Android Pay

Android M sees a whole raft of new features brought into the Android mobile sphere. The headline of which is likely to be Android Pay, Google’s attempt to play catch-up on Apple’s already established mobile payment platform. Technically, Marshmallow isn’t imperative to Android Pay. Indeed, it was launched around a month ago on any NFC-enabled device running Android KitKat and above. Still, it’s with 6.0 that Android Pay will really ramp it up a notch.

That is mainly due to another major feature in Android M- Fingerprint support. Again, fingerprint recognition for unlocking your phone is nothing new on Android, with many manufacturers supporting the concept on the Android platform. With Google now rolling it out into the OS, they’re clearly hoping to incorporate it into the wider Android ecosystem. In 6.0, users will be able to use an improved Google Wallet, coupled with fingerprint recognition, will make Android Pay a vastly superior, and more secure, experience.

These new features will also be open to third party apps, allowing you to unlock your accounts on certain apps that usually require a password. You’ll also be able to pay for goods on third party apps, using Android Pay without having to enter your details each time.

Voice Controls

Voice control is another feature that won’t be alien to Android fans, but it’s another feature receiving extra attention in marshmallow. With Voice Interaction API, users will be able to talk to certain apps, and might even get a reply. To explain a little better, Google released this video below. Essentially, users will be able to talk to Google Now in the usual manner, but now involve various apps in the interaction. The example given comes from radio app TuneIn. Say “OK Google, listen to music on TuneIn”, and the appropriate app will load, asking you “What genre of music would you like to listen to?” The software is open to third party app developers, and could revolutionise the way we interact with our smartphones in the future.

Battery Life And Charging

Smartphone owners the world over, rejoice! Google are targeting the extension of your battery life in Android M. To do so, your marshmallow device will come with “Doze”. Doze works by using motion detection to realise when the device hasn’t been moved for an extended period (thus assuming you’re asleep or whatever). The device will then switch to a deeper sleep mode than we currently enjoy, whilst still allowing alarms and notifications to register.

Google hope that Doze can represent a major step towards an extended battery life, a concern that’s been high on most consumers list for some time.

Inevitably, we all have to charge up eventually, but Google have a new trick up there sleeve for that as well. Android M will come with USB-C support. With 6.0 then, Android devices will charge up significantly faster, and last longer before they need to charge again.

Google Now on Tap

Google’s answer to the smartphone personal assistant, Google Now, is getting an upgrade to “On Tap”. Now on Tap allows you to pull up a greater depth of information via the Google Now interface without ever having to leave your current app. For example, you’re reading an email from a friend about a local restaurant. Press and hold the home button and up pops Now on Tap, where you can search for reviews of the joint and even book a table via the appropriate app. Now on Tap will also harbour an enhanced voice search function, allowing you ask your device various queries. Examples given were finding out who the lead singer of your favourite band is, or who sings that song you can’t get out of your head (providing you know the title obviously).

App Permissions

One field in which consumers have challenged mobile operating systems is in their lacklustre security options. Developers such Blackphone makers Silent Circle are one company who have taken notice, joining alternative OS Cyanogen in offering enhanced security features. Thankfully, so to have Google in Android Marshmallow. In 6.0, you’re given much more control over app permissions. Previously, you’d be asked to allow an app all the permissions it might wish to access upon downloading it from the Play Store. In Android M, you’ll be asked to allow/deny permissions in app as and when that app wishes to access them for the first time. So, instead of being forced to allow an app to meddle wherever it likes, you can now pick and choose. For example, you could allow Facebook access your camera, but not your location. If you feel like revoking any of the access you’ve previously handed out, you can do so by delving into the settings.

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