Google, Samsung, HTC and Sony
Update: The Android Marshmallow update is out now for certain devices. It first came out for the Nexus 5, 6, 7 and 9 as well as the Nexus Player. Since then it’s arrived for the LG G4, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the Moto G 2015 in some regions. While most handsets are still waiting, several manufacturers have shared schedules for the Android Marshmallow upgrade, so 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 not surprisingly Google’s new 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.
While most phones are still waiting on Marshmallow, we are already seeing the gentle roll out of the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow update, with new emojis and a few little bug fixes bundled in for good measure.
To make the latest Android update less of a mystery, here’s our constantly updated information on when it’s likely to land on your phone.
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, but the update is already available on many of Google’s other devices too.
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.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 is the first device to receive the Marshmallow update. It’s coming out in Hungary at the moment, and we expect it to launch in the coming weeks for other models. It’s quite a surprise the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will get Marshmallow before the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ or the Samsung Galaxy S6 though.
Previously a leaked roadmap suggested 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. But that never happened.
A separate road map suggests the Samsung Galaxy S5 and all its variants will be getting the update by the end of June 2016. The Samsung Galaxy Alpha though isn’t set to get its update until Q2 2016 – by then we may already be hearing word of Android N.
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.
Then there are the tablets – the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S range are both on Android Lollipop, and are 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.
Both the HTC One M9 and HTC One A9 were supposed to see the Android 6 update before the end of December. HTC’s Vice President of Product Management, Mo Versi, spoke on Twitter to share the update for the unlocked version and confirmed the Android 6.0.1 emoji will be on board.
If you’re in the US and have the HTC One M9 unlocked, you should now have the update. Right now though it’s not clear how long it will be until the HTC One M9 in other countries gets the update, despite December having been and gone.
HTC tweeted out a list of its phones that will be getting Android 6.0 late last year and that suggested the HTC One M8 would be updated by the end of 2015, but that hasn’t happened. However, beta tests were carried out in December, so with any luck we’ll see the update arrive on the M8 in January.
HTC has also confirmed that it will 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’s coming to those devices though.
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 of updated phones 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.
There’s no official word on when the updates will start rolling out, but Twitter tipster @Ricciolo reckons the Z5 family will get updated in January, with older models to follow shortly.
LG, Motorola, OnePlus, Huawei, Asus and ZTE
LG is the first third-party manufacturer to get its Marshmallow updates out of the gate. The LG G4 is now being updated to Android 6.0 Marshmallow in Europe including the UK. Other countries receiving the update include Poland, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Croatia and Turkey.
The update is also now rolling out to Sprint in the US, but there’s no official word on which other devices will get the upgrade, or when.
When you do get the update it’ll include new features such as two Do Not Disturb modes and a Doze mode, which turns off background apps when the phone is in sleep mode to help save on battery life.
The LG G3 missed out on Android 5.1 but it seems like it’ll get the Android 6 update. First off it appeared on a Korean LG support page and now there’s been word of an update appearing on the SourceCode website. So keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks.
The rumoured LG G4 Pro may even launch with Android Marshmallow depending on when it arrives – and if it doesn’t it’ll likely get updated fairly quickly.
We’d expect that the LG V10 will get Android 6 soon, while the LG G Flex 2, LG G4c and other fairly recent LG phones will probably get Android Marshmallow eventually too. It’s even possible that the LG G2 will get it, as it’s been found with a Marshmallow listing on Geekbench.
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.
In the US the Moto X Pure Edition (2015) is currently getting the Android 6 update on Verizon, Sprint and USC. You will be able to get the update now if you check in your settings.
There are reports of the Moto X Style, Moto X Force and Moto X 2014 receiving the update in various places around the world, including the UK and in the Moto X 2014’s case, the US. Though of course some carriers won’t have pushed the update out yet.
The Moto X Play runs Android 5.1.1 but it will get Android 6 eventually. As will the 4G version of the Moto E (2nd gen), though that last one is only getting it in Europe, Latin America, Canada and Asia.
The Moto G 2015 is now receiving the update to Android 6 Marshmallow but it depends on where you are in the world whether you’ll be getting it soon or not.
OnePlus has now shared its Android 6.0 Marshmallow update plans with the world, and it’s looking good if you own one of the Chinese manufacturer’s handsets.
