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Android Marshmallow is here. After months of speculation and rumor, Google has finally started rolling out the latest update to its mobile operating system.

But what exactly makes it so special? And more importantly, when will you get it on your own device?

The Latest and Greatest

Google have fallen into the well-worn path of releasing a major operating system upgrade on an annual basis. For the last 12 months we’ve all been using Lollipop, but that’s now about to be superseded by Marshmallow.

The initial Android “M” developer preview was unveiled and released back on May 28th at the Google I/O conference. Since then, additional developer builds have been steadily released, and now it’s finally really for the general public.

There’s no major design overhaul as we saw with the release of Lollipop — “Material Design” stays. Instead, the new features mainly focus around improving the user experience.

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Let’s investigate some of the biggest headline grabbers.

Google Now on Tap

Google Now becomes more impressive by the day. It’s basically like Google’s version of Apple’s Siri 8 Things You Probably Didn’t Realize Siri Could Do 8 Things You Probably Didn’t Realize Siri Could Do Siri has become one of the iPhone’s defining features, but for many people, it’s not always the most useful. While some of this is due to the limitations of voice recognition, the oddity of using... Read More or Microsoft’s Cortana Cortana Arrives on the Desktop & Here's What She Can Do for You Cortana Arrives on the Desktop & Here's What She Can Do for You Is Microsoft's intelligent digital assistant as competent on the Windows 10 desktop as she is on Windows Phone? Cortana has a lot of expectation on her shoulders. Let's see how she holds up. Read More — but it starts off with a significant advantage thanks to the sheer amount of data Google has about you.

“Google Now on Tap” aims to integrate the service even further into the fabric of the phone itself. The idea is that the service will be able to give you contextual information for whatever is on your screen at that moment, regardless of what you’re doing or which app you’re using.

For example, if your friend asks if you want to go for dinner at a fancy new restaurant across town, Google Now on Tap will be able to instantly show you information such as customer reviews, opening times, the menu, and directions.

To access it, just long-press your phone’s Home button.

Permission Management

Some apps’ extensive permissions requirements have been a sore point in the Android operating system for a long time — why does that new game need access to your camera and contact list? In Lollipop and earlier there was no way to manage these permissions without third party tools. Thanks to Marshmallow, you can toggle which app permissions you want to grant.

Of course, you need to keep in mind that disabling some permissions might have unintended consequences. Luckily, you can reverse any changes at a later date by going to Settings > Apps.

Fingerprint Scanner

Some Android models have supported fingerprint login for a couple of years, but these were always developed by the hardware manufacturer rather than being native to the operating system.

Marshmallow incorporates it into the OS for the first time. This integration means the feature’s benefits extend beyond just logging in — Android Pay is set to become much more streamlined Everything You Need to Know about Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay Everything You Need to Know about Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay all have their advantages and disadvantages. Let's take a look at exactly how each of them works and who can use them. Read More and easy to use as well.

Android Pay

Android Pay is essentially the successor to Google Wallet. It was announced along with Marshmallow at the I/O Conference in the spring, and it will roll out along with the new operating system over the coming months.

It will let users link multiple cards to a single phone, and upon launch will be instantly usable in more than 700,000 stores in the United States. It can be secured by using a PIN code, a password, or the aforementioned a fingerprint scanner.

Google Wallet isn’t going away entirely — it will continue to act as a way to transfer money between friends 6 Apps to Help You Transfer Money Between Friends 6 Apps to Help You Transfer Money Between Friends Sometimes you need to send money to friends quickly and securely. Here are six of the best options available. Read More and will power the recently-announced ability to send money via Gmail.

Silent Mode is Back!

One of the biggest criticisms of the otherwise highly popular Lollipop release was the change Google made to the phone’s silent mode. There were basically three options — loud, totally silent (disabling alarms et al), and priority mode (which no one ever really understood, though we tried very hard How to Set Up Android's Priority Mode (and Get Back Silent Mode) How to Set Up Android's Priority Mode (and Get Back Silent Mode) Volume controls changed a lot in Lollipop, so we're here to help you make sense of all of it. Read More ). It was a mess.

Thankfully, Google has come to its senses. Now you just need to turn your volume all the way down and your phone will be totally silent with the exception of alarms — just like the good old days.

Priority mode remains for those who found it useful.

Revamped Cut, Copy, and Paste

Android has persisted with confusing cut, copy, and paste icons for years. If you don’t do a lot of copying and pasting on your device, it was easy to forget what each of the icons signified.

Thankfully, these icons have been replaced with the actual words. It should make day-to-day usage a lot more straightforward.

They’ve also been supplemented by a new “Share” button — it’ll let you share any selected text directly to another app on your phone, almost removing the need for a copy and paste feature entirely.

