On September 29th 2015, Google announced the roll-out of the newest version of its smart-phone operating system – Android 6.0 called “Marshmallow“. This came along with a preview to the next nexus series of phones, the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, pre-order for which are now open in US, UK, Ireland and Japan now. Android 6.0 will be available for update starting 5th of October 2015 on Nexus 5,6,7,9 and Nexus Player.

Featured image: CC BY 2.0 Image courtesy of Takahiro Yamagiwa on Flickr.

David Burke, Vice President of Engineering (Android), took center-stage at Google I/O 2015 to give us a glimpse of what’s in store. At the core, there are 6 major updates and they are as follows:

App permissions
A major change in the app permission process and simplified functioning has been added to Android M. Burke said, “You don’t have to agree to permissions that don’t make sense to you.” Basically, you can now choose if you want to accept or deny each permission, which will only be asked at the first time you try to use a feature and not during installation. This enables the user to be in control of the information that the app can access. The permissions can of course be edited at any point in time from Settings.

Chrome Custom Tabs
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.” Burke said. To provide better user experience, Chrome has monitored trends and analyzed content consumption over websites and apps.

CCT is a feature that makes connecting information an efficient and intuitive experience. It allows the user to open a chrome tab over an app, without having to launch the Chrome. This basically means that your device will not be strained with command to open a separate, saving processing time and in turn giving the user a much quicker option for switching between the web and apps.

Fingerprint scanning
Google has now chosen to make fingerprint support a standard for all devices running Marshmallow supported hardware. This means that the fingerprint scanners can now be used to make purchases online or in the real world, apart from unlocking the device. This only means that fingerprint scanners will soon be a feature on almost all smart devices.

Android pay
Google’s new mobile payments system is here and it is their response to Apple Pay designed for a better and faster experience at checkout. You can use Android pay in more than 700,000 stores in the US. It allows you to use your credit card to pay for any product in these stores, whether its American Express, Visa, MasterCard or Discover, if you have an android device that runs on KitKat 4.4 or above, the Android Pay will be supported.

Smart Battery and charging
The newest function on Android Marshmallow to help you save battery effectively is being called Doze. It works with the help of motion detectors to analyze that the device has been idle and not been interacted with, it reduces background processes. Burke said that in a test between the Android M and L on two Nexus 9 devices, the device running Marshmallow gave double the amount of standby time. Marshmallow comes with full support for the USB Type-C, giving you the power to charge faster and alternatively use the phone to charge other devices.

Smarter App links
One great feature is in the details of the Android M, many might not even realize it at first, but app links can now open directly with the app that supports the content of the link. You will not have to go through the process of selecting app to open any link. Just a tap on the link will open in the app that supports its content. Which means if you have a Facebook link and you tap on it, you will not have to go through a prompt asking to open with the Facebook app, it will automatically open it.

Better Cut, Copy and Paste
The icons that appear when you select any text on an Android device, are thankfully gone. By gone we mean replaced by Cut, Copy and Paste appearing right next to the selected text. Thanks to Marshmallow, we can now cut, copy and paste text with much less confusion.

These were the major updates and features of the Android 6.0 Marshmallow, however, there’s more. Auto backup and restore for apps is a cool new feature that will automatically backup data up to 25 MB on Google Drive. The app drawer has been overhauled too, with a white background and four most used apps right on a separate top section. The RAM manager is all new and allows the user to visually check app performance, thereby allowing to determine app efficiency. All this and more will be available on Android devices starting October 5th for Nexus devices, HTC One M9 and M8 , and a whole bunch of other One M phones by the beginning end of 2015, which roughly means around November end or December beginning, no confirmed dates for Sony Xperia, and Samsung hasn’t made any announcements either.


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