Google has been going on and on about software development and the awesome new features in Android 6.0 Marshmallow. While Nexus users can already get their hands on the new OS and LG has already sent out to the update to its LG G4 smartphone, most Android users out there are still just looking forward to the update. This year, Android 6.0 Marshmallow comes in as a smaller upgrade than Lollipop but is nonetheless much more important. Hopefully, all the bugs and issues that Lollipop came with will be fixed without the new OS adding new issues to the user experience on manufacturer phones. Even if at first, Android 6.0 Marshmallow appears to be the same as Lollipop, its features and upgrades are hidden within the redesigned UX that actually works differently.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow can be experienced in its best version on Nexus smartphones, but advanced users could flash a stock Android ROM on almost any device and make use of it there. Once the update to Marshmallow starts hitting manufacturer devices, we’ll know more about how well tweaks, skins and different hardware work with the new OS. Until then, it’s best to focus on the features of the stock version of the OS, which is performing rather well so far. Since this is an all you need to know post, most likely you would like to first find out when the update should hit devices.
The Android 6.0 Marshmallow release is already underway, with manufacturers like Motorola, Samsung and HTC all working on getting their tweaks and modifications in. Flagship smartphones released this year are confirmed to get the update and most of them will most likely be updated in December. By the end of the year, mid-range smartphones released this year could also get the update, with rollouts scheduled for 2014 devices as well. Smartphones and tablets from 2013 will get the update next year, although manufacturer support sites should be verified for this because some OEMs do not provide support for their older devices. Let’s hope the rollout of the update is smoother than it was last year.
Without further ado, let’s see what Android 6.0 Marshmallow is all about and why upgrading from Android 4.4 KitKat or Android 5.0 Lollipop could be a good idea. Keep in mind that some of the features Marshmallow offers are hardware-dependent and might not work once the update arrives to your handset. At the same time, some features might not be compatible with OEM skins or carrier modifications, but these issues are device-specific and you should turn to manufacturers and carriers to address them once they come along – if they do, that is.
1. Google Now on Tap
With Android 6.0 Marshmallow, a long-press of the home button will activate Google Now on Tap, which is an advanced version of what we know now as Google Now. Google developed the new feature in order to make access to information much easier. You can use Google Now on Tap from within any app on your phone and once you complete the command, you will be presented with suggestions and related links to the information that is on the app screen that you launched Google Now on Tap from. The forms that will appear will display information based on type of content. As such, articles about movies will yield trailers from Youtube and review pages from IMDB while tops about the best Android apps and games of the week will result in Google Now on Tap giving you links to the Play Store, reviews and purchasing options. The company did a lot to make Android 6.0 Marshmallow a comprehensive and easy to use service, and Google Now on Tap plays an important role in making the user experience seamless and fruitful.
2. Support for biometric security
Although devices like the Galaxy S5 had fingerprint sensor before Android 6.0 Marshmallow and they worked, the new OS adds core support for biometric security, which means much more opportunities for developers. This new feature affects developers as well as users, because thanks to native support for fingerprint sensor, developers can now more easily include payment and security features that make use of the fingerprint sensor on a phone. Users on the other hand can benefit from a more unified user experience that lets them use hardware features to the maximum of their capacity. This is one of those instances when a feature won’t work unless you have the necessary hardware, which means a fingerprint sensor will have to be included in the build of the phone in order for the user to benefit from advanced integration in Android 6.0 Marshmallow
3. Simplified permissions
With Android 6.0 Marshmallow, users will not have to read long permission agreements when installing the app. Rather Google solved this problem with an easier fix. Users will have the ability to grant or revoke permissions on the spot, when an app tries to use services on their phones. For example, if you install Instagram, it will ask for your permission to access the library when uploading a photo or it will ask permission to use your location every time it tries to access it. With this new feature, inspired most likely by iOS, Google wants to make oversight easier to attain by users. With permissions granted upon activity and request, it is easier for the user to get an overview of what features, services and content apps they’ve installed use and whether they want them to have access to their information or not.
4. Improved volume management
When it came to sounds and volume management, Lollipop was pretty bad. Priority notifications as well as volume management settings didn’t really work in an intuitive manner and the absence of silent mode in the earlier builds of the last OS was prominently hated. With Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Google addressed these issues and tried mending them by creating a different approach to volume management. The strive to make management easier has been obvious in past Lollipop builds, but Android 6.0 Marshmallow unified all the things they tried to do in Lollipop into a simpler interface. In the new OS, Google added a Do not disturb button to quick settings that allows for the easy switching of audio modes. At the same time, the volume rockers bring up a sliding menu that can be expanded in order to allow for specific settings that can be applied to music volume, notification volume and alarm volume. It’s easy peasy and much better than in Lollipop.
