Android Marshmallow: 5 key features to know about

18 Aug 2015

The five key features you need to know about before Android 6.0 - aka Android Marshmallow - arrives later in the year.

Google has previewed Android 6.0 — Android M (for Marshmallow) — which will compete with Apple’s iOS 9 and raise the stakes in the smartphone business.

Android Marshmallow is coming, and last night Google revealed the SDK for developers to upgrade their apps for when the new OS arrives in the autumn.

Google is also understood to be working on two new Nexus smartphone devices that showcase the new operating system.

There’s a lot at stake for Google, whose Android OS is installed on more than 80pc of the world’s smartphones.

In order for the end-of-year’s array of smartphone devices to compete with the forthcoming iPhone 6+, key features like fingerprint recognition for better security and app permissions will be key.

So what’s new in Android Marshmallow?

1. Doze/Power Saving

Doze is a new set of behaviours for making sure apps don’t suck your battery life. It will also detect the lack of motion, for example if your phone is by your bedside, and will enter a new kind of deep sleep mode that will ensure your battery isn’t drained while you aren’t using the device.

2. Quick Fingerprint Access

Fingerprint Recognition is now standard on Samsung smartphones, for example, but now it is about to go through the entire Android ecosystem, enabling you to use your fingerprint to okay the downloading of new apps, for example, from the Play Store. I can imagine this being seen as a godsend for many parents wary of their kids downloading apps with malware or money-grubbing adware.

3. Auto Backup

If Google Photos was an example of what’s possible in the Google ecosystem – automatic backup of high-res photos – then Auto Backup is a step into the future. Android M automatically backs up all user data and settings onto Google Drive, storing up to 25MB of data per app.

4. Track Memory

Android M seems to be all about getting the most out of your device and the Track Memory feature will let you know which of your apps is using the most memory. A new memory tab will show you how much memory each app is taking up and monitor how much memory they are running.

5. App Permissions

App Permissions is designed to give users better control over what functions apps they download can access. For example, users can now have granular control over whether apps can access information such as images, contacts, location and more. Users can also disable permissions on existing apps, such as location.

Android Marshmallow image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years