Everything About Android 6.0; Marshmallow
10:00 AM Android Info
Google finally has a name for the next generation in Android OS, and it’s Marshmallow. While the update itself made its debut at Google’s I/O conference back in May, as reported by The Verge, it was then known as Android M. The new name follows Google’s pattern of naming individual releases after sweets alphabetically, something it has done for year
Marshmallow is still in beta, and a final preview release was released to developers this week. Google expects to release a final version in the fall, although it may be a little longer before manufacturers ship the update to compatible phones.
There are a few notable new features however, focused around six core areas. The first three focus on the user experience and security.
1. App permissions
First up, app permissions. As had previously been speculated, app permissions have been overhauled in Android M, with users now being able to choose to accept or deny individual permissions as they see fit. Permissions have also been simplified.
Permissions will now be requested the first time you try to use a feature, not at the point of installation. "You don't have to agree to permissions that don't make sense to you," Burke said, and used WhatsApp to give an example of how this works.
If you want to record a voice message, WhatsApp will prompt you with a one-time request for permission to use your mic: if you still wish to give it access and record the message, you can, but you don't have to. Android M is giving users greater control of the information apps can access, and this is a truly positive step forward for Android.
You can modify the permissions granted to apps at a later date in your Settings, or you can view permissions by type and see which apps have that permission granted. It's all about giving the user complete control over their Android.
2. Web experience
Google has been exploring trends in the way web content is consumed to provide a better user-experience when interacting with websites and apps. "Chrome Custom Tabs is a new feature that gives developers a way to harness all of Chrome's capabilities, while still keeping control of the look and feel of the experience," said Burke.
Chrome Custom Tabs will allow apps to open a customized Chrome window on top of the active app, instead of launching the Chrome app separately. This will provide a faster and more intuitive user-experience when navigating between apps and the web.
Chrome Custom Tabs supports automatic sign-in, saved passwords, autofill, and multi-process security to assist the integration of the app and web experience. So, for example, a Pinterest custom tab will have a Pinterest share button embedded in it, can include custom overflow menu options and doesn't require the Pinterest developers to build their own web browser.
3. Fingerprint support
Google will "standardize support" for fingerprint scanners on phones running Android M. The new functionality will allow fingerprint scanners to be used not only to unlock phones, but to make purchases shopping in real-life or within Play Store apps.
Of course, your device will need a hardware fingerprint scanner to begin with, but with Google's full support, expect to see these appear on many more devices in the future.
4. Mobile payments
Android Pay is Google's new mobile payments system designed to make the checkout process easier and faster. Google is aiming to provide "simplicity, security, and choice" with Android Pay, allowing you to use your existing credit cards to pay for products in more than 700,000 stores in the US.
Compatible with any device housing NFC capabilities (and running 4.4 KitKat or above), the Android Pay platform is being supported by American Express, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover, as well as carriers such as AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Google's response to Apple pay is here.
5. App links
"When a user selects a weblink from somewhere, Android doesn't know whether to show it in a web-browser, or some other app that claims support for the link." This was the problem facing the Google developers before Android M.
You may be familiar with the 'Open with' dialogue box which appears when you try to open a link within an app on Android. You might be asked if you want to open a link with YouTube, or with Chrome, for example.
App links are being changed in M so that Android has a greater awareness of which apps can open content directly, instead of stopping users every time with the dialog box. If you tap a Twitter link in an email, for example, the Twitter app will open automatically instead of prompting you to ask if you want to use Twitter to view it.
This is almost a blink-and-you'll-miss-it improvement, but it's representative of Google's attention to detail: Android M is probably going to feel more usable without the user ever understanding why.
6. Power and charging
Android M makes use of a new function known as Doze to improve device standby time. By using motion detectors, Android will recognize when devices haven’t been interacted with for a while, such as when a person is asleep or a device has been left on a table, to reduce background processes.
Burke said that Google tested two Nexus 9 devices, one running Lollipop and one running the Android M preview, and learned that M will provide up to two-times longer standby time. Even in Doze mode, your Android can still start alarms or notify you of priority notifications.
Android M also supports USB Type-C which provides faster charging, and lets users charge other devices with their phone.
What else is new in Android M?
Auto Backup and Restore for Apps
Possibly the most interesting aspect of Android M not discussed in Google’s I/O keynote speech was Android Auto Backup and Restore for Apps. This feature will be used in conjunction with Google Drive to automatically backup app data and settings with a file size of 25 MB or less.
