Update: The Android Marshmallow update is out now for certain devices. It’s just out for the Nexus 5, 6, 7 and 9 as well as the Nexus Player. LG is the first third-party manufacturer to force its update through, and it’s out now for those in Poland. The worldwide update timing is still under wraps. Read on for more details. Android Marshmallow is here. There are battery life improvements, greater app permission controls, standardised support for fingerprint scanners, more granular volume controls, USB-C support and new Google Now features, all part of a mix that makes this an exciting upgrade for users. But is your phone actually going to get it?
The release process for Android updates is more complicated than that for iOS updates, and just because an update has been launched that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have instant access to it. In fact, you probably won’t. It’s down to device manufacturers, and in some countries, like the US, carriers spend quite a bit of time with the new software before releasing it to their phones and tablets. If you own a Nexus device you’re in luck, as the software has landed on those first – and manufacturers like Motorola are generally better at getting updates out quickly. But other manufacturers are a little less predictable. To make the rollout less of a mystery here’s the latest, and constantly updated, information on when Android Marshmallow is likely to land on various devices.
Google and Nexus
Google’s Nexus devices are the first to get the Android Marshmallow upgrade – one of their biggest selling points is speedy updates and stock versions of Android.
The new Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P come with Marshmallow pre-installed, and Google has started rolling out the update to the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7 (2013), Nexus 9, Nexus Player and the whole range of Android One smartphones.
Samsung did a pretty good job of getting Android Lollipop on to its phones rapidly, but it seems to have slowed things down for the Marshmallow launch. According to a leaked roadmap the two latest phones from the company will be getting Marshmallow first, with the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ set to get the update in December 2015. That roadmap suggests the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge will be updated in January 2016. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Samsung Galaxy Note Edge will then follow in February.
The Samsung Galaxy Alpha and the Samsung Galaxy S5 are also set to get the update, but there’s no official date yet. It’s not clear whether handsets older than the Samsung Galaxy S5 will get Android Marshmallow, but it’s a remote possibility for the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Both of these once-high-end phones were updated to Android Lollipop, but they’re now two years old.
As for tablets, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S range has been updated to Android 5.0, and is recent enough that we’d expect a Marshmallow update. The Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 may well get an update too, but we’re not optimistic about the prospects for most other Samsung slates. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014), for example, is still on Android KitKat, despite being relatively recent. It’s possible that it will skip Lollipop and move straight to Android Marshmallow, but there’s nothing yet to suggest that will be the case.
HTC tweeted out what phones will be getting the update, and it came pretty quickly – let’s hope it’s a similar affair for the actual release. Before the end of the year the HTC One M9 and HTC One M8 will see the release of the software.
It’ll also be updating the HTC One M9+, HTC One E9, HTC One ME, HTC One E8, HTC One M8 EYE, HTC Butterfly 3, HTC Desire 826, HTC Desire 820 and HTC Desire 816. There’s no official word on when it’ll be coming though, it may be 2016 for all of those. HTC started rolling out Android Lollipop to its flagships within 90 days of its arrival, so we could well be in for a similar time frame here. If that’s the case it may start arriving sometime in December 2015.
Sony has updated us on what phones will be getting the Marshmallow update and the Xperia Z1 will be missing out this time. The full list includes the Xperia Z5,Xperia Z5 Compact, Xperia Z5 Premium, Sony Xperia Z3+, Sony Xperia Z3, Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet and Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact.
The Xperia Z2, Xperia Z2 Tablet, Xperia M5, Xperia C5 Ultra, Xperia M4 Aqua and Xperia C4 are also getting Marshmallow goodness.
In terms of what that update will bring, we’ve seen something from the first ‘concept’ to appear for the Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact. Tap to wake – where a quick double knock of the screen will activate the display from sleep – will be enabled, and the ability to connect MIDI devices through USB too.
New keyboards will also be added into the mix to improve tip-typing, and more FLAC (lossless hi-res audio) files will be supported too.
There’s no word on when the updates will starting rolling out to all devices officially, but Sony is well known for doing it slowly so it may be quite the wait. At least concepts are appearing, so the update is in the works.
