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Why Android 6.0 Marshmallow is an even bigger deal than Google’s letting on

Published Aug 28th, 2015 4:40PM EDT
Android 6.0 Marshmallow New Features
Image: Droid Life

Both iOS 9 and Android 6.0 Marshmallow have been tagged as incremental upgrades that are mostly looking to add stability improvements without overwhelming us with new features. But Android fan Salman Ahmad makes the case that Marshmallow is actually a bigger deal than a lot of people — including Google — are giving it credit for being.

FROM EARLIER: If Apple had released the flawed Galaxy Note 5…

To back up his point, he lists dozens of new features that are coming to Marshmallow that should have Android users excited. Here they are:

• Now on Tap
• Permissions Management
• SD Cards can be “merged” with internal storage
• Android Pay
• Native fingerprint authentication
• Automatic app data backups
• App Links (you’re going to see less of those “what do you want to open this in?” prompts)
• Doze and App Standby
• Multi Window(currently hidden, uncertain future)
• Theming support(currently hidden, uncertain future)
• Dark theme(removed, uncertain future)
• Customisable Quick Toggles along with other UI tweaking
• Visual Voicemail Support
• Redesign of the Clock Widget and Music Identification Widget
• New “Memory” Section in Settings(it was there before, but hidden)
• Support for deleting screenshots directly through the notification centre after they’ve been taken
• Landscape mode available for the Google Now Launcher(feature will likely be backported to older versions of Android)
• New app and widget drawer with scroll bar support and vertical scrolling
• Built-In File Manager receives a bump in functionality
• Native tap to wake support
• Ability to disable “heads up” or “peeking” notifications
• Native 4K output support
• Stricter APK validation
• MIDI support
• USB Type C support
• New boot animation
• Introduction of a “voice interaction” API to allow better interaction with voice actions in apps
• Toggling battery saver by voice
• Ability to undo and redo text changes with bluetooth keyboard shortcuts
• Multi-selection to merge, delete or share has been added in the contacts application
• Faster text selection along with a floating toolbar for text actions
• Default apps UI
• Direct share can allow you directly share stuff with contacts through the share menu
• Much more granular app info
• Native bluetooth stylus support
• Split-screen keyboard
• Mobile radio active bug will be fixed
• Better do not disturb along with repeat caller exceptions
• Bluetooth scanning to improve location accuracy
• Native flashlight API
• Easier access to Multi volume controls(ringer, media, alarm)
• Smoother volume scrubbing

Most of us will never use any of these features, although there are definitely some important additions. Granular app permissions are something that will greatly enhance users’ ability to control what information their apps can access. Support for USB Type-C brings us one step closer to mass adoption of that highly promising new USB technology. Initial tests of the Doze mode have offered promising results when it comes to saving battery power.

In all, Marshmallow does have a lot of

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.