Google announced that it will push the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow out to several Nexus devices today. The latest version of Android contains several new features exclusive to the new OS. These new features make Android a more secure platform, while also attempting to be more helpful to end-users and improve the battery life of all devices that use it.
The Strike Against Cortana And Siri
One of the new features implemented by Google in Android 6.0 Marshmallow is clearly meant to undermine Microsoft's new Cortana software, and Apple's Siri. Although Google already offered several applications that performed the same functions as Cortana in part, the new "Now on Tap" feature takes things one step further. This new feature is capable of searching for related information about places you are going or other things you are doing. For example, if you were going to the Central Park Zoo to meet a friend, the application could provide information about the zoo, directions, offer shortcuts, set dates, and perform other helpful tasks.
To help secure your device against theft and malicious applications, Google also implemented a few new security features. Smartphones can be configured to lock using a fingerprint sensor, preventing anyone but you from accessing it. The fingerprint sensor can also be used to lock applications so that you can only use applications or complete transactions in the Google Play Store by verifying your identity via fingerprint.
Compared to older versions of Android, users will have significantly more control over what third party applications can access. Users can lock down the contacts, location, microphone and storage device inside of the smart device. This should help prevent malicious software from stealing information or from impairing the devices usability.
Google also reported that users should expect to see increased battery life on devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The improved battery life comes from a change in the power conservation states used on the device. Google claimed that in a test using Nexus 5s and Nexus 6s devices with the display turned off, the devices running Marshmallow lasted on average 30 percent longer. The OS is also programmed to put seldom used apps into a "reduced activity" state, which will also help to conserve battery life even with the phone is in use.
Another helpful feature that this new version of Android implements is a fast setup ability. This will allow users to skip most of the setup process when first initializing devices. This feature is especially useful for users who customize their phones with homebrewed firmware. App developers will also benefit significantly from this fast setup ability, as it can take several minutes to setup a tablet. This isn't a major issue for end-users, but after you reset the system a few dozen times, that starts to add up.
Things Are About To Get Hot And Sticky
Starting today, users who own a Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7 (2013), Nexus 9 or Nexus Player will be able to download the update straight to their devices. The upcoming Nexus 5X and 6P expected to launch in the near future will naturally come with Android 6.0 Marshmallow pre-installed.