Android Marshmallow – A look at the new features
Android Marshmallow (Android 6.0) is now available to update for specific devices. For the moment it’s available for the Nexus 5, 6, 7 and 9. As for other devices, the date Marshmallow will be available for those is yet to be announced – these dates are dependent on the device manufacturers themselves like Samsung, Sony and HTC for example.
But for the lucky Nexus owners, what are some of the new features are available to them with Android Marshmallow?
The app drawer is now a vertical scrolling list rather than a paged horizontal list, and you can quickly navigate by scrubbing on the side of the screen to a letter of the alphabet. Also the drawer is a bit smarter than before, as it can give suggestions for apps you are most likely to need at this current moment based on what time of day you are looking at the app drawer. These suggested apps have a dedicated space at the top of the app drawer.
This screen is mostly the same except that now the dialer shortcut has been replaced with a shortcut to Google’s voice search. Voice search has been updated as well – four coloured dots reminiscent of the Google brand colour scheme float and then become waveforms as your speak into the device. You can even now launch apps from the lock screen with your voice.
Doze is a smart battery management feature that optimises your battery life. Its ability to hibernate and put the phone into stasis means that overnight the phone loses only 3-5 percent battery life rather than up to 5% like most other Android devices.
Customise the status bar
Android status bars can typically become very cluttered and blemish the overall aesthetic of the screen – but this isn’t a problem anymore in Marshmallow. You can now customise which icons are hidden and shown in the status bar, letting you have a more clutter-free experience.
Now on tap
Google Now was a feature released a few years ago that is essentially an intelligent assistant on Android devices. It can do things like tell you when to leave your home to get to a meeting on time, and what is the best way to get there.
Google Now on Tap is a lot smarter. You can search for content from other apps without leaving the app you’re currently using. What does this mean for the mobile app experience? This is potentially a big game changer, as one of the biggest bugbears of using a mobile phone is the clumsiness of having to leave an app to find information in another app, then having to come back to your original app. For example you could be writing an email, and realise you need to get a piece of information from the internet. With Google Now on Tap you can easily get that information without leaving the mail app, letting you have much more efficient and streamlined experience.
App standby can see which apps haven’t been used in a long time, and then put them into a stasis which stops them from using system resources, background processes or do network syncing. This means you won’t receive notifications from that app if it goes into standby.
Whilst this feature has been available to iOS for a few years, Marshmallow now lets you control individual permissions you give to apps, such as access to your photos, location etc. Users can now go into settings and see what permissions they can control for their apps
Hidden Easter Egg
To finish off, we’ll mention the hidden easter egg in Marshmallow. By tapping repeatedly on the Android Version in the About phone section of the settings you will load a Flappy Bird inspired game with a ‘marshmallow’ theme. Enjoy!