Google's newest version of its mobile OS has arrived. Android 6.0 Marshmallow brings several new features that make Android phones more useful, longer lasting and smarter. Let's take a look at what's new.
Now, Google's digital personal assistant, finds its way into a new part of your phone or tablet with Google Now on Tap. While texting or looking up something, you can tap a button to get helpful extra information. For instance, say you're texting a friend about a new restaurant in town. Tap the Google Now on Tap button and you'll see shortcuts to call the restaurant, get directions in Google Maps and see ratings on Yelp.
Google Wallet never quite took off, but now that mobile payments are getting more popular with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, Google is trying again. Android Pay will let you use your phone to make purchases at select stores.
You'll just tap your phone on an eligible card reader at a store and follow the prompts on the screen to complete the transactions. Android Pay will also help you checkout quickly in mobile shopping apps.
This feature is a bit more behind the scenes, but Google has included support for a fingerprint reader. This allows the Nexus 6P, shown here, to use your fingerprint to unlock the phone and authorize purchases with Android Pay.
Instead of giving any app carte-blanche permission to look at your contacts, photos, or use your Wi-Fi signal, just by simply downloading it, you now have the power to rein in your apps.
Before, just by downloading certain apps, you gave them permission to poke around your contacts, use your photos or access your Wi-Fi signal. With Marshmallow, that changes.
Now you get to decide if Instagram can access your photos, or if WhatsApp gets to use your location. This helps with security and privacy, though keep in mind that an app may not work exactly as intended if you don't give it permission to all of the resources it needs.
New power-saving features built into Android 6.0 promise to extend the life of your Android gadget. It does this by stopping apps from unnecessarily waking up your device. Important alerts like phone calls and alarms will still get through, however.
This means that when your phone is sitting idle, when you're not using it, it won't drain as quickly, making your battery last a bit longer. Your phone or tablet will still slowly lose battery power as you use it, but it should stay alive a bit longer when you're not touching it.
The app drawer, the menu where all of the apps installed on your phone or tablet live, has a new design in Marshmallow. There's a search bar at the top, where you can quickly find an app. Plus, it now scrolls up and down, instead of left and right, which is a throwback to earlier Android versions.