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Marshmallow is the sixth version of the most popular and appreciated mobile operating system in the world – Android.

Marshmallow was officially unleashed in October 2015 extending and modifying its predecessor’s – Android Lollipop – major functionalities as well as features. As such, the operating system version is still new in the market with only a few flagship smartphone models boasting of supporting it. There are some tweaks on design and visual modifications; improvements on the performance and system features as well as the integration of Google’s new tech.

Design modifications

The settings icons shortcuts on the home screen have been modified to depict what particular shortcut heads to. The lock screen has expandable notifications and the app shortcuts as well as the Google’s voice search (this has however rolled out to previous versions via updates).

The app drawer appears as a vertical list that is scrollable, and the scrubber bar on the right can be used to head straight to the item about the alphabetical order. Further, apps appear on the top of the drawer predictively depending on the time of day and frequency. You can also search for apps using the app search bar accessible via voice, keyboard and the scrubber bar.

The notifications shade has two areas – Notifications and Quick Settings. A single swipe from the top of the home screen down reveals ‘Notifications’ that include apps, system and ‘dismiss all’ buttons. Further extension of the swipe or a two finger swipe down from the home screen, reveals the “Quick Settings” panel that shows screen brightness and other toggles for mobile data, Bluetooth, Auto-rotate, Wi-Fi and others.

There are also tweaks on the themes, animations and transitional effects. Switching from pages, apps and settings is relatively accompanied with animations. There is a hidden metaphorical Easter egg that appears in Marshmallow that is a rebranded version from Lollipop. In the preview of the version, there was an enhanced dark theme and also a rotating home screen though they are not present in the actual release.

Integration of Google tech

Google Now on Tap tech is included in Marshmallow. This ideally provides shortcuts for info search. The tech reads content on any screen of your phone and conveys the info acquired that are relevant to the keywords displayed on the screen. It saves time in searching or confirming details as it is instant.

Voice API is also integrated into the Marshmallow. This voice interaction tool allows third-party applications to communicate back in speech when responding to queries.

Google settings form part of the “Settings” menu in Marshmallow. Privacy info, account preferences, location, language & input among many other Google stuff are all here. There is also a new feature dubbed “Set up nearby device”. This is a version of ‘Tap & Go’ settings’ menu that are NFC non-reliant. Tap & Go transfers your info such as app list, settings and Google account to a new device via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Android Pay also forms part of Android v6.  It is only available by default to phones whose makers don’t own payment solution. This tool requires an NFC-enabled smartphone and terminals at retailers with this service.

Performance of Marshmallow

‘App standby’ and ‘Doze’ have been included in the latest Android version. ‘App standby’ determines apps that have been dormant for a while and disabled their settings whereas ‘Doze’ recognizes when the phone is not in use and places the phone into hibernation.

Marshmallow has been designed such that it supports the reversible Type-C USB. This version can also support the formatting of microSD cards to specific devices.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow’s security

Android Marshmallow has been enhanced to offer user-granted permissions for apps to access some features. Also, fingerprint support for identity and security purposes is also enhanced by the Marshmallow version of Android.

To wind up, in general, the improved security in the latest version, has integrated encryption together with smart lock and other many and cool features.