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An early look at Android Marshmallow: what to expect from the new version of Android

Google’s confectionary-themed update cycle for Android is about to progress to the next level with Android 6.0 - aka ‘M’ or ‘Marshmallow’. If you own an Android phone, it could be about to receive a free facelift so here’s a brief rundown of what to expect…

What is Android Marshmallow?

The operating system on your mobile basically manages everything; if it’s doing its job properly, you can switch between different tasks and find what you’re looking for with no major hassle. It also determines the look and feel of your phone. Unless you’ve got an iPhone or a Windows phone, your operating system is almost certainly Android.

Each year, Android tends to get a big update. Last year it was codenamed Lollipop; this year it’s Marshmallow.

Android Marshmallow

So will it make any difference to my phone?

It’s being billed as ‘Google’s most powerful release yet’ – but then again, they say something similar every year. If the early indications are correct though, it seems this release will consist of a handful of useful developments that go beyond just tinkering with the way your icons are arranged. Here are three of the bigger changes that seem to be on the cards…

Android

Android Pay

Google launched a mobile payment back in 2011 – but it never really got off the ground. Fast forward to the Google Developers’ Conference earlier this year and we saw the unveiling of Android Pay. Taking its cue from the rival Apple Pay, this promises to let you pay for goods and services via contactless terminals in shops. But it needs the right software to support it – and this is expected to be a big part of Marshmallow.

Linked to this, Android Marshmallow will apparently usher in native fingerprint support. So long as developers actually come up with apps to make use of this, it means that when you’re buying things online, you’ll be able to confirm purchases with your fingerprint. In a nutshell, Marshmallow could mean that manually entering credit card details is about to become a thing of the past.

The Google Now app gets easier to use…

Google Now is billed as your personal assistant – telling you where you should be going, what you should be doing and generally pointing out stuff you might be interested in. Marshmallow aims to make this feature more accessible by letting you use it to raise a query – even if you’ve got another app open. This could be handy if you’re messaging or emailing someone and want to call up directions to pass on without leaving the message screen.

Google now

Increased use of voice controls

Expect the new update to usher in better voice control. This is already a big part of Google Now – and you could be about to see it become a bigger feature in lots of other apps you use. This is thanks to Google’s Voice Interaction API which makes it easier for app developers to include voice controls in their offerings. Marshmallow is expected to include support for this.

So when will I get it?

The launch is expected in some point in September. It’s usually the case that phones and tablets that run on unskinned versions of Android – e.g. the Nexus range and Motorola mobiles are first in line for updates. Where manufacturers have applied lots of tweaks to the basic Android interface (e.g. the Samsung Galaxy series), owners generally have to wait a little longer. Expect the roll-out to start in earnest towards the end of the year.

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Google’s confectionary-themed update cycle for Android is about to progress to the next level with Android 6.0 - aka ‘M’ or ‘Marshmallow’. If you own an Android phone, it could be about to receive a free facelift so here’s a brief rundown of what to expect…

What is Android Marshmallow?

The operating system on your mobile basically manages everything; if it’s doing its job properly, you can switch between different tasks and find what you’re looking for w


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