Six tasty reasons to get Android Marshmallow
It's shaping up to be a sweet month for Android users.
Those who rely the world's most popular operating system can expect a new update late in October, Android 6.0, codenamed "Marshmallow." As you likely know, Google choose confectionary names for its OS versions, such as "Ice Cream Sandwich" (Android 4.0), "Jelly Bean" (Android 4.1 to 4.3.1), "KitKat" (Android 4.4) and "Lollipop" (Android 5.0 to 5.1.1).
Building upon its predecessors, Android 6.0 introduces a number of improvements and new features tied to the overall user experience.
It’ll rollout first on new Nexus phones this week, but the free update for other Android devices will be handled by the smartphone or tablet maker – and that can take a few weeks or even longer.
Until then, be aware there's "s'more to love with Marshmallow," teases Google. Badum-bum.
It's true. Here's a quick look at what to expect.
1. What's on tap?
With Android 6.0, simply tap and hold the Home button to activate "Now on Tap," which provides contextually-relevant info and apps tied to what you're doing on the phone.
For example, if you're typing a message to someone about meeting up tomorrow at a café, Now on Tap might show you icons to add the appointment to your calendar, bring up a map of the location, or perhaps a review of the restaurant.
In other words, Now on Tap aims to give you related info without having to leave whatever you're doing. Give this handy shortcut feature a try in an app or on a website.
2. Power play-+
We all know the Achilles' heel of every smartphone: battery life.
Fortunately, engineers are finding ways to optimize the battery, so you can squeeze more time on your smartphone between charges.
Android 6.0 has a "Doze" feature that automatically puts the device into a sleep state – yet it will still ring if a call comes in, as well as alert you to messages, and wake you up on the AM.
A complimentary setting called App Standby limits the battery drain on seldom-used apps, says Android.
3. Time saver
Don't you hate it when every app you install asks you to grant it the same permissions, like access to your camera, microphone, location, and so on? Android 6.0 makes it easier to turn permissions on and off, and if on, you get to choose what you want to share and when.
Speaking of convenience, simplify the authentication process by using your fingerprint instead of remembering a password. Now you can use your fingertip or thumb to unlock your phone and shop on Google Play, Android Pay, log into banking and shopping apps, and more.
4. Work it out
Marshmallow offers some delicious ways to get more done in less time.
For one, the keyboard has been refined with commonly-used buttons now easily accessible, such as undo/redo keys, and a new "translate" option to convert words from one language to another on the fly (though it requires the Google Translateapp).
The new operating system also supports a Bluetooth stylus, including pressure sensitivity and modifier keys, to let you write or sketch in various apps.
Need to print something but care about the environment? Save paper with built-in duplex printing support – if your printer supports it, that is.
5. Ready to rock
Switching devices? No sweat, as Android 6.0 makes it easy to transfer your accounts, apps and data over to a new Android device.
On a related note, you'll now have the option for your apps to auto backup (and restore), just in case something happens to your device -- such as if it's lost, stolen, or damaged.
Previously unavailable during the backup/restore process, Android 6.0 now supports advanced system settings such as your Accessibility settings, sync options, preferred apps, and more.
When setting up Android 6.0, you can add additional personal or corporate emails accounts (such as an IMAP account).
6. Handy helpers
A few miscellaneous ways Android 6.0 Marshmallow is a tasty upgrade:
-- New "Do Not Disturb" rules and options, such as allowing a call to ring through if someone calls twice within 15 minutes.
-- Simplified volume controls now let you easily manage music, alarm and notification volume from anywhere, by pressing your volume keys.
-- Rather than URLs that take you to the mobile website, app links are also supported, which can takes you directly to a specific app.
-- Finally, the Google Now launcher list includes predictive app suggestions, faster alphabetic scrolling, and other refinements.