Marshmallow Is Coming!
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Wednesday, 30 September 2015

As well as some bits of hardware, Google just announced that the next version of Android was waiting to be released to the world - or the devices that are ready to accept it.

Android is now a fairly mature operating system, some might say too mature given its extensive rambling API.

 

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Marshmallow is Android 6.0 and it will start to roll out to supported Nexus devices 4,5,6, Player and Android One.

As far as Nexus 7 is concerned only the 2013 version will get Android 6.0. It is surprising that even Google can't be bothered to keep Android fresh on both Nexus 7 devices - it doesn't set a good example for the other hardware manufacturers. Does phone hardware really date so rapidly that Android outstrips its capabilities in a single version upgrade? 

If you like to stay ahead where hardware is concerned, there are now two new Nexus devices - 5X and 6P  - complete with Fingerprint scanners, Android Sensor hub, low power WiFi scanning and ultra low power BLE.

Which new hardware is important depends on what you plan to code for, but the sensor hub should make it easier to make use of sensor data without killing the device's battery. It is a dedicated low-power processor which manages the sensor data without the main processor getting involved. The accelerometer, gyro, fingerprint reader, etc, are connected to the hub and it has enough processing power to recognize gestures and significant conditions and wake up the main processor.

For example, the sensor hub makes it possible to build a step counter that can operate while the main processor is asleep. This combined with the new doze mode should mean that the phone can appear to be on all time while extending battery life: 

 

  

Two other interesting hardware developments are the new Chromecast and the Chromecast Audio. The audio device is design to allow users to upgrade their existing HiFi to digital streaming. The differences between the two Chomecast APIs seems to come down to "don't send video to the audio device". 

With the new OS about to be released. the developer preview is about to be shut down and replaced by the real thing. The code will also be shipped to the Android Open Source Project at the same time. Real devices flashed with the preview will not automatically update and need to manually flashed to the final version. 

Although not part of Android 6 - why not? - the Data Binding Library looks as if it is going mainstream at the same time. This is possibly the biggest change to Android programming ever and it is backward compatible to Android 2.1.

See the video for an overview: 

 

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 07 January 2016 )