Recently Google announced that the upcoming version of its operating system will be numbered Android 6.0 and called Marshmallow. The announcements killed loads of rumors and speculations surrounding Android M, the developer preview unveiled by Google on 28th May 2015. Google has announced that the final version of Marshmallow will be released in fall 2015. But several websites have reported that the final version of Android will be released in October.
Google has already revealed several new features while unveiling Android M in May. Also, the company has already released three developer preview versions of Marshmallow to facilitate mobile app development. Based on the developer preview versions released by Google, one can easily identify some of the new features included in Android 6.0 Marshmallow. So both users and developers are currently excited by the new features included in the final version of Marshmallow.
10 Features Users can expect from Android 6.0 Marshmallow
1) Android Pay
Google is completely revamping its mobile payment service to compete with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. The revamped Android Pay included in Marshmallow uses a near field communication (NFC) terminal. A user can now buy products from any member store and make the payment simply by clicking on the NFC terminal. He can further securely make payment by creating a virtual account number without revealing debit and credit card numbers. The Android developers have to include Android Pay in mobile apps to facilitate in-app purchases and mobile commerce transactions.
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2) Enhanced Google Now
The virtual assistant from Google makes Android score over other mobile operating systems. Android 6.0 will include an improved Google Now that will allow users to get more relevant, contextual, and useful information about the content currently running on the device. For instance, a user can use Google Now to gather additional information about YouTube videos running on his screen. He has to hold down the home button to gather useful information and suggestions about the video clip.
3) Permission to Access Phone Features
While downloading an app, one has to grant permission to access various features of the devices like a speaker, camera, sensor, and location. Android 6.0 divides all app permissions into specific categories like camera, sensor, and location. This implies that while downloading the app, it is no longer necessary to grant permission. The app will ask permission to use a specific feature before performing a specific function. For instance, when you try to make a call through WhatsApp, the application will ask you for permission to use the speaker each time you make a call. And hence you must grant permission to access the speaker each time you want to call using WhatsApp.
4) Option to Add Fingerprint Support
While developing apps for Marshmallow, developers now have added the option to use fingerprint support. Google has included a biometric API in the mobile operating system to create apps with fingerprint support. The feature will help android development professionals to make apps more secure and personalized. At the same time, fingerprint support will further enable users to make payments through Android Pay in a more secure way.
Android 6.0 will also come with a new feature called Doze to boost the device’s battery life. Doze will optimize power conservation by identifying if the device is in a rested state. Google claims that it has already tested the effectiveness of the feature to make the battery life two times longer when the device is in standby mode. Doze will enable fewer background services, but it will not affect incoming instant messages, notifications, or alarms.
6) USB Type C
Marshmallow will further support USB Type C to make it easier for users to charge their smartphones and tablets. The universal and widely-used connection type can connect all peripherals of the device and provide power to it. The latest versions of MacBook and other devices already support USB Type C. USB Type C will help charge the devices much faster than legacy micro USB chargers.
7) Track Memory
Mobile apps are mostly hated because they use additional memory on the device, affecting its battery life. Some of these memory-hungry apps are uninstalled right away to boost the devices’ performance. Android 6.0 makes it easier for users to identify the apps that consume more memory through the Track Memory feature. They can use the feature to check cache, installation, and similar memory taken by a specific app. They can even check how frequently the app is running. So it becomes essential for developers to ensure that the mobile applications consume minimal memory.
8) Option to Run Apps Side by Side
The large screen available on the tablets encourages many users to run two apps simultaneously. With Android 6.0, it becomes easier to run two apps side by side on a tablet by splitting the entire screen. While other mobile operating systems already have this feature in place, this new feature will enable users to access multiple apps at a time regardless of their choice of device.
9) Chrome Custom Tabs
Marshmallow will additionally come with several features to enhance users’ mobile web experience. They now can use the Chrome Custom Tab feature to open a web view that will load on top of the mobile app. So, they are no longer required to open the web browser to access the web view. The feature enables them to access web content directly on the app’s custom tab created on top. The tabs will further support common features like password saving, auto-fill, and automatic sign-in.
The two new features included in Marshmallow seem simple and minor. But they will help the mobile platform to enhance UX significantly. Direct Share feature will enable the device to identify with who the users frequently share content. Thus, they can share content with regular contacts simply by pressing a single button. Likewise, the Floating Toolbar will make copying and pasting content from various documents and web pages easier.
However, the users have to initially switch to specific mobile devices to take advantage of Marshmallow and its new features. The developer preview versions of the mobile operating system are currently available only for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and Nexus Player. But the hype surrounding the updated version of the most popular mobile operating system will encourage many manufacturers to launch new devices without any delay.