Google has released the Android 6.0 SDK with the codename Marshmallow and we couldn't be more excited to get working with the great new features and APIs that have been added. There's a lot going on here but we've picked a few of our favorite new features to go over:
Fingerprint Authentication: Security is becoming extremely important for mobile applications as their usage becomes more and more common in the enterprise and everyday users being to entrust their most personal and confidential data to them. Samsung and a few other Android device manufacturer have made their own APIs for integrating with their specific fingerprint readers. Marshmallow now includes a
USE_FINGERPRINT permission and a
FingerprintManager class that can be easily used on any device that has the compatible hardware.
App Permissions: Android has long had a problem with app permissions that forced users to either accept all of the permissions that an app accepted at install time or simply not use the app. Marshmallow will allow users to allow or disallow permissions when the app actually needs them; for instance an app that actually need access to the devices's camera won't ask the user for permission until it is actually needed for the first time. This new permissions model will also allow users to be more granular in the extent of access they grant an app for a given permission.
Direct Share: Sharing data between apps has been a strength that Android has had over competing platforms for some time now and the new Direct Share APIs build upon that success. Now, you can register not only your app to deal with specific types of data (for instance we're currently able to register apps as able to URLs and like) but Marshmallow's Direct Share APIs allow you to register specific activities in your app to deal with the data shared to it in a custom way and provide users with a seamless and customized experience depending on the data type.
Enhanced Notifications: Android has always had a pretty advanced notifications system. Marshmallow adds a few new notification types and allows specific icons to be set for notifications, but the really interesting new functionality is that an app can now check what (if any) of its notifications are still active -- this will allow app developers to be more intelligent regarding how they notify users and possibly dismiss any notifications that the user may have already dealt with on a different device or web client.
Marshmallow is going to be a great release and create more opportunities for innovative new apps to be developed for both consumers and businesses. Use the contact form on this page to get your Android project moving and follow us on Twitter for more posts like this.