Android Marshmallow isn’t an overhaul of everything you thought you knew about Android. Rather, it’s a refinement and extension of the core features and functionality of Android Lollipop. In this Android Marshmallow review, I take a look at the major features of Google’s latest OS version to let you know where it hits, where it misses, and where it has room to improve.
Update: Google surprised everyone on March 9 by dropping the Android N developer preview without any prior notice. Then, on May 18, 2016, a beta build was released following the Google I/O keynote. You can sign up to Google’s Android Beta Program, if you have an eligible device, and you can download factory images directly from Google. Find out the full story on our Android N page.
I know that not everyone even has Android Lollipop yet, so I won’t just concentrate on the differences between the two most recent versions of Android. Instead I’ll look at the major areas of the new OS, whether they are new, improved or missing in action. I’ll break the review down into the following sections: the visual appearance of Android Marshmallow; integration of new Google products; core features of the system; security; and improvements to usability.
We’ve added some features that saw light with the update to Android 6.0.1, including a host of new emoji and a double-tap camera quick-launch feature that has been added to Nexus 5, 6, 7 and 9 devices. Find out more about these below under ‘Design and visual changes’ and ‘Usability’, respectively.
Android 7.0 Nougat is on the way; Google has rolled it out to Nexus devices and it will come pre-loaded on the LG V20 and whatever Nexus device HTC has up its sleeve. But it’s a waiting game for those with existing non-Nexus Android devices, thanks to a confusing patchwork of OEM and carrier updates.
As a result, a numbef of you will be running Android Marshmallow for the forseeable future. We first published this story last fall when the then-new mobile OS arrived. But a few more tips have emerged since then, so this update will tell you all you need to know about Marshmallow until Nougat hits your device.
After a protracted delay following its initial release, I finally received the Marshmallow upgrade for my Nexus 7 tablet. To be honest, Marshmallow looks and feels almost exactly like Android 5.0 Lollipop, save for a very scant layer of OS housecleaning. While there are some important changes happening behind the scenes like a fingerprint sensor API (which will only be of use depending on your device) or a battery-saving feature called Doze, there’s nothing truly revolutionary from a UX point of view.
Still, Marshmallow manages to pack in some cool new features that you’ll want to check out. Check out the slideshow for our favorites.