Today Samsung officially announced the pushing of the latest version of Google’s Android operating system “Marshmallow” to its mobile devices starting today, the 15th of February. The Android Marshmallow will be coming to the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, with the announcement saying that “other Galaxy devices will soon follow.” Users on both devices should be getting the notification very soon, if not already. The announcement states that Samsung will “make separate announcements on details of OS updates schedule for each market according to market situation and carriers’ requirements.”
Last year, Samsung started rolling out Lollipop to the flagship Galaxy S5 just 31 days after launch. For Marshmallow, that delay increased to a whopping 133 days. Although updates from other manufacturers have been trickling out (LG’s G4 has got Marshmallow from most carriers now, and Motorola’s second-generation Moto G seems to be getting it too), it’s a slow, unpredictable business. As of the beginning of this month, Marshmallow was on less than 1.2 percent of all Android devices. If you’re a die hard Android fan and can’t wait to get the latest version of the OS, your best bet is probably to wait and buy a new device with it pre-loaded.
The Marshmallow update was announced in May 2015 and released in October with Google’s own Nexus phones. Marshmallow brings a host of new features like enhanced TouchWiz interface, all the latest security fixes, and ‘Now on Tap’. There are also a handful of battery-saving features that should mean you get more life out of your devices.
Now on Tap
This essentially puts the power of Google Now everywhere in the OS, letting users search for contextual information about anything from films, to restaurants, to contacts. Press and hold the home button and Google will provide information that’s contextually relevant to what is on screen at the time.
A power saving mode called Doze allows your phone to sleep when it’s not in use, conserving power. It only enters this mode if it’s not being moved around, turned on and isn’t connected to a power outlet.
is a slightly more useful feature that stops apps from draining power if you haven’t used them. That means you don’t have to worry about random apps you installed chirping up and drinking juice when you’re barely using them.
App’s permissions system
Allowing users to approve or deny security settings for an app on a case-by-case experience, i.e. an app will ask you about permissions only when you open it.
Google’s newest answer to the mobile wallet, is also being supported in the update. Working with built-in fingerprint support in Android M, users will be able to use Near Field Communication readers in their phones to pay at certain retailers.
Fingerprint app sign-in
You can now use your fingerprint scanner to sign-in to apps. Before you could only log-in to the device itself with a fingerprint. Marshmallow fixes that, and catches up to iPhone.
There’s a huge change for S6 Edge users though. Here Samsung has added a load of new, and exciting, features to the phone.
Larger edge – Samsung has slightly more than doubled the amount of space apps can use on the edge display, expanding the width of a panel running down the one edge of the phone that customers can use to reach contacts, launch tools and apps, and browse news, company stocks and sports scores. Obviously, the display hasn’t physically changed but things are able to wrap onto the main display at the same time. There is now 550 pixels in which apps can run.
New apps – Yahoo will have news, stock and sports apps that will use the new edge display area fully. Samsung is also introducing a new torch app, as well as a ruler and compass which use larger areas.
More edge panels – Samsung only used to offer two customizable edge panels, one for contacts and one for apps. Users will now have access to nine such panels to tweak as they wish.
It’s a nice update that should give people a lot of reasons to hang on to their existing phones. Perhaps that’s a mistake for Samsung as the update comes one week before Samsung is expected to debut new Galaxy S7 phones at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, on Sunday.
If you own a Galaxy S6 or S6 edge, you should probably keep an eye for the update pop up.