Android Marshmallow’s Best New Features

Calling all campers, backpackers, and sweet-tooths! Gather round the campfire for story time, and let me tell you a tale that has yet to unfold. Google’s anticipated Android M has been officially announced as… drum roll please… Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

Think you can sink your teeth into this one?

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The Android Developers Blog (image below) gave us some new information about updates, but the release date is still a bit unclear. They’ve been saying “autumn” and “late fall” for some time now, which could mean any multitude of dates. But while we’re waiting for that exact day to be announced, let’s focus on what we do know: new product features!

The overall theme is simplicity; instead of building a whole new design, Google says it’s going back to basics to work on refining existing features. Google’s announcement focused on two main updates— app permissions and the fingerprint scanner— but we’ll address a few more exciting updates as well. Here we go.

Simplified Permissions

Here’s what Google said about the update: “Final Permissions User Interface — we updated the permissions user interface and enhanced some of the permissions behavior.”

So what exactly did Google do? User-facing app permission controls, what many are calling granular app permissions, will now sit in specific categories, like Camera, Location, and Sensor. Basically, you’ll be able to grant access to different things exactly the way you want it, and as they happen.

Until now, you granted access to everything upon installation in bulk, with no control over what you were approving. What if you want your s’more with just marshmallow, and no chocolate? Now you can choose! (Although why you would ever want to do that is beyond me. You weirdo.)

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To showcase the new feature, Google used WhatsApp as an example. Before using the microphone for a voice call, an app permission will appear asking if you want to use the feature. You can grant apps permission for different things, and you’re able to view and modify permissions to which you’ve already granted access.

Fingerprint Scanner

Here’s what Google said about the update: “Updates to the Fingerprint API – which enables better error reporting, better fingerprint enrollment experience, plus enumeration support for greater reliability.”

So, the fingerprint scanner works better, is built directly into Android now, and Google will allow developers to add fingerprint support to any app, including Android Pay.

Speaking of Android Pay…

Android Pay

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Android Pay is Google’s new mobile payment app to replace Google Wallet. You’ll be able to walk into a store, tap your phone at an NFC terminal, and BOOM! All paid up (in a much easier way than Google Wallet did).

The cool thing here is that it creates a virtual account number for you, which means your actual card number isn’t shared with the retailer, aiming to make the process more secure (remind anyone of Paypal?).

Google Now

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Watching a video on YouTube and want to know something about the artist? Hold down the Home button for more info. Texting with a friend about going to the art museum? Hold down the Home button for hours, location, etc.

Google Now gives contextual info about whatever you’re doing on your phone screen. What. Is. This. Life.

USB Type C

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A quicker, easier, more versatile charging method that is now supported by Android. You can find out more about USB-C here.


To help battery life last longer, Doze recognizes when your phone is in a resting state and conserves power in an intelligent new way.

So there you have it, the big new features that Android Marshmallow is going to bring. It may not seem like much, but again, keep in mind this update is all about simplicity and adding things that will truly be useful instead of just bells and whistles.

Want to get your hands on this gooey goodness? If you’re a developer, you can download the preview SDK. And for the rest of us mere cub scouts, it’s expected that Google will release two Nexus devices (a 2015 version of the Nexus 5, built by LG, and an updated Nexus 6, built by Huawei), both with fingerprint scanners. I love fingerprints on my marshmallows!

 Which new features are you excited for? Let us know below in the comments!

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