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Posts tagged ‘MARSHMALLOW’


BlackBerry releases its Hub+ apps on Android

Even if Kim K ends up ditching BlackBerry, she could still replicate part of the BB experience with an Android phone. The Canadian phonemaker has released its Hub+ suite of applications on Google Play for devices running Android Marshmallow. BB’s Hub shows all your mail and social media notifications in one interface, while the suite as a whole comes with the Calendar app and a password manager. As the company wrote in its announcement post, we once described Hub as the “closest [thing] to [a] universal inbox.” The Hub+ used to be exclusive to BlackBerry 10 and to BB’s Android phone the Priv, but the company’s sluggish sales hinder the software from reaching as many users as possible.

By releasing the suite for all Android Marshmallow devices, it now has more potential users. However, its success depends on how many people deem it worthy of a monthly subscription. It’s only free for the first 30 days, after which you’ll either have to pay 99 cents per month or agree to continue using the suite with ads. The subscription-based version will also give you access to the company’s Contacts, Tasks, Device Search, Notes and Launcher apps. If you want BB’s virtual keyboard, though, you’re out of luck.

Take note that some Marshmallow phones might not be able to run the suite yet. However, the company is adding more and more models to its compatibility list everyday, so you can try again. That is, unless you have a tablet — Hub+ will only work on phones. BlackBerry, by the way, has big plans for the suite and aims to make it available for Android Lollipop and iOS devices in the future.

BlackBerry pivots to software with Hub+ Android app (Photo: Google Play)

— USA TODAY Tech (@usatodaytech) August 4, 2016

Source: BlackBerry, Google Play (1), (2)


Samsung won me with VR but is losing me with updates

I want to get a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, I really do. I like my Galaxy S6 Edge, with its striking curved screen, and the new model improves on it in nearly every way. Most importantly, I like to dabble in virtual reality — I’m not ready to commit $700+ to a PC-based headset yet — and I can still get a new Gear VR headset free with the S7 Edge. Shamefully, though, my S6 Edge hasn’t received an update to Android 6.01 Marshmallow, leaving me high and dry with Lollipop. I certainly didn’t expect that with a $800 flagship phone, and I refuse to let it happen again.

Marshmallow first came out on Nexus devices in October 2015, and “Nougat,” aka Android 7.0, will probably arrive around the same time later this year. The new release is full of interesting features, including a multi-window mode, improved settings and, most importantly to me, a new VR mode. For those reasons, and also the fact that I like having the latest software, I would like to get it as soon as it arrives.

The S6 Edge came out in early 2015 (I have the international, unlocked version), and some folks have indeed received an Android 6.0 update. To find out if there was a problem with my phone or carrier, I contacted the company’s support line in France, and was told that the release had not rolled out to me yet. So what’s the delay? Some users have reported problems with the fingerprint scanner and passwords after updating, along with slowness and battery issues. If that’s accurate, then Samsung may have decided to work on Marshmallow before releasing it widely.

Does my phone still work with Lollipop? Of course, but that’s not the point. Marshmallow brings a more stylish UI, a memory manager that my phone desperately needs, an improved “do not disturb” function (which I desperately need), per-app battery optimization and more. Also, as someone who likes to have the latest software (and, since I write about it, I kind of need it), I’d really rather not wait for it.

To reiterate, I really like the Galaxy S6 Edge and Gear VR. Samsung wisely partnered with Oculus, and the Gear VR is easily the best mobile virtual reality headset out there. As I mentioned in my mini-review of the original Gear VR Innovator Edition, I love the potential of VR filmmaking (even if creators haven’t quite cracked it yet), and the headset-and-phone combo gives me a way to view content. That includes games like Land’s End and interactive VR films including The Martian VR Experience. In addition, Samsung has created a VR version of its web browser that allows you to see 360-degree videos and other content.

I don’t want to sacrifice VR for the latest updates, but what if I can have both? The best way to make sure you’ve always got the latest Android release is to get a Nexus phone. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a VR option for Nexus that’s even close to as good as what Samsung has — at least, until Android Nougat came along.

For Nougat, Google has created a whole new VR platform called Daydream, and a VR mode with improved performance. It also created a reference headset that looks a lot like the Gear VR, but includes a motion-sensitive remote that resembles the controllers for the Vive and Oculus Rift. Its VR tech will only work on “Daydream-approved” smartphones, which will presumably include the company’s own upcoming Nexus models.

If things go as planned, Google’s VR should be on par with Samsung’s Galaxy S7/Note and Gear VR combination. There is a risk it’ll take Google a while to get to the same level as Samsung, which has a big head start and Oculus behind it. However, Google says that HTC, ZTE, Huawei, LG and, yes, Samsung have Daydream-ready phones in the works, and it’s partnering with HBO, Ubisoft, the NBA and others for content.

Until a few months ago, I was ready to get a Galaxy S7 Edge and the latest Gear VR headset.