These backups occur no more than once per day, and run only when the device is idle and connected to Wi-Fi and power. The uploaded data does not count towards your Google Drive storage quota, and is encrypted.
If you lose your device or delete the app, your previous progress will be restored the next time you install it, and it even works with apps which are side-loaded or accessed through a third-party app store.
New app drawer
One of the most immediately noticeable visual changes to Android M is the new app drawer. This now scrolls vertically instead of horizontally, and is held against a white background, rather than a muted shade of your homepage wallpaper. Across the top of the menu you will see your four most recently used apps.
Android M RAM manager
Google has introduced a new RAM manager to Android M with the aim of providing users with more accurate and comprehensible information regarding the maximum and average RAM usage of apps.
The menu can be found in Settings > Apps > Options (three dots button) > Advanced > Memory. Though it's a little hard to navigate to, the page offers a far clearer insight into app demands, and the overall effect they will have on your device.
With a reading of an individual app's RAM consumption, as well as how often it is running in the background, users will be able to better determine which apps should be removed in endless bid to increase device performance and battery life.
Android M even includes a simple bar at the top of the page displaying the current performance status of a person's handset; if it says "good performance", you're likely running an efficient set of apps.
Adoptable Storage Devices
Though Google has in the past tried to step away from external storage use (the reason why none of its Nexus devices house a microSD card slot), it appears that Android M is striking a compromise.
Adoptable Storage Devices is Google's new storage feature which essentially takes an external storage source (such as an SD card or USB drive) and formats it like an internal storage space. This means that app and personal data can be moved freely between a devices internal storage and its "adopted" storage source.
Adopted storage devices are wrapped in a layer of encryption to soothe security concerns and both microSD cards and USB OTG drives are currently supported.
Buried within the Android M settings is a "Dark theme" option which transforms the menu background to a dark grey color rather than the normal pale shade. Currently this only affects the settings menu, not the app drawer, and its function is purely cosmetic. Still, it looks nice on our Nexus 6 and we hope it gets developed further.
Google Now has been improved upon once again in Android M. Focusing on three key ares: being aware of different contexts, providing answers and helping you take action, Google Now is now smarter than ever.
Google Now's context awareness understand over 100 million different places, so when you ask "How far is it to there?" Google Now know exactly which "there" you're referring to. This awareness is compounded by Google's Knowledge Graph, which understands one billion different entities, from sports teams to gas stations, TV shows to recipes.
Chrome is also leaner and faster than ever before. Initially revamped with Android One devices in mind, where stable and speedy internet connections are not always possible, Chrome's new optimizations are set to arrive for everyone.
Chrome is now aware of network strength and can modify what you see as a result. For example, if your connection is bad, you might see colored squares rather than preview images in Search results. Optimized web pages will load four times faster and use 80 percent fewer bytes. You'll also see a memory usage reduction of up to 80 MB. Chrome will also support offline mode.
As expected, Google pulled the wraps off its new Google Photos service. Previously a part of Google+, Google Photos is now standalone photo and video storage and sharing service that provides unlimited free storage for up to 16 MP photos and 1080p video. That is seriously impressive.
The Google Photos service stores high-quality compressed versions of your photos and movies but doesn't store anything on your device, so you can search through thousands of photos at high speed and without bogging your device down with gigabytes of photos.
Despite the new functionality, getting users to actually upgrade will still be a challenge. There’s always the issue of device compatibility, and the slowness of device manufacturers themselves to release updates to their customers. It’s for this reason that only 18 percent of Android devices were running Android 5.0 Lollipop as of the beginning of August, according to Google statistics.
List of Android Smartphones Expected to Get Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS Update
To provide a better perspective, we have a listed the flagship smartphones, which are mostly like to get the new Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
Google Nexus series:
One of the main perks of owning a Nexus series is the satisfaction of getting the latest updates before owners of other branded phones get it.
We are certain that the Google LG Nexus 5 (2013), the Motorola Nexus 6 (2014) and also the Google Edition series of Samsung, Sony and HTC devices will also get the update, shortly after the release of v6.0 Marshmallow.
There is a possibility that Google might ditch the Nexus 4; since the final developer preview Android M firmware hasn't been released to the 2012 device. As of now, it is only available to the Nexus 5 and the Nexus 6.