5. Responsive share menus
With Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Google tries unifying the user experience and this new mini–feature or rather algorithm is one of the ways in which that is done. Instead of the share menus in apps or in web browsers being static, now it will be responsive to the user’s personal needs. That means that if you most often use Instagram or Pinterest to share photos and articles with your friends, these two apps will be at the top of the list when you bring up the share menu. These contextual menus will change according to your usage patterns, so if you start sharing a lot through Android Beam or Bluetooth while traveling, the share menu will respond with accurate suggestions. Although this is a minor feature, it makes a lot of difference to the user experience and productivity. Coupled with small tweaks to text selection which make it more accurate as well as Chrome custom tabs that allow apps to display full web pages in-app, Android 6.0 Marshmallow is a responsive, integrated and streamlined OS that knows what users want from it, when they want it.
One of the main concerns of Android users is battery life and avoiding unnecessary apps that drain battery. Android 6.0 Marshmallow is working towards making the OS more power efficient and one of the ways in which it does that is by adding Doze. Doze is a battery management service that will help your phone or tablet determine whether it is in use and active or stationary and launch Doze accordingly. Doze is built-in and will work automatically without user interference and Google says it will improve device autonomy because it cuts down on the number of background apps and processes that run while the device is in standby, Android 6.0 Marshmallow comes with a management system that works with Doze which will sort important notifications from unimportant ones and does checks for them regularly.
These 6 are the main and most important new features in Android 6.0 Marshmallow. There are a handful of other features included in the build as well, but those are more minor tweaks and optimization tools that won’t be used by everyone. Nonetheless, they deserve a mention because they do impact user experience in a positive way.
One such minor tweak concerns default app management in Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Within the OS, you can now tap on the cog icon in the Apps screen and you can manage associations for default apps from within the Default Apps menu. Although customization for this is pretty limited, you can still choose apps for the most important functions that you use, such as messaging, browsing, camera, gallery and more.
Apps use memory and Android 6.0 Marshmallow wants to raise awareness about that. In an effort to help people choose apps that truly work for them, Google added a new monitoring field into the settings panel which will allow users to exercise oversight when it comes to how much memory each app uses. Although the panel does not let you set limits or perform actions like killing apps that use too much or restricting their usage, they do let you accurately monitor the apps that use most of your resources.
Quick settings are also made easier, seeing as in Android 6.0 Marshmallow, you can customize them by pressing and holding the cog icon within the quick settings panel, which you pill down with a two-finger swipe. You can choose icon orders within the panel and organize them however you want to.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow is made for USB Type C, which means it’s optimized for fast data transfer and charging, which will prove useful in the future. Nowadays, there are not that many devices out there with USB Type C connectors, but the new default will be adopted soon enough and that’s when native support for it in Marshmallow will make a difference. This feature is clearly one determined by hardware, but it’s an important step nonetheless because it dictates the way in which smartphones should work in the future.
At the same time, Marshmallow adds the possibility of swiping from the left on the lock screen in order to bring in the voice search menu. This is another feature unique to Android 6.0 and it will allow easier access to Google search. Because you don’t need to unlock the device to perform searches, it offers up the easiest way to get information with minimal involvement. Security is on point with this, seeing as searches that involve personal stuff like appointments and reminders won’t appear unless the device is unlocked via biometric sensor or the good old pattern.
One last feature in Android 6.0 Marshmallow that’s entirely new is support for in-app back-up. Backing up your data is very important and while Google services usually do it automatically, the OS now allows for thirdp=-party apps to do it as well. This change concerns developers at first, because they will have the ability to include back up in their apps. They will be the ones to choose whether users will be able to back their data up or not, but ultimately, users will be the ones to enjoy the feature.
With the release of Android 6.0 Marshmallow on a global level getting ahead, we’re curious to see how many will notice, use and appreciate the newly added features. The new OS is a comprehensive example of Google’s plans for the future which will most likely focus on integration and the creation of the perfect user experience. Marshmallow seems to be on the right track, so we expect even more awesome things to come our way.
Pixel 8 Pro runs Google’s generative AI models
Rick Osterloh, Google’s SVP of devices and services, says the Pixel 8 Pro will be the first hardware to run Google’s generative AI models.
At an event today, Osterloh said the Pixel 8 Pro’s custom-built Tensor G3 chip, which accelerates AI workloads, can run “distilled” versions of Google’s text- and image-generating models to power image editing and other apps.
Osterloh said, “We’ve worked closely with our research teams across Google to take advantage of their most advanced foundation models and distill them into a version efficient enough to run on our flagship Pixel.”
Google improved Magic Eraser, its photo-editing tool, to remove larger objects and people smudge-free using on-device models. Osterloh claims that this improved Magic Eraser creates new pixels to fill in shot gaps, producing a higher-quality image.