LG is set to be the first third-party manufacturer to get its Marshmallow updates out of the gate. The LG G4 is set to have the Marshmallow software in Poland in the week starting October 19.
After that it’ll come to America and Europe in time, but there’s no clear path on when the devices will see the upgrade. New features include updated app permissions and two Do Not Disturb modes.
There’s also the new Doze Mode that turns off background apps when the phone is in sleep mode to help save on battery life.
Other LG phones aren’t so certain to get the update – the LG G3 missed out on Android 5.1 but it did appear on a Korean LG support page with a hint of the new software so it may come eventually.
The rumoured LG G4 Pro may even launch with Android Marshmallow depending on when it arrives, though if not that will likely get updated quite quickly. We’d expect the LG G Flex 2, LG G4c and other fairly recent LG phones will get Android Marshmallow eventually too, though they’ll probably have to wait longer than the G4. It’s even possible that the LG G2 will get it, but we wouldn’t count on it.
As Motorola’s phones run a version of Android which is almost stock there tends to be an expectation that they’ll receive updates in a timely fashion. Sadly there’s no update on when that’ll be yet.
Android 5.1.1 is the software for the Moto X Style, Moto X Play and Moto G 2015 but all the phones will eventually see the Android Marshmallow software as well. It’ll also come to both the 2014 and 2015 versions of the Moto X Pure Edition, the 2014 Moto G and Moto G with 4G LTE as well as the European version of the Moto X 2014. On top of that it’ll also come to the Moto MAXX, Moto Turbo, Droid Turbo and the Nexus 6.
OnePlus eventually brought Android Lollipop to the OnePlus One, but it wasn’t very fast about it and with the OnePlus 2 now launching and a new OS just out the gates, we wouldn’t be surprised if the company was a bit busy to be thinking about Android Marshmallow just yet.
That said we expect some version of it will arrive on the OnePlus 2 and possibly even the OnePlus One eventually, but probably not until sometime in 2016.
If you’ve got a Huawei device you might have quite a wait on your hands for Android Marshmallow, as the majority of its devices are still on Android KitKat or earlier.
The Huawei P8, Huawei P8 Max and Honor 4X are probably among the most likely handsets to get the update, but even then it may take a while.
Asus is another company which often isn’t particularly speedy with its updates. The Zenfone 6, Zenfone 5 and Zenfone 4 are only just getting Android Lollipop for example, but nevertheless they are being updated, so we’d expect relatively recent Asus handsets like those ones and the Zenfone 2 will eventually see Android Marshmallow.
Honor has revealed its update schedule for Marshmallow and its bad news if you have one of the Huawei made handsets. It’s going to be quite a wait. According to Honor India the update is coming to the Honor 7, Honor 6 Plus, Honor 6, Honor 4X and Honor 4C. But that’s not until February next year. And there’s no confirmation the phones will get the update before the end of that month either. It’s just starting then so it may be at any point in 2016.
ZTE doesn’t always bother to update its phones, so if you have one you may have to make do without Android Marshmallow, though the newer and higher profile it is the better your chances of getting the upcoming Android release.
So there’s a chance the ZTE Blade S6 and the US-focused ZTE Axon will get the update, but the ZTE Blade V and ZTE Blade Q Mini for example probably won’t. What do you get with Android 6.0 Marshmallow? Now you’ve learnt when you’re going to get Android 6.0 Marshmallow, it’s time to find out what comes with it. We’ve been playing around with the new update and here is a selection of our favorite features. It’s not a big design based update like Lollipop was. Material Design is still in tact here and most of the focus is on new features and a series of bug fixes within the software.
Technically you can use Android Pay without the Marshmallow software, but having the latest OS is certainly a big help. The update to Marshmallow brings with it fingerprint sensor functionality for the first time. Here you don’t even need to open up an app – you can just unlock your phone with your finger and place the phone on the contactless payment terminal.
