The web giant Google officially released its new version of android mobile operating system, Android 6.0 named as "Marshmallow" in October 2015 under the code name Android M.
In this ever changing environment of IT and software sector, it’s very much important for the IT industry to keep themselves up-to-date. Android Marshmallow is the result of this fact. Google launched this new mobile OS to improve users experience from its previous operating systems and to compete with other upcoming technology and companies. Marshmallow has an all new features, advance architecture and better battery performance which enables users to meet their requirements in a much easier and faster manner than it was possible earlier. The major changes in this new mobile operating system from its previous version “Lollipop” is discussed below:
Now your smartphones with Android 6.0 will continuously keep on asking you to either Allow or Deny a particular permission that wants to access a service or some part of your mobile phone. This has been done because Google does not wants its user to go through loads of permissions while they either download or install some app or perform some other task. Thus google decided not to front-load all those permissions at the beginning of the installation of the app instead it ask for particular permissions when the app wants to access them.
No doubt this feature is a bit absurd on user point of view as the permissions keeps on popping quite frequently and may be irritating for the user but at the same time it makes users aware of what their apps are doing and how. But on the developer’s point of view, it’s better because now their apps and services are downloaded and installed in a greater number than before.
Developer Friendly Android:
Marshmallow has been designed as such that it makes developers even more comfortable to build applications for corporate than it was earlier. The major changes incorporated into Android 6.0 are, the DevicePolicyManager class which incorporates methods such as setKeyguardDisabled() and setStatusBarDisabled(), which allow significant improvements in the use of corporate-owned, single-use (COSU) devices. Third-party applications can also call a number of DevicePolicyManager methods, allowing more flexibility in COSU app design. Along with all these, system updates can now be automatically accepted or postponed by setting a system update policy with DevicePolicyManager.setSystemUpdatePolicy(). Disabling/re-enabling safe boot, and preventing plugged in devices’ screen from turning off provides a better experience.
Sharing was never so easy:
Marshmallow users can now directly share content to targets within other apps using the Share menu. These APIs help make sharing quick and intuitive for users. To enable direct share targets, you must define a class that extends the android.service.chooser.ChooserTargetService class, and declare your ChooserTargetService in the manifest. Within that declaration, specify the BIND_CHOOSER_TARGET_SERVICE permission and an intent filter with the SERVICE_INTERFACE action. These Additional features of Marshmallow makes it a worth for upgrading.
Custom Chrome Tabs:
The Chrome browser also gets modified in this latest release. The web browsing experience of the users with the Chrome browser will get better. Chrome Custom tabs, a new feature has been added that will let you include webviews within a particular app, without the need to switch to the Chrome browser on your phone. Features such as automatic sign-in, saved passwords, autofill will work on the apps seamlessly. Also the Chrome Custom tab will take up the colors and fonts of the app it is being opened within. This will make the new Android more interactive and handy to use.
Along with the above said features, Marshmallow also provides its users a unique feature of fingerprint authentication. To use this feature in your app, you will first need to add the USE_FINGERPRINT permission in your manifest. Authenticating users via fingerprint, you needs to scan using a device with a compatible fingerprint sensor and get an instance of the new android.hardware.fingerprint.FingerprintManager class and call the FingerprintManager.authenticate() method. You must also implement the user interface for the fingerprint authentication on your app, and use the standard Android fingerprint icon in your UI.
Google’s Voice Search is another feature added to Marshmallow. This voice search uses an entirely new user interface with four colored dots which become a waveform and then rotate as your voice request I picked up and processed. This voice search is generally quite accurate and responses depending upon your internet speed and the search term.
The app drawer in Marshmallow has been changed to a vertical scrolling list. Lollipop has a paginated horizontal list app drawer which is criticized by many users and hence Google reorganized its app drawer UI to scrolling list for better accessibility in Marshmallow. Along with this scrolling drawer it also has a new scrubber bar on the right to jump to a particular letter of the alphabet while looking for a particular app plus you can also search for an app from the dedicated app search bar that’s accessible via the keyboard or voice.
Now on Tap:
Another trendy feature of Marshmallow is the “Tap” feature. Long-pressing the home button causes a white line to trace its way around the screen and once that's done, Google tries to figure out what you're looking at and gives you related information about it. But still, launching this feature on web page is not that much helpful as Google doesn’t always provide the result which you are seeking for. But we cannot blame Google for this drawback as this feature is in its early stage of development and will surely be improved in due course of time.
Hence these are some of the features that Marshmallow has and which makes it a unique mobile operating system in its own way. The main aim is to make user friendlier with the environment on which he’s working and Google no doubt has achieved this aim. Marshmallow is more dynamic, active, and pleasant to use than lollipop and thus it is assumed that it will set a benchmark.