Two days ago, Google just confirmed that their next Android version 6.0 which was known as Android M until recently would be officially called Android Marshmallow 6.0. We thought of bringing you an article that highlighted 10 of the main new features that the new version of Android brings.
Listed below are the new features and improvements. Note that they aren’t placed in any order as such and do not denote their significance. The importance of any feature depends on what a particular user wants from his/her device.
1. Google Now on Tap
‘Now on Tap’ is the latest feature addition to Google Now. What is basically does is show you contextual information in one click. Most often, it becomes quite difficult to access certain information or complete a task while you are in the middle of doing something else. This is where “now on tap” steps in. By making Google Now smarter, Google is now able to offer the user contextual information based on what you are doing just by tapping and holding the home button.
Currently, on Android, users are forced to accept all permissions that an application asks for if they want to install it. That could mean granting some apps access to stuff that really isn’t required by them and it puts your data at risk. This is one of the ways spyware and spam apps exploit permissions to gain access to the user’s data. However with Android Marshmallow, users can now choose to deny a specific permission for an app while approving others and still manage to install and use the app as they normally would. You can even change the permissions that you want to deny or allow later on for example when you are downloading an update for an app with added features.
3. Android Pay
Google is revamping their mobile payment service in order to compete with the likes of Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Users can use their phone’s NFC capability to make a transaction simply by tapping their phone onto a supporting terminal. Google Pay gives users a virtual account number and thus protects your actual number from being used and falling into the wrong hands. Google claims that the service will work with over 700,000 retailers in USA and that it is compatible with existing debit and credit cards. Google is also now allowing developers to integrate Android Pay into their own applications to make it easier and faster for payments.
4. Native Fingerprint Support
With the increasing trend of smartphones with fingerprint sensors and the growing need for higher security, Google has chosen to include native fingerprint support in Marshmallow. Apart from allowing users to unlock their phones, the fingerprint sensor can be used to authorise payments on Android Pay and other apps.
One of the primary concerns for most consumers these days is the battery life on their smartphones. While technology is improving in leaps and bounds, the battery consumption of these devices are also increasing and as a result most phones nowadays barely make it through a day of use. Doze is a new feature that aims to solve or mitigate this issue to a certain extent by reducing the power consumed by the device when in idle state. Google claims to have achieved a battery life thats twice as long on the Nexus 9 using Doze. This is done by minimising the background processes when not in use. However, users do not need to fear about missing calls, alarms and other notifications as these will still be active and functioning even with Doze doing its work.
6. USB Type-C Support
Although we have just started seeing USB Type-C being implemented in phones; most recently the OnePlus 2, it is good to see that Google is keen on implementing support for newer and better technological standards. USB Type-C will allow support for much faster charging as opposed to the current microUSB standard and it is also hassle-free as it can be plugged into the phone in any direction unlike microUSB. Google claims that if optimised, USB Type-C will allows upto 3-5 times faster charging speeds than current microUSB charging cables.
7. RAM Manager
There is a new and updated RAM Manager in the settings menu that lets the user see what the average amounts of RAM being used over a specific duration. The ser can choose from 3 hours, 6 hours, 12 hours or one day. It also rates the performance and shows you the amount of free RAM. You can also view the applications and the amount of RAM they use in detail.
8. Network Settings Reset
Just like resetting your phone, there is a new setting in the Backup and Reset menu on Marshmallow that allows users to reset just the network settings on their smartphones. This includes all Wi-Fi, Cellular Data as well as Bluetooth settings which can all be erased together in one single step. So if the network settings is all that you wish to clear, you can do so without having to reset the phone itself.
9. Rotating Homescreen
If you’re thinking that this is a feature that has always been there then take out your phone and try it. Up until Lollipop, Android phones do not allow the homescreen to be viewed in the landscape mode even when auto-rotate function has been enabled. Thankfully, Marshmallow allows users to view their phone homescreen in both landscape as well as in portrait mode.
10. Ability to Choose Status Bar Icons
This is probably one of the simplest additions to Android 6.0 Marshmallow but it does go a long way in improving the user’s experience. Marshmallow will allow users to customise what status bar icons they need and which ones they don’t. For example, a person might need an alarm icon to notify him that there is an alarm thats currently active however he might not need a status bar icon telling him that his Bluetooth or Wi-Fi is turned on especially if he/she is someone who has both of these turned on all the time. Thus this feature helps to eliminate unwanted icons from the status bar and give space for other icons to show up.
So these are 10 among many features that are coming along with Google’s Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Do let us know what you think about these features and which among them is the most important to you and why?
Praveen and Siraj contributed to this post