battery life.
Setting app permissions is easier under Marshmallow. Previously, an app requested all the permissions it would ever need the first time it was installed; many users were overwhelmed and confused. Now, each permission is requested the first time it is needed by the app. Users can see what the app is trying to do and decide if they wish to permit it, one thing at a time.
In my opinion, this is one of the most important new features of the Android OS. It's maddening when you download a new app, and for reasons unknown, it wants access to your files, contacts, text messages, camera, phone and GPS. Now YOU can decide what permissions your flashlight app can have.
Fingerprint biometric authentication is supported under Marshmallow. If your device has a fingerprint scanner, Marshmallow can handle Android Pay and Play Store payments, and even in-app purchases, without third-party authentication apps.
Hooray for USB-C!
USB Type-C support paves the way for adoption of USB-C charging and data transfer ports. USB-C connectors are reversible, solving the maddening problem of trying to plug a connector in the wrong way. USB-C also enables faster data transfers and a universal charger that will work with any USB-C device.
Marshmallow cleans up the mess that was Lollipop’s audio volume controls. Press your device’s volume button and up pops a simple slider control for adjusting the volume of notifications, alarms, or music. “Silent Mode” has been simplified, too; just turn the volume all the way down.
Lollipop’s complicated “Priority Notifications” subsystem has been renamed “Do Not Disturb” and highlighted as a standalone feature. You’ll find the DND option on pulldown menus in Airplane Mode and other options. Tap DND and you can set your device to “total silence,” “alarms only,” or “priority only” state for variable periods of time, or indefinitely. You can also create an exception so that if a given contact calls twice within 15 minutes, suggesting an urgent need to reach you, that call will be put through.
Selecting text is much easier and more precise in Marshmallow. Related functions such as copy and paste are now in a floating toolbar that stays near the selected text, not way up at the top of the screen. Sharing is a one-tap option that can send selected text to other apps or services on your device. If you install the Google Translate app, Marshmallow enables instant translation of any text selected in any app on your device.
Marshmallow also features improved backup-restore, app settings, direct sharing, voice command, and external storage support capabilities. It also includes improved Bluetooth Low Energy functionality, Hotspot 2.0 that supports 5 GHz WiFi, Bluetooh SAP, and full MIDI support.
Marshmallow upgrades are rolling out from Google to Nexus 5, 6, 7, and 9 devices now. The Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P will ship with Marshmallow installed. For all other Android devices, it all depends on when (and whether) the manufacturer (Samsung, LG, HTC , Motorola, etc.) and the mobile service provider (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.) get around to it. Generally, the newest phones get the latest Android OS first. You can check with your mobile provider to see if/when they're planning to update your model.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 13 Oct 2015
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