HWM (Malaysia) - - LEARN -

Un­less you're the proud owner of the Nexus 6P, you prob­a­bly haven't had the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the lat­est ver­sion of An­droid yet. Google's lat­est Nexus phone may have shipped with Marsh­mal­low, the yummy moniker slapped onto the most pol­ished ver­sion of An­droid so far, but it'll likely be a while be­fore other man­u­fac­tur­ers roll out their own up­dates.

But while you're stick­ing your neck out try­ing to catch wind of roast­ing marsh­mal­lows, here are some of the nifty fea­tures (not all of them are equally use­ful) that you can look for­ward to. Granted, some of them are de­pen­dent on man­u­fac­tur­ers them­selves to im­ple­ment, but it's nice to have the func­tion there at the very least.


As with An­droid Lol­lipop, Google has snuck in a hid­den Easter Egg in Marsh­mal­low that you have to sniff out for your­self. The sur­prise this time is also a Flappy Bird clone like on Lol­lipop, but with some tweaks to suit the lat­est ver­sion of An­droid. In­stead of gi­ant lol­lipops that threaten to crush your droid avatar, you have to guide the tiny red droid through an end­less pa­rade of skew­ered marsh­mal­lows.

To launch the game, nav­i­gate to the ‘About Phone' sec­tion in ‘Set­tings' and tap the An­droid ver­sion re­peat­edly un­til a large ‘M' icon ap­pears. Tap the icon and a marsh­mal­low with a pair of An­droid an­ten­nae will ap­pear. Af­ter that, tap and hold the icon briefly (you have to do this a few times) un­til the game launches. Now, just try not to get killed by gi­ant marsh­mal­lows!


This fea­ture is a lit­tle more use­ful than the first one. Marsh­mal­low has a hid­den Sys­tem UI Tuner that you can call up by tap­ping and hold­ing down on the gear icon. The gear icon will then spin to let you know that the ac­ti­va­tion was suc­cess­ful, and you'll also see a pop-up toast mes­sage to that ef­fect.

The Sys­tem UI Tuner sub-menu will then ap­pear at the bot­tom of your Set­tings menu. There are fewer op­tions than its name sug­gests, but there are some use­ful op­tions like the abil­ity to se­lect which no­ti­fi­ca­tion icons you want to see in your sta­tus bar. This es­sen­tially means that you can keep your sta­tus bar un­clut­tered even if you have a lot of things go­ing on at once.

An­droid also doesn't show the bat­tery per­cent­age in the sta­tus bar by de­fault, but now you can choose the op­tion to show the bat­tery per­cent­age in the sta­tus bar when the phone isn't charg­ing. On top of that, you can cus­tom­ize your Quick Set­tings panel by re­ar­rang­ing the tiles or re­mov­ing those that you don't need.


You might have read about a new bat­tery-sav­ing fea­ture in Marsh­mal­low called Doze. In a nut­shell, what Doze does is de­tect when your de­vice is not in use, such as when you go to bed or leave it unat­tended for long pe­ri­ods at work. It will then kick in to put your phone in hi­ber­na­tion.

How­ever, Doze isn't an all-or-noth­ing fea­ture and you can choose which apps you want it to ap­ply to. Doze es­sen­tially halts all no­ti­fi­ca­tions from apps that are doz­ing, but there will likely be apps that you want to al­ways re­ceive no­ti­fi­ca­tions from. In or­der to ex­clude th­ese apps from go­ing com­pletely silent, go to your ‘Bat­tery' set­tings and hit the three dot menu at the top right.

Se­lect the op­tion for ‘Bat­tery Op­ti­miza­tion', tap ‘Not Op­ti­mized', then hit ‘All Apps' to se­lect the apps that you want to ex­clude from Doze. This way, you can en­sure that you'll al­ways re­ceive Hang­outs or What­sApp mes­sages the minute they come in.


Thanks to Marsh­mal­low's sup­port for the USB Power De­liv­ery spec­i­fi­ca­tion, you can now use one USB Type-C de­vice to charge an­other. One key fea­ture of the Power De­liv­ery spec­i­fi­ca­tion is that power di­rec­tion is no longer fixed – as long as the prod­uct has power (re­gard­less of whether it is a host or pe­riph­eral), it can sup­ply it to an­other de­vice. USB Type-C cables also do away with the host-to-pe­riph­eral con­cept of older USB ports, which is why they can have the same con­nec­tor at both ends.

Un­for­tu­nately, USB Type-C ports aren't all that com­mon on phones yet, but as we move into 2016 and be­yond, we'll hope­fully see more phones that sup­port the spec­i­fi­ca­tion. So the next time you for­get to bring your por­ta­ble charger, you could just leech power from a friend's phone.


Sup­port for mi­croSD cards has vir­tu­ally dis­ap­peared from flag­ship phones, but Marsh­mal­low may just have paved the way for their re­turn. A new fea­ture called adopt­able stor­age now puts ex­ter­nal stor­age like mi­croSD cards on the same level as in­ter­nal stor­age. As the name sug­gests, the phone adopts the ex­ter­nal stor­age and re­for­mats it so that it is treated as if it were part of the in­ter­nal stor­age. This is also more se­cure, as a re­for­mat­ted card can no longer be used on an­other de­vice and is en­crypted with a static 128-bit AES key.

Adopt­able stor­age lets you in­stall apps and store pri­vate app data on the ex­ter­nal card. In con­trast, pre­vi­ous ver­sions of An­droid only sup­ported SD cards in a lim­ited way and re­stricted users to stor­ing things like pho­tos. There were ways to cir­cum­vent that, but they were both­er­some and per­haps caused more trou­ble than they were worth.

With adopt­able stor­age, man­u­fac­tur­ers may now have more in­cen­tive to bring back sup­port for ex­ter­nal stor­age. This is def­i­nitely good news for the con­sumer, as you could save money by buy­ing a lower ca­pac­ity model and pair­ing it with an ex­ter­nal card. Does this mark the re­turn of 16GB phones?

This menu lets you de­clut­ter your sta­tus bar.

Hold­ing down the wrench icon will ac­ti­vate the Sys­tem UI Tuner.

You can choose to show the bat­tery per­cent­age in the sta­tus bar.

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