The OnePlus 2, OnePlus One and OnePlus X will all be receiving the Android update eventually. The OnePlus 2 and OnePlus One will both get it before the end of March 2016, while it’s not clear on the timing of the OnePlus X update just yet.
If we had to take a guess though, OnePlus will leave the X Marshmallow update until after March.
If you’ve got a Huawei device you might have quite a wait for Android Marshmallow, as the majority of its devices are still on Android KitKat or earlier.
The company has confirmed that in China the Huawei P8, Huawei P8 Max, Mate S, Ascend Mate 7, P8 Youth Edition, G7, G7 Plus, X2, 4X and Play 4C will be getting Android 6.0 at some point, though it’s uncertain whether they’ll all get updated to it elsewhere in the world. It also hasn’t stated exactly when the updates will arrive.
BlackBerry released the Priv back in 2015, and it was the first phone from the Canadian manufacturer to feature Android software. When it came out the company said it would be getting the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update at one stage, but it didn’t announce an official schedule.
Now it’s 2016, BlackBerry has said we will know a release date for the update within the next quarter. That means we’ll know the date by March 31, but there’s no guarantee it’ll even be a quick update after that.
All in all, BlackBerry Priv owners are going to have to wait for the update quite a bit longer.
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.
An admin on the Asus forums said it plans to upgrade the PadFoneS, ZenFone2, ZenFone2 Deluxe, ZenFone2 Laser and the ZenFone Selfie. There was no word on when each will be updated to Android Marshmallow though.
Honor has revealed its update schedule for Marshmallow, and it’s bad news if you have one of the Huawei-made handsets. It’s going to be a bit of 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 not until February 2016. And there’s no confirmation that the phones will get the update before the end of that month either – February is just when the update process is starting, so it could be any time 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, although the newer and more high-profile your phone, the better your chances of getting the upcoming Android release.
What do you get with Android 6.0 Marshmallow?
While you’re waiting to get Android 6.0 Marshmallow, you’d probably like to know more about the new features it incorporates. We’ve been playing around with the new OS, and here are some of our favorite features.
It’s not a big design-based update like Lollipop was. Material Design is still intact here, and most of the focus is on new features and bug fixes.
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, so you don’t even need to open up an app – you can just unlock your phone with your finger and place it 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.
However, Android Pay is only available in the US right now, and there are no clear plans for when it’ll be rolling out around the world.
Android Marshmallow fingerprint support
We’ve seen some smartphone manufacturers already include fingerprint scanners in their devices, but with Android Marshmallow Google is standardizing support across the platform.
You can use a fingerprint scanner to unlock your device and pay for media from the Google Play Store, and the fingerprint scanning tech is also open to developers. That means devs can build it into their own applications, enabling you to sign into them without a password and pay for goods using Android Pay.
Android Marshmallow voice controls
Android 6.0 opens the way for improved voice control features thanks to the new Voice Interaction API, which will enable app developers to build voice control directly into their apps.
This means 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 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 “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 our smartphone and the apps installed on it could revolutionise the way we interact with our devices.
Google has released a video to demonstrate the potential of Voice Interaction API, which you can view below.
YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OW1A4XFRuyc&feature=youtu.be
Android Marshmallow battery life
Google has done a lot of work in the areas of battery life and power in Android Marshmallow, which will be music to many users’ ears.
First up Google has developed the Doze feature. Your device will use motion sensors to detect when it hasn’t been moved for an extended period of time, and will switch to a deeper sleep mode that consumes much less power.
Your device won’t be completely useless in this mode, however, as Doze still allows for alarms to go off and key notifications to come through.
Google says it took 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 for 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 enables users to access information anywhere on their Android Marshmallow device, no matter what they’re doing.
Users can simply tap and hold the home button to pull up a query without leaving the app or website they’re in. If a friend emails you about seeing a movie, for example, Now on Tap could pull up info such as ratings or the trailer, or even enable you to 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 a friend has suggested.
And Now on Tap isn’t just for basic info – you can also use voice searches for more specific queries, such as finding out who sings a particular song.
Android Marshmallow permissions
App permissions are more intuitive in Marshmallow, 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, that 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’ve accidentally allowed it.
More new features on Android 6.0 Marshmallow
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 enables websites to 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 getting in the way.
Now it’s just a case of sitting back and waiting for your device to get the Android Marshmallow update.