Google, after months of waiting, has now released the next version of its mobile operating system-Android Marshmallow. And interestingly the next update has been numbered Android 6.0 on the contrary to the previously speculated Android 5.2.
Google at I/O 2015 announced the new features that are included in Android Marshmallow to spruce up your smartphones and tablets. And we have listed the 10 features you can look forward to with the next build of Android. Take a look.
Chrome Custom Tabs
Many a times, you click a link in an app and it redirects you to the default browser (like Chrome, Opera etc) or opens the link on the in-app browser. But the makers of the Android 6.0 have allowed the app makers to integrate Chrome tabs into their apps, but retain the app’s customized look. Even if the link is of external website, the app makers can retain the original look of the app like the toolbar colour, enter & exit animations and custom actions as well as overflow menu.
One of the important uses for the app makers is that the users can stay within the app and gets a seamless experience. For the users, Custom Chrome Tabs saves them the trouble of logging into websites they are already connected to or authenticate permissions more than once. Moreover, this feature has provision to pre-fetch content, so autofill data and passwords can be entered with just a tap.
Google Now on Tap
Android Marshmallow comes with on the important features is Google Now on Tap. Google has took it to the next level to make it more pervasive as most of the smartphones have as search app. This feature enables you to pull up Google Now to make a quick search across any app while using smartphone. Users will have to select any section on the screen, for example any particular text on the screen and Google Now on Tap will bring you any relevant information, including context-based definations.
Fingerprint support goes native
Smartphone manufacturers, like Samsung, HTC, OnePlus, Oppo etc, have been using fingerprint sensors in their smartphones for quite some time, Google ha included fingerprint sensor in the Android 6.0. The new Nexus phones also feature a fingerprint sensor.
The features adds a new security options and also a new security layer to all smartphones (if manufacturers want to add this feature, that is) but also allow payment authentication via Android Pay.
Moreover, fingerprint support can be added to other apps as password for logins.
USB Type-C and faster charging
Google is now replacing microUSB with USB type C which was used as the standard for the Android smartphones. With the Android Marshmallow update USB Type-C will replace the microUSB. Google’s new Nexus 5X and 6P also come with USB Type-C.
This feature makes users convenient to insert the cable either ways, (like Apple’s Lightning adapter). Type-C comes with two other advantages: It allows for faster data transfer rates and charges devices faster. In fact, Google says USB Type-C can charge products up to 3-5 times faster than the current crop of microUSB chargers.
Battery life enhancements
Although, Android Lollipop’s Project Volta couldn’t bring as much battery life improvement as promised by Google, but the company has certainly brought a solution with Android Marshmallow’s Doze feature. This feature puts your smartphone to a near-off state when it has been idle for a long time.
In Google’s tests, battery life of Android 6.0’s Doze doubled as compared to Android 5.0 on the same device with the same apps. Though Doze allows important notifications and alarms to pass, it does not let apps refresh in the background, so you won’t be able to get key updates as soon as you pick up your phone after a while.
Google has brought some changes to app permissions with Android 6.0. Marshmallow which allows users to accept or deny permissions to apps as when they are updated; for instance, if an app you download wants to access your camera, you can choose to deny to that requirement while approving the others. This is contrary to current step, where users will have to accept all permissions if, you want to download an app.
Users will have options to either accept or deny those changes If an app adds new features and wants to access more of your phone’s hardware. Android 6.0 Marshmallow also allows you to revisit app permissions; for example, you denied any particular permission initially, you can go in settings and accept it later.
Google is trying to introduce a new feature called Direct Share with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, however, sharing on Android is already pretty convenient.
Though we are yet know a lot about this feature yet, what we know is that Direct Share will enable apps to share content (for example images) to specific contacts with just one click.
So, if you share stuff with particular contacts frequently, the software will recognize this behaviour and show those contacts on top. It is expected that the APIs will allow for more features, but it will eventually depend on the app makers to integrate them.
New boot animation
With Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Google is bringing in a little change to the boot animation that will show four colourful circles moving about and morphing into various shapes before settling into the Android logo.
Earlier, the Android 5.0 Lollipop boot animation, that had four colourful spheres bouncing about for a few seconds before turning into the Android logo.
To counter Apple pay and Samsung Pay, Android 6.0 Marshmallow will bring in Android Pay, an NFC-based payment system. However, it will be launched with Android Marshmallow, and it will still be available for devices running on Android 4.4 and above.
Based on Google Wallet, this feature allows you to save your credit cards and loyalty cards in one place. When you want to make a transaction, you will be able to authenticate the transaction via your fingerprint or via your virtual card number (given by Android Pay while registering).
While most custom Android skins allow users to personalize the toggles in the notifications drawer, it is still not a native feature for Google’s mobile operating system.
That is, however, about to change with Android Marshmallow, as users will be able to customize the toggles they want on Nexus devices as well (along with any other smartphone that runs on the stock version of Android 6.0).