Third-party apps are also supported within Marshmallow making it much easier to buy stuff directly in your Android phone. Problem is it’s only available in the US right now. There are no clear plans for when Android Pay will be rolling out around the world though.
Android Marshmallow fingerprint support
We’ve seen some smartphone manufacturers already include fingerprint scanners in their devices, but with Android Marshmallow Google is making the support standardized across the whole platform.
As well as allowing you to unlock your device and pay for media from the Google Play Store the fingerprint scanning tech is also open to developers.
That means devs can build it into their own applications, allowing you to sign into them without the need for a password, as well as pay for goods using Android Pay.
Android Marshmallow voice controls
Android 6 brings about getting even better voice control thanks to the new Voice Interaction API, which will allow app developers to build voice control directly into their apps.
This means that owners of Android Marshmallow devices will soon be able to speak to their apps – and the apps will even talk back!
One of the examples Google has detailed is with the TuneIn app. A user can say “OK Google, listen to music on TuneIn”, and the TuneIn app will not only load, but will then ask out loud “What genre of music would you like to listen to?”.
The user can then reply with their favourite genre. This natural way of speaking to your smartphone and the apps installed could revolutionise the way we interact with our smartphones.
To demonstrate the potential of Voice Interaction API, Google has released a video, which can be viewed below.
Android Marshmallow battery life
Google has done a load of work surrounding battery life and power in Android Marshmallow, which will be music to many user’s ears. First up Google has cooked up Doze – where your device will use motion detection to realize when it hasn’t moved for an extended period of time and switches to a deeper sleep which consumes much less power.
Your device won’t be completely useless in this mode, as Doze still allows alarms and key notifications to come through. The search giant says it grabbed two Nexus 9 tablets, one running Lollipop and the other Android Marshmallow, loaded the same apps and settings on both and then tested the standby power drain on the two. Apparently, the Nexus 9 running Android Marshmallow lasted up to two times longer than its Lollipop counterpart. It sounds impressive and we’re hoping it translates to noticeably better battery life on our devices.
Android Marshmallow Now on Tap
With Android Marshmallow comes an intelligent new assistant feature called Now on Tap. An enhancement to Google Now, Now on Tap lets users access information anywhere on their Android Marshmallow device, no matter what they’re doing.Users can simple tap and hold the home button to pull up a query without leaving the app they’re in or website. If a friend emails you about seeing a movie, for example, Now on Tap could pull up info like ratings, the trailer or even let you buy tickets. You can also look at other apps on your phone, like Yelp or OpenTable, to book a dinner reservation or read reviews about a restaurant your friends wants to try for dinner.
Now on Tap doesn’t just work with a tap for place info: you can also do voice search for more specific queries, like who sings your new favorite song. It’s made app permissions more intuitive, giving users the option to allow or deny specific permissions within an app – rather than having to accept all permissions at once. Currently you have to accept permissions when you download an app, but with Android Marshmallow you won’t be asked to grant access to features until you come to use them for the first time in the app.
That means, for example, you can give WhatsApp access to your camera, but not to your microphone if you wish. You can even revoke access for a particular permission by diving into the settings if you accidentally allowed it. Google has simplified volume controls once again with the Android Marshmallow update, with more granular control over the various audio settings on your device from ringtones and alarms to music playback and voice calls.
Word selection has been made easier too, with Android Marshmallow highlighting text more intuitively, and a floating menu offers controls such as cut, copy and paste at your fingertips, rather than in the toolbar at the top of the display. Fire up the Chrome web browser on Android Marshmallow and you’ll benefit from Chrome Custom Tabs, which let websites customize the toolbar and menu of the Chrome tab to provide dedicated buttons and options.
An example shown on stage at Google IO was Pinterest, which was able to add a “Pin” button to the toolbar on certain pages. App linking has been vastly improved in Android Marshmallow, with Google’s software now more adept at working out whether a link should be opened in a browser or a compatible app. That means fewer “open with” pop up boxes flashing up on screen and generally just getting in the way.
Now it’s just a case of sitting back and waiting for your device to get the Android 6.0 upgrade.