Android – Marshmallow
Google has started the rollout of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Here are the features you can expect from the latest version.
It’s time to prod the Marshmallow: Android Marshmallow is here. But you still have a while to wait unless you own a Nexus 6, Nexus 5, Nexus 9, or have recently picked up a Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P.
So, the question: is Android 6.0 Marshmallow worth getting excited about? We’ve been spending some quality time with the new software to see what it offers over the Android Lollipop version we’ve been using for what feels like forever.
Here are the features that take Android Marshmallow a step further. Is it enough to steamroll iOS 9 and Windows 10? For now at least, we’ll leave that to you.
The apps menu is crazy-different
One Android Marshmallow change all of you will notice is the way the new apps menu works. It’s totally different to Lollipop and the other previous versions of Android.
This time, instead of a bunch of apps ‘pages’ you flick through horizontally, the apps box is a scroll thumbed through with a smooth vertical movement. It’s a lot more like Windows 10/Windows Phone’s apps menu, or that of the HTC Sense custom Android interface.
Is it better? Is it worse? This is very much a case of being different rather than better, but it does scroll very snappily on the Nexus 6 we’ve been using. Those with big app collections may find it faster. And, as in Android Lollipop, the apps are arranged alphabetically rather than letting you move them about yourself.
As before, there are no app menu folders either. You have to keep these on the home screens, if you want ‘em.
App search bar and favourites
In order to help those who think the new apps menu is worse, and there will be some, there are some extra features to the apps area. First, there’s a search bar up at the top.
This is a text bar you just type words into, and Android Marshmallow searches your app collection for any apps with that name. There’s also an option to use the search term to look for other apps in Google Play.
If your apps library is so massive you can’t remember which apps/games you’ve uninstalled, this bit will let you get them back on-board sharpish.
There are also four special apps slots right at the top of the apps menu. These are filled using an algorithm that picks the most important apps based on those you use most, and have used most recently.
On the Nexus 6 these extra interface elements can feel like a bit of a stretch to reach. But then 95 per cent of people think the phone is that bit too big anyway. The Nexus 6X should feel comfier.
The clock has gone all stylish
Lollipop upped Android’s style game, and Marshmallow tries to take that a step further with a redesigned clock. It’s little more than a font shuffle, but does give the new software a bit of a different, sharper visual personality.
Check it out below. The date text is now written in all-caps, and the font of the time characters seems to be a bit thicker, as if Google has hit the ‘bold’ button.
Google has added a memory manager
One of the complaints about Android Lollipop was that its memory-hungry nature introduced all sorts of performance problems in phones without absolutely loads of RAM.
A new feature lets you check out the memory usage of all your installed apps without using a third-party app.
There’s a whole new ‘Memory’ area in the main Settings menu.