This new information has created quite a conundrum for me. Until a few months ago, I was ready to get a Galaxy S7 Edge and the latest Gear VR headset. Now I’ve decided to wait until the fall, when the first Daydream-compliant smartphones and headsets arrive. I’ll continue to use my S6 Edge and Gear VR, and hopefully it’ll get the Marshmallow update before Nougat arrives.

I doubt my own experience is unique. Anyone who drops nearly a grand on a smartphone will want to wring the maximum utility out of it. Samsung delivered a great design, great screen and lots of power with the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, and the Gear VR gave users another good reason to consider it. With the discouraging delays to Marshmallow on my S6 Edge, however, I’ve lost confidence in Samsung’s ability to keep its latest model up to date. And once Daydream comes along, it’ll have lost one of the best advantages it had in the Android market.


Android can launch apps based on where you are

Google really wants the apps you use to take the context of where you are into account. Thus Nearby, a feature that uses Bluetooth and your device’s GPS to deliver you apps based on where you are. The post on Google’s official Android blog gives a few examples of how this might work: printing photos directly from your phone when you’re in a CVS Pharmacy or using the Mobile Passport app to duck the customs line at certain airports.

The feature is baked into an update to Google Play Services that’s rolling out now and works on devices running KitKat and up; all you really need to do here to use Nearby is have Bluetooth and GPS activated. Much like physical web beacons, you’ll receive a notification when you’re in proximity to one of the Nearby apps and if you’d rather not check it out, you don’t have to.

Source: Official Android Blog


Marshmallow is now on 10 percent of Android devices

The latest version of Android just hit a big, big milestone. Google’s early June developer stats have revealed that Marshmallow is now on just over 10 percent of Android devices, representing a huge jump from just 2.3 percent in March. Notably, only some of that surge can be credited to people upgrading from Lollipop. While the not-quite-current version’s adoption did go down (to 35.4 percent), the biggest declines in usage were for Jelly Bean and KitKat. In essence: many of those moving to Marshmallow may well have been replacing devices that were 3 or more years old.

The timing isn’t coincidental, as you might have gathered. In the three months since we last looked back, numerous smartphone makers have delivered Marshmallow phones in force. The Galaxy S7 is the big kahuna, but you can also point to phones like the HTC 10, LG G5 and Sony’s newer Xperias as factors. If you bought a brand new device this spring, especially if it was reasonably high-end, it might have been hard to avoid Marshmallow.

To us, the big unknown is how well Marshmallow will fare by the time its successor rolls around in a few months, around Marshmallow’s first anniversary. Lollipop took a year and a half to become the dominant Android flavor. Although Marshmallow isn’t necessarily going to repeat history, its year-one figures should give you a good idea as to whether or not it’s doing as well as its predecessor.

Android device share circa early June 2016

Source: Android Developers





It’s not quite an all-out overhaul yet the new Marshmallow update looks the part and is filled with some superb tweaks and improvements that will go a long way in boosting the overall quality of your current Android 6.0 smartphone. The latest version of Google’s software is filled with welcome enhancements that include an OS clean up, more internal storage and superior battery life.

It’s been nearly 6 months since version 6.0 was unleashed on the market, notably onto various Nexus devices, and then slowly but surely a whole host of other devices have been receiving the update. With the arrival of the previous update came plenty of excitement which unfortunately as users familiarised themselves with turned a little more into slight frustration and added disappointment. Thankfully, with the release of Android Marshmallow the majority of bugs and more undesirable elements of the previous update have been given a much needed facelift.

Marshmallow is set to polish up your smartphone in many ways boasting lots of brand new features and developments. First up Google Now has been significantly improved and is pretty much present at every corner on the new operating system. What makes it all the more better than previous efforts is its focus on understanding the actual context of your searches and requests.

There’s an all-round smoother app experience on the latest update which is great for gamers in particular and those who enjoy online gaming and playing online casino sites such as The smoother experience allows players to play slots without the interference of lag and jittering. For those app lovers who fill their phones to the brim with various games will be pleased to hear that managing storage on their smartphone will be easier than ever. The new OS will give users a chance to keep a closer eye on the space they’ve used especially thanks to a much more efficient interface. Coupled with its new Doze feature, which will automatically detect if your phone is inactive and not moving and adjust applicable settings in order to preserve battery life, Marshmallow looks set to be Google’s most impressive OS update to date.

Apple Pay has been a big highlight of recent Apple smartphone releases and now Marshmallow users will be able to utilise Android Pay. It allows you to pay for goods and services in-store wirelessly and more securely with the use of a virtual-based account number and also allows you to keep track of all your past transactions and purchases using the Android Pay app.

As already mentioned there are plenty of improvements on the Marshmallow update just as much as there are new and exciting features to enjoy. One of which is the addition of a new System UI Tuner which allows you to pick and choose which info you want included across the top status bar. And there’s even a nice little add-on text box below the lock screen that will allow users to create their own personal message.


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