Osterloh says a new on-device model will “intelligently” sharpen and enhance photo details, improving zoom.
On-device processing benefits audio recording. The Pixel 8 Pro’s recording app will soon summarize meeting highlights.
Gboard will use a large language model on the Pixel 8 Pro to power smart replies. Osterloh claims that the upgraded Gboard will provide “higher-quality” reply suggestions and better conversational awareness.
Osterloh said an update in December will add on-device generative AI features except for Magic Eraser, which appears on the Pixel 8 Pro at launch.
Telegram launches a global self-custodial crypto wallet, excluding the US
Telegram, with 800 million monthly users, is launching a self-custodial crypto wallet. The move will solidify its presence in the vibrant crypto community that has grown from its chat platform and may attract more people to crypto.
Telegram and TON Foundation announced TON Space, a self-custodial wallet, on Wednesday at Singapore’s Token2049 crypto conference, which draws over 10,000 attendees.
Telegram has a complicated blockchain relationship. After the SEC sued Telegram over a massive initial coin offering, the chat app abandoned its Telegram Open Network (TON) blockchain project in 2020. The Open Network Foundation (TON Foundation), founded by open-source developers and blockchain enthusiasts, supports the development of The Open Network (TON), the blockchain powering a growing number of Telegram applications, including the wallet.
The Open Platform (TOP) and TOP Labs, a venture-building division, created the TON-based wallet.
TON Space will be available to Telegram users worldwide without wallet registration in November. The U.S., which has cracked down on the crypto industry and promoted many crypto apps to geofence users, is currently excluded from the feature.
Google’s massive antitrust trial begins, with bigger implications
The Justice Department’s landmark antitrust case against Google began in court today, setting off a months-long trial that could upend the tech world.
At issue is Google’s search business. The Justice Department claims that Google has violated antitrust laws to maintain its search title, but the company claims that it does so by providing a superior product.
The Justice Department sued Google for civil antitrust in late 2020 after a year-long investigation.
“If the government does not enforce the antitrust laws to enable competition, we will lose the next wave of innovation,” said then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen. “If that happens, Americans may never see the ‘next Google.’”
A large coalition of state attorneys general filed their own parallel suit against Google, but Judge Amit Mehta ruled that the states did not meet the bar to go to trial with their search ranking complaints.
The search business case against Google is separate from a federal antitrust lawsuit filed earlier this year. The Justice Department claims Google used “anticompetitive, exclusionary, and unlawful means” to neutralize threats to its digital advertising empire in that lawsuit.
Justice Department attorney Kenneth Dintzer set the stakes for the first major tech antitrust trial since Microsoft’s late 1990s reckoning on Tuesday. “This case is about the future of the internet, and whether Google’s search engine will ever face meaningful competition,” Dintzer said.
Beginning the trial, the government focused on Google’s deals with phone makers, most notably Apple, that give its search product top billing on new devices. Dintzer claimed that Google maintains and grows its search engine dominance by paying $10 billion annually for those arrangements.
“This feedback loop, this wheel, has been turning for more than 12 years,” he said. “And it always benefits Google.”
Google lawyer John Schmidtlein refuted that claim, hinting at the company’s legal defense in the coming weeks.
“Users today have more search options and more ways to access information online than ever before,” Schmidtlein said. Google will argue that it competes with Amazon, Expedia, and DoorDash, as well as Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
Google planted the seeds for this defense. According to internal research, Google Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan said last year that more young people are using TikTok to search for information than Google Search.
In our studies, almost 40% of young people don’t use Google Maps or Search to find lunch, Raghavan said. “They use TikTok or Instagram.”
Google will be decided by U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in the coming months. We’re far from that decision, but the company could be fined heavily or ordered to sell parts of its business.
The trial could change Google’s digital empire if the Justice Department wins. Other tech companies that dominated online markets in the last decade are also watching. If the government fails to hold an iconic Silicon Valley giant accountable, big tech will likely continue its aggressive growth trajectory.
If the Justice Department succeeds, the next decade could be different. The industry-wide reckoning could cripple incumbents and allow upstarts to define the next era of the internet, wresting the future from tech titans.
- Gadgets9 years ago
Why the Nexus 7 is still a good tablet in 2015
- Mobile Devices9 years ago
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs Galaxy Note 5: is there room for improvement?
- Editorials9 years ago
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – How bad updates prevent people from enjoying their phones
- Mobile Devices9 years ago
Nexus 5 2015 and Android M born to be together
- Gaming9 years ago
New Teaser For Five Nights At Freddy’s 4
- Mobile Devices9 years ago
Google not releasing Android M to Nexus 7
- Gadgets9 years ago
Moto G Android 5.0.2 Lollipop still has a memory leak bug
- Mobile Devices9 years ago
Nexus 7 2015: Huawei and Google changing the game