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Android Marshmallow: Key features and improvements in the new OS

Android Marshmallow is now official! Clearly, the first devices to run the sixth iteration of Android will be the newly launched Nexus smartphones – Huawei Nexus 6P and LG Nexus 5X. In addition, the OS will be rolled out to the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player as well.

The final version arrives after three developer preview releases to eradicate all bugs. Even though the company unveiled Android 6.0 during I/O in May this year, yesterday’s Nexus event offered some more insights and details on the new operating system.

Let’s take a quick look on what we know about Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

Now on Tap

Let’s begin with the standout feature for Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The new Google Now on Tap is a predictive assistant which will take on Google Now. This feature will allow users to get useful information on anything currently running on the phone.

One will have to press and hold the home button while inside of any app, and Google Now will read the screen, look for anything interesting and then return the information via a popup box on the bottom screen.

This feature may turn out to be a hit with users, as it turns out to be an incredible and convenient feature. This feature will be incorporated in future Android versions as well.

App Permissions

The App Permissions got a major overhaul and Google will allow users to decide which permissions they want to allow or revoke, based on when those particular functions are used. Unlike the current implementation, Android Marshmallow users will get notifications asking for permissions only when they are using a particular function in an app.

Google has identified eight parameters including location, camera, contacts and so on, to help you give permissions for these. Also, app updates will also not ask you for permissions off the bat, unless you are using a feature which needs you to grant that particular app some permission.

Better web experience with Chrome Custom tabs

The web browsing experience with the Chrome browser also gets a shot in the arm. Chrome Custom tabs, a new feature, that will let you include web-views within a particular app, without the need to switch to the Chrome browser on your phone. The Chrome browser will run atop your app (in case you click on any link within the app).

Features such as automatic sign-in, saved passwords, autofill will work on the apps seamlessly. Also the Chrome Custom tab will take up the colours and fonts of the app it is being opened within, to make it seem like a seamless experience.

Android Pay

This feature will let you make your payments using near-field communication (NFC) and host card emulation techniques for tap-to-pay services. You just need to unlock your phone, keep it near an NFC terminal and your payment is done, without opening any app. As of this month, Android Pay has been rolled out in more than 1 million locations in the United States

According to Google, Android Pay will be pre-installed on AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile devices and will be accepted in around 700,000 stores in the US which accept contact-less payment. Android Pay will replace the Google Wallet app and will be used to make in-app payments provided developers integrate Pay into their apps.

Fingerprint Support

Android M will standardise the fingerprint sensor support and it is working with various phones to make a standard API to go with their sensors. You can use your fingerprint to authorise an Android Pay transaction, unlock your device or make Play Store purchases.


In an attempt to boost your smartphone battery, Android Marshmallow will feature a smart power-managing feature called Doze. This feature works by letting system optimally manage the background processes. The new OS keeps a tab on the motion detection sensor and if there is no activity for a long time, the system shuts down some processes.

According to the company, the Nexus 9 was put to test and the battery lasted twice as longer in standby mode by using lesser background features.

USB Type-C

Android Marshmallow will also support USB Type-C for charging. Considering USB Type-C is has a bi-directional port, you can use this port to either charge the phone as well as charge another device. With USB Type-C, devices can be charged faster and this makes it a more versatile charging technique.


1. Apart from these main features, some of the other improvements include a better implementation of Copy/Paste function. So in Android  Marshmallow, you will get a floating toolbar just above your selection with the Cut, Copy, Paste options. Direct Share feature will let you share images or links with your most frequently shared contacts or apps, using a single click.

2. Volume controls will also give you a drop-down menu, a feature that is common in the Cyanogen OS.

3. In addition, the new Marshmallow will offer a new app drawer which will now scroll vertically instead of horizontally. Top of the menu will also offer the four most recently used apps.

4. Google also introduced a new RAM Manager which will aim at providing users with a more concrete information regarding the RAM usage of apps. This feature will offer more deeper insights on app demands along with an overall explanation of what effect they have on the device.
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