October 16, 2015 By Kevin Olivieri 3 min read

1.4 billion people: That’s the latest number of Android users across the globe. Nearly 20 percent of the Earth’s population is utilizing Google’s Android mobile operating system (OS) on a day-to-day basis. Let that sink in for a moment.

Android is the dominant mobile platform worldwide. If you ask any company that’s currently leveraging bring-your-own-device (BYOD), I’m sure they can confirm this based on the device representation in their mobile work environments.

Enter Android Marshmallow

Android isn’t going anywhere in terms of popularity, and with its newest candy-themed OS — Android Marshmallow — it’s likely to become an even more attractive option for enterprises and users alike.

Not only does Android 6.0 feature much-improved battery life, but it also has several components that bring out the best in productivity and security in enterprise mobility.

1. Closer Integration With Android for Work

Introduced during the Lollipop reign, Google’s containerized Android for Work platform enables organizations to house corporate data, email, contacts and work apps on a user’s device separately from personal data. With Marshmallow, several new and updated features such as corporate-owned, single-use (COSU) features and remote update management have been introduced for better mobility management across the enterprise.

2. Official Introduction of Biometrics

Previously, biometrics and fingerprint scanning were features of specific Android-powered phones, notably the Galaxy S6 and Note 4. Android Marshmallow now brings full support with a native API for devices and apps. For instance, say you have a secure email or banking app you’d like to use your fingerprint to unlock — Marshmallow makes it happen. That doesn’t mean you have to be biometric-oriented; passcodes are still quite passable.

3. App Permissions

In previous Android iterations, the app download process could be an arduous laundry list of permissions that could take hours to individually check and uncheck. Marshmallow finally changes that, allowing for the permissions to be requested only when someone uses a specific feature of an app that requires it.

This applies directly to programs developed specifically for Android 6.0, but users also have the option of individually revoking permissions for legacy apps, as well.

4. Google Now on Tap

Perhaps the most impressive feature is the contextually aware Google Now on Tap, which serves up relevant information at the exact right moment. For instance, say you get an email or text from a co-worker regarding a new product with which you’re not too familiar. With Google Now on Tap, you can hold down the home button and you’ll get a card with all the information about the particular product, along with quick links to apps with more information.

5. App Backup

Default automatic app backups are another key feature for Android Marshmallow, backing up app data every 24 hours over Wi-Fi. This means if your device is lost or stolen, you’ll be able to sync the new device to your Google Drive and get all your saved app information right onto it. Developers also have more control since they’re able to opt out or even restrict this feature.

Another benefit of the data automatically uploaded to Google Drive is that a user’s precious storage space isn’t negatively impacted.

6. App Linking

Finally, the Marshmallow OS comes equipped with much better awareness around what apps can open what links through the App Links initiative. Previously, when a user clicked a link on a device, an Open With dialog box popped up with several access options. That’s now been rejiggered to make things more seamless, and links now open in the correct apps without the dialog box, saving time and frustration.

Managing Marshmallow Devices

Marshmallow is out now and quickly proliferating in organizations. Make sure your enterprise is ready and your devices are secured with the right enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution.

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