Google Android One series:
Android One series are an official affiliate of Google, so they will be one of the first smartphones to get the latest update. But this myth was busted last year, because Google took almost three months to release the update to Android One series- Micromax Canvas A1, Spice Dream Uno and Karbonn Sparkle V in India. The good thing was that the company released the latest 5.1 Lollipop, directly skipping three incremental updates (5.0, 5.0.1 and 5.0.2).
But things are about to change as Google is making arrangements to ensure there is no delay this time. Two weeks ago, it released second generation Android One series Lava Pixel V1 in India, followed by Infinix Hot 2 launch a few days ago in Africa (Ghana, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Kenya and Morocco).
Google is expected to roll out Android M to Micromax Canvas A1, Spice Dream UNO, Karbonn Sparkle V, new Lava Iris Pixel V1, Nexian Journey One (Indonesia) and other Android One series launched in South East Asian markets and Africa.
Google's former mobile division, Motorola, has a good reputation of promptly releasing the new update without much tweaks as soon as it gets hold of Google's Android OS source code.
Motorola will release the new Android M starting with Moto X Style (aka Pure Edition in US), Moto X Play, Moto X (2014), Droid Turbo (aka Moto Turbo in India), Moto G (2nd and 3rd Gen) by the end of December 2015 or early 2016.
Motorola's parent company, Lenovo, is expected to release the Android M update to K3 Note, Vibe Shot and to the recently unveiled ZUK Z1.
This year, HTC launched a slew of top-end devices, including One M9, One M9 Plus, E9, E9 Plus. All the devices are certain to get the new Marshmallow update.
Last month, a HTC One M8 owner, on Twitter candidly asked HTC US head, Mo Versi, whether the company will release the new Android M series to his device. To his surprise, Versi confirmed that the device will indeed get new OS update.
For the uninitiated, all HTC flagship smartphones come with HTC Advantage support, which guarantees special one-time after-sale service discount and two-year Android OS support.
So, the HTC One M7 (2013) and some mid-range and budget Desire series phones, including those released in mid-2014, will not get the update.
Samsung, as always, is expected to release the Android M update in reverse chronological sequence starting with the latest devices such as Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy S6 (S6 Edge), Galaxy A8, Galaxy Note 4, Note Edge and Galaxy S5. There is a possibility Samsung might also deploy the update to mid-range Galaxy A5, A5 and the Galaxy E series as well.
In 2014, Sony had announced to release 5.0 Lollipop to all of its Xperia Z series in early 2015, but failed to meet the deadline. Despite facing troubles with bugs riddled source code, it managed to complete the feat in May this year.
Now with the announcement of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, many will be curious to know whether Sony will release the latest OS to all its Xperia Z series. Well, the company is not likely to do an encore on all the Z series, as some of the devices featured in Lollipop update list are now more than two years old.
Based on 18 months' obligatory software update service contract with Google, Sony is certain to deploy the Marshmallow OS to the recently released Sony Xperia M5, C5 Ultra, Xperia Z3 Plus (aka Z4).
Other devices which are likely to get the software are Xperia Z3, Z3v, Z3 Compact, Z2, Xperia Z Ultra GPE (Google Play Edition).
Besides the LG Nexus 5, the company is expected to release the new Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS to G4 and also to G3, since the device was launched in 2014 and is yet to complete the 18-month life cycle.
Since the new Zenfone 2 series (ZE551ML, ZE550ML, ZE500CL) and new Zenfone 2 Deluxe (ZE551ML), Zenfone 2 Laser (ZE550KL/ZE601KL), Zenfone Selfie (ZD551KL) were released this year, they are certain to get a taste of Google's new sugar candy flavoured OS.
Both the 2014 model OnePlus One and the recently released OnePlus 2 are most likely to get the update. It is expected to come via custom skin OxygenOS/HydrogenOS update.
Just days ago, the Chinese company unveiled the new MIUI 7 based on the Android 5.1 Lollipop. Xiaomi will release this update to Mi4, Mi4i, Mi3, Redmi 2, 1S, first generation Redmi Note (3G & 4G) starting on 24 August.
Since Android M is expected to be released in September/early October, Xiaomi might take two or three months to release this version, probably in the form of MIUI v8.0 to Xiaomi Mi 4i, Redmi Note 2 and other devices in December.
Huawei is expected to launch the new 2015 series Nexus phablet with Android M OS out-of-the-box later this year. The company, which is now in the list of the world's top 5 smartphone makers, will definitely try to bring the new Marshmallow OS to a large number of its devices, most probably to the Ascend Mate 7, Honor 6 , 6 Plus so that it retains the loyalty of fans.