Translation Is Easier and Faster

Marshmallow makes Google Translate more ubiquitous than ever. If you do a lot of work in multiple languages, you’ll be pleased to learn you can now translate any text on the fly without leaving the app you’re working in via the text selection menu.

It has also been reported that other apps will be able to add options to the menu, so we can expect to see more useful possibilities arriving in the coming months.

When Will You Get It?

We know you’re all itching to get your hands on it, but sadly, the fragmented nature of the Android operating system means the rollout will be at best erratic, and at worst non-existent.

Here’s a look at which phones will get it, which might get it, and which won’t get it — along with potential release dates

Google Nexus

As ever, owners of recent Google Nexus phones will be the first to get their hands on it, and the updates have already started rolling out.

Google has confirmed the following devices will be eligible:

• Nexus 5

• Nexus 6

• Nexus 7 (2013 version)

• Nexus 9

• Nexus Player

• Android One

Of course, the newest Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P will ship with Marshmallow pre-installed. The Nexus 4, Nexus 7 (pre-2013), and Nexus 10 will not receive the update.

HTC

HTC has announced that most of their flagship HTC One range will get the update by the end of 2015, along with some of their other models.

Here are the phones that have been confirmed so far:

• HTC One M9

• HTC One M8

• HTC One M9+

• HTC One E9

• HTC One E9+

• HTC One ME

• HTC One E8

• HTC One M8 EYE

• HTC Butterfly 3

• HTC Desire 826

• HTC Desire 820

• HTC Desire 816

Samsung

Samsung was quite fast at updating from KitKat to Lollipop last fall, so owners can expect quite a fast turnaround again this year.

There is currently no official list of which Samsung devices will receive the upgrade, but it’s safe to say that the following will be included:

• Galaxy S6

• Galaxy S6 Edge

• Galaxy S5

• Galaxy Note Edge

• Galaxy Note 5

• Galaxy S6 Edge+

• Galaxy S6 Duos

• Galaxy Note 4

• Galaxy Note 4 Duos

• Galaxy Alpha

• Galaxy Tab A

Motorola

Motorola has always been one of the fastest when it comes to upgrading their handsets. As they move increasingly closer to a “pure” Android experience, some devices have even received their updates before the Google Nexus range.

Here are the devices that have already been confirmed:

• 2015 Moto X Pure Edition (third-gen)

• 2015 Moto X Style (third-gen)

• 2015 Moto X Play

• 2015 Moto G (third-gen)

• 2014 Moto X

• 2014 Moto G and Moto G with 4G LTE2 (second-gen)

• 2014 Moto Maxx

• 2014 Moto Turbo

Sony

Sony has confirmed several of the devices from their Xperia range will get the upgrade, but they haven’t released a timeline. These include:

• Xperia Z5

• Xperia Z5 Compact

• Xperia Z5 Premium

• Xperia Z4 Tablet

• Xperia Z3+

• Xperia Z3

• Xperia Z3 Compact

• Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

• Xperia Z2

• Xperia Z2 Tablet

• Xperia M5

• Xperia C5 Ultra

• Xperia M4 Aqua

• Xperia C4

Will You Upgrade?

Will you make the switch to Android Marshmallow? What new features are you most excited about? If you’re not planning to upgrade, why not? What’s holding you back?

You can let us know your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.

  1. Will
    March 13, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    I have an lg flex when are they going to upgrade it to the marshmallow app ? Or is it gonna even happen ?

  2. bben
    March 12, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    My Samsung Galaxy Victory phone is still on v4.1.2 they will probably not bother to include my 2 year old but not top of the line phone in the update. Of course they will blame it on me for not spending $500 or more to replace a perfectly fine phone every 6 months. Any previous updates were at least a year behind. I actually use my much older Moto flip phone for actual phone calls as it performs this one function far better than the so called smart phone.

  3. Colonel Angus
    October 14, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    Sign me up! I've been waiting on this since I heard app permissions were going to be included. No more having to give some QR Scanner access to my contacts list!

  4. Matt Lansell
    October 14, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Depends if they allow us to remove the Google Now rubbish from it. It's already damn difficult to remove properly under Lollipop. Some of us DON'T want the phone listening to us all the time, and forcing a great big search bar on the home screens, y'know.

  5. Pravin S
    October 13, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    My cousins and friends have Android One phones, nearly 20 Android ones :D . Today, one of my friends came to update his phone with Marshmallow. I was excited to see the new features of M. It was a 337 MB of update. All I could find was Boot Animation Change and Build Number change. I couldn't find much difference in the UI, My Bad!!! Almost everything remains the same. Now, SD Card can be used as Internal Memory or Portable Memory. That's all I could find.

    It's still buggy, some apps FC followed by a restart. Some apps needed reinstallation as the phone was updated from 5.1 to 6.

    Marshmallow (UI) = A soft sticky pop without the stick :D

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