Announced during Google’s I/O developer conference, Android Marshmallow (or Android 6.0) introduces several key new features to the smartphone and tablet operating system. From Google Doze, which claims to be able double battery life, to downloadable Google Maps, the successor to Android Lollipop promises plenty to get exited about. Read on for our verdict on its five most important innovations.
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Android Marshmallow – five key features
1) Google Doze – Sometimes during the day you’ll use your smartphone or tablet a lot, at others you’ll barely touch it. By using motion detection, Google Doze is designed to detect these lulls in activity and preserve an Android device’s battery life accordingly.
If it seems you haven’t touched your device for a while, such as while you’re sleeping, then Doze will power down all but Android’s most essential functions. According to Google, the effects on battery life can be dramatic. It’s claimed a Nexus 9 running Android Marshmallow lasted up to two times longer in standby than the same tablet running last year’s Lollipop.
2) App permissions – No doubt you’ve been asked to agree to a whole roster of permissions when installing a new app on your phone. The likelihood is that you hit ‘yes’ and hoped for the best, but sensibly Google is partly putting control back into your hands by letting you OK or dismiss permissions as the app tried to use them. Therefore, if an app wants to use your phone’s wi-fi or microphone you’ll be able to deny it access should you wish.
3) Now on Tap – Google Now, the company’s digital assistant, is set to get a major overhaul by way of Now on Tap. By monitoring what you’re currently looking at on your phone Now on Tap can pull relevant information to you if you hold down the home button. This might, for example, pull-up a YouTube trailer of a film a friend has just texted you about, or reservation details of a restaurant a friend might mention.
4) Offline maps – Using Google Maps as a sat nav alternative works pretty well, but its inability to search for a destination without having internet can be problematic if you’re in a remote location or abroad. Soon, though, you’ll be able to download maps of various countries for use offline meaning you’ll no longer need an internet connection to reach your destination.
5) Google Photos – Available right now, but destined to be a large part of Android Marshmallow, Google Photos will back up an unlimited amount of photos online and also store your videos. You’ll also be able to sort your image collection by location or people so finding that one perfect photo is more streamlined than ever.
Android Marshmallow – Now with Android Pay
Android Pay, much like Apple Pay, allows you to use your iPhone to pay for goods via NFC (in a very similar way to how you can now tap an NFC enabled debit card to pay). There’s no word on when the feature will become available in the UK but, once it does, users will be able to add details of their debit or credit card to their phone and simply tap it on a contactless terminal at the check-out to pay.
The process will require you to tap in your phone’s password and there will be a limit of £20, although this could soon increase to £30 per transaction. We’ll bring you all the details once Google announces more details of what to expect from Android Pay in the UK – and when to expect it.