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August 31, 2015

Android Marshmallow – What’s New?

Android Marshmallow

Finally the curtain has been lifted over Android M, which will officially be called “Android Marshmallow”. When Google unveiled Android Lollipop, Android fans were delighted about the new features and the introduction of Material design. It is but natural that we would be eager to know the sweet things that Android Marshmallow will bring to the Android platform.

New boot animation

The new offering in Android Marshmallow starts right from the boot screen. Yes, Google has introduced a flashy new boot animation. The boot animation introduced in Android 5.0 Lollipop had four colorful spheres bouncing for a few seconds before transforming into the Android logo. The new boot animation shows four colorful circles moving about and morphing into different shapes and finally settling into the Android logo.

Improved Google Now on Tap

Google’s virtual assistant, one of the best features of Android 6.0, just got better in the Android Marshmallow Preview 2. You will be able to get useful contextual information about anything that is running on your phone screen. For example, if you are watching a YouTube video, holding down the home button will give more information about the video. Another improvement is that if the message you received, talks about going out for a lunch or dinner, ‘Now on Tap’ will provide you with restaurant suggestions. You can say OK Google, wherever you are on the Android Marshmallow OS.

App Permissions

Google has changed the way apps were given permissions. Earlier, the app permissions were requested during install and most of the times the user was not aware what they meant and what data will be accessed and shared with the app. With Android Marshmallow, the user will only get notifications from the app about the permission, when a related function is used. Google has identified eight parameters such as contacts, location and camera and so on, to help you give permissions for these. For example, when you try to make a WhatsApp call, the app will ask you permission to use the microphone. You can revoke any permission you have granted to the app anytime.

Custom Chrome Tabs

The custom Chrome Tabs is directed towards developers. In previous versions of Android OS, the chrome would be launched automatically when the app wanted to push you to the Web view. In Android Marshmallow, a custom Chrome tab would be launched above the app and you would not be required to launch other web browsers. The tabs would support sign-ins, multi-process security, saved passwords and autofill.

Floating toolbar

You will now see a floating toolbar whenever you select any text. The floating toolbar will show up just above the selected text and provide you with options such as Select All, Copy and Share. The selection tool has been improvised and it jumps to the end of the word automatically instead of moving ahead and selecting characters or group of characters.

Direct Share

The Direct Share feature is an intelligent tool that learns with whom you frequently share the content and through which app. It tries to make the sharing easier by turning the whole process into one single tap. For example, if you always share photos through Hangouts, the Direct Share will help you share photos directly with that specific contact. You no longer have to open Hangout, search for the contact and share photos.

Standardized finger print support

Google has opened the necessary API’s that will allow app developers to integrate fingerprint authentication in any app. This feature will ensure that a majority of the next generation Android Marshmallow phones have biometric authentication capability. The biometric authentication will also be extended to Android Pay to authorize payments and it will work similarly like Apple Pay.

Android Pay

Google is revamping its mobile payments platform by upgrading Android Pay which was earlier known as Google Wallet. Android smart phone users will be able to make payments (through Android Pay) for their purchases at retail stores by just tapping their phone to NFC terminal. The developers will also be able to introduce Android Pay in their apps to make purchases quicker and safer. Android Pay is more secure as it works on the principle of creating a virtual account number and your actual number is never shared with the retailer.

Simplified volume controls

The volume controls that were introduced in Lollipop were not loved by users. Hence, Google has made the design of volume controls simpler and you can now view all the volume settings on your phone through one menu/screen. You can individually monitor and change volumes of alarm tone, ring tone through one interface.

Doze

Google has improved battery   management through a new battery saving feature known as Doze. The phone will automatically recognize when the phone is in rested state and enter into battery saving mode. The Doze feature has been tested on Nexus 9 and it has been proved that the battery life last two times longer in standby mode. In Doze feature, the OS switches off few background processes to save the battery, though you can customize the settings to allow notification and alarm.and

USB Type C

The new Android Marshmallow fully supports USB Type C. The good thing about USB Type C is that it fits in any orientation and a majority of the future devices will have a USB Type C connector, which you can easily connect to other devices, without worrying about the USB cable type. The USB Type C delivers more power, which means faster charging.

The new features discussed above were revealed at the Android Marshmallow Preview 2 and we can hope to see more features or improvisation of the current ones in the next upcoming preview of Android Marshmallow.