In May 2015, Google introduced a preview version of the new release of Android codenamed "M". In August, it was announced that an updated version of the operating system, following the previous ones, will be named after sweets - Marshmallows. Also, the final version of the software and final version of Android SDK was presented, in which developers will be able to find a complete set of current Android APIs. If Android Marshmallow features are as "delicious" as it's traditional name is discussed in detail in our review.
It is known that Google Play has more than a billion active users. Daily hundreds of thousands of applications are downloaded from the store for work, education, entertainment etc. To stay in the top, developers have to improve their products tirelessly and synchronize them with the latest software.
So, what new has been prepared for us in the recent version of Android 6.0 Marshmallow? In fact, there is nothing revolutionary new in the user interface and appearance of the OS compared to version 5.1 Lollipop. Mostly, changes relate to the filling of the system. In large part, the update is built on three pillars: security, privacy, extending the battery life. So let's consider these changes.
Main Android 6.0 Marshmallow features
Under the Android Marshmallow release Google has introduced a new technology of fingerprint authentication. If earlier the possibility of using this technology was achieved with the help of outside development and implementation of complex mechanisms, now the system will do everything for you. This function allows users to make their devices more secure, for example for making purchases from Google Play or using a purse Google Pay.
Speaking about developers, the introduction of this technology directly into the operating system allows them to determine the usage of fingerprint authentication features in their applications the way they consider. For the implementation of this function you can use the API, submitted to the Android SDK by using an emulator, and then add to the list of permissions the usage of a fingerprint. Technology will be available on supporting devices.
As one of the most important Marshmallow features, Android developers present a new privacy system. Now users have the opportunity to choose permissions for apps or change their decisions about denied or accepted ones.
This feature was tested and improved, since version 4.4.2. But until now the system was ill-behaved. As soon as the user rejected some permission, application unceremoniously refused to work. Now, in Android 6 Marshmallow according to the developers, the function works without any troubles.
Thus, developers have the opportunity to teach their applications to react to the rejected permissions without loss of basic functions. So developers have to improve their apps according to this reformation in the OS. Even if the app has been published for Android earlier, that change affects it.
Extending the Battery Life
Software and mobile app developers continuously improve the interface and graphic of their products. It affects the battery life of devices. This factor depends not only on the hardware but also the software. From one upgrade to other developers are fighting to find the solution to save battery power. Updated Google Android Marshmallow uses new Doze technology.
According to Google, this feature can extend battery life by almost a half. It is achieved through the usage of motion recognition technology. Doze detects when the device is motionless for a long time and in such case, disables the applications that use a large amount of energy. Also, the App Standby technology has been implemented into the system. This technology is used for determination when a devie is not in use for a long period of time. So that developers should make sure that their apps are updated to be suitable for the new Android 'M' Marshmallow features.
It is necessary to make sure that developed applications have the ability to respond even from the deep sleep mode. It is especially important for applications that use weighty alerts and notifications such as:
- alarming apps, etc.
Some other 'tasty' things in Android 6 Marshmallow
But it's not the entire story. In Marshmallow Google developers have prepared for us a lot of equally important things. In the new version of Android, we are in for other improvements. We give consideration to principal ones like:
- improvement of Google Now
- possibility to use some apps offline
- new function - Direct Share
- built-in browser
- Multiwindow system debut
In the latest version, Google Now service is available with one touch in Android Marshmallow devices. You can call Google Assistant from any app, just use a long press on the key "Home". For example, the user receives a message from a friend with a part of some film. Then the Google Assistant can be called instantly, without having to shift tabs. So the user can get information about the name of the movie, it's genre, director, starring actors and any other data that he is interested in.
Also, Voice Google Assistant is one of the interesting features of Marshmallow. Now it makes several times fewer mistakes and learned to understand the context of the query better.
To teach your app to interact with the Google Now correctly, you need to use APP Indexation for Google Search. As for Voice Google Assistant, developers get more opportunities to take advantage of making more powerful voice features for their apps.
For a long time for both users and developers, it had been a big problem to clear an obstacle of inability to use multiple applications without access to the Internet. Messengers, players and other products became worthless when the connection is lost. Video conference, online broadcasting were cut, and when the session is interrupted a large amount of information had to be re-downloaded frequently. According to Google, Marshmallow features include a completely new technology - Firebase Offline.
Firebase Offline is a set of functions in the SDK, that allows to change the principle of the app work online and offline. Previously the approach "request-response" was used. Now the function works in the sync mode. This feature allows apps to store it's data on a local drive.
With the implementation of Direct Share function users can share interesting photos and links directly from the apps. To this end, there is no need to turn off apps and switch between running ones.
Chrome custom tabs - built-in browser technology that allows to open links to outside resources without the need for additional authorization. Meaning that, when you receive links to the Facebook built-in browser will send you directly to your destination without entering usernames and passwords.
Among other features of Marshmallow, Android introduces the long-awaited Multiwindow system. The system allows you to open multiple apps simultaneously. Now, users can refresh the Instagram stream and check e-mail simultaneously. Or they can play their favorite game and at the same time monitor social networks.
For developers, there is a need to update the interface of their applications to bring them into line with the new feature MW System.
Also, the system has undergone a slight change in the APIs and global settings. And there some other points. So new Android 6.0 Marshmallow features include:
- moving from OpenSSL to the BoringSSL
- removing support for the Apache HTTP client
- changes in work with audio and video managers
- opportunity to use some options in text copying
- changes in USB connection (charge-only mode is now available)
- Android Keystore changes
- camera service's settings changes
- changes in Android for work
Certainly, after updating of the software to Android version 6.0 on all devices, all applications that are loaded on Google Play will be updated automatically. But after the announcement of a new version of the OS the pre-release version for developers was available. It was done in order to allow developers to get acquainted with the system and bring their applications into compliance with the newest update, and implement it in their products opportunities to work with biometric features, new permission mechanism, to update the theme, etc.
To begin working with the new version of the software, developers need to install Android SDK. To do this use the SDK Manager to install Android 6.0 SDK Platform and System Images. To renovate previously used application, it is enough to update the Android SDK to the latest version.
Undoubtedly, as it was presented by Google, 6.0 Marshmallow version has a lot of changes that require implementing into the applications. There are changes concern the interface as well as the filling of development. With the new Marshmallow 6.0 features and capabilities of the system, it is crucially important to developed applications to be most fitted to the updated parameters, as well as those which are already in the store.
Also, developers can now create customized pages on Google Play and test the application by efforts of the service and also receive messages about errors in the products and comments on their functionality.
Therefore, if you still have not prepared to the release of Marshmallow for Android operating system, we recommend you to get acquainted with all the innovations and start to update and test your apps to meet system upgrade fully prepared.
Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics
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