On August 17th, the next big Android 6.0 update was unveiled to be Android Marshmallow. It's a main entry into the Android line up and because of this it will bringing some big changes to your smart phone and the way you use it. At Droid Slots, we're always concerned with people's mobile gambling experience and so thought it would be best to run down the changes that have been announced for the new update, and how those changes could affect your mobile gambling.
What Is Android Marshmallow?
Android Marshmallow is the latest update to Google's Android OS. You may also hear it being called Android 6.0, which is its more technical name, far separated from the dessert based names that Google usually bestow on their Android updates.
This version is not out yet but is expected to release Autumn of this year based on the company's track record of previous release dates. At the moment the update is announced to be available day one for the HTC One M9, One M8, Google Nexus 6 and the Nexus 5.
As with all other Android updates, it's coming with a plethora of changes and additional functions that we will explore below. It's looking to be a pretty big update from the information released so far, so we will update this list as the weeks draw on.
In a move that ‘doesn't' sound at all like a rip off of Apple Pay, Google are also introducing a new payment system exclusively for Android. It comes very recently after the shaky release of Google Wallet.
Android Pay, in the same way as Apple Pay, is a payment system that stores your bank details to your phone or any device compatible with the Marshmallow OS. From there you can use it to purchase items online or in selected high street chains using the contactless payment system.
Apple Pay has slowly become accepted by more and more online casinos, and all likelihood points that this same pattern will emerge for Android Pay also. It's not as if Google doesn't have sway in the tech market, even if a lot of their more recent endeavours haven't been executed quite so successfully.
A majority of mobile casino players are Android users. It makes sense that a large number will upgrade to Android Marshmallow and then go on to download their games through Google's own play store. Google would be missing a treat if they didn't make Android Pay a big part in these transactions.
If this becomes the case, then making payments and deposits will become a lot simpler. You won't have to add any payment details per casino, instead you would make use of the inbuilt payment details on your own phone for all your gambling services. Your phone in effect, becomes a debit card.
The sudden appearance of new competitors in the mobile payment market will certainly have a big effect on the current methods of payment that are popular with casinos, such as Boku. Their current model relies on members paying using their mobile phone number and deducting it from their phone bill later on. With the massive increase in the widespread availability of mobile internet, it looks like Apple and Android Pay will be coming to shake up the market.
It'll be interesting to see what the current monoliths of the industry do in response to this new technological shift.
Protection From Addiction
This isn't just a good thing for your own convenience either. If everything functions in the way Google wants it to, it could be a big step forward in terms of protection from addictive gambling habits.
Many gambling sites allow you to put a block on specific cards or accounts if you feel that your spending habits have gotten out of hand. It's a good measure to prevent destructive addictive behaviour.
The downside is that although the process is filled with good intentions, it's very easy to overcome. Members can usually open a new account, or simply apply for a new card and many gambling services are none the wiser to the fact that it's the same person.
How Android Pay Could Help
A payment system like Android Pay could greatly reduce problems like this. If all your payment and personal information is now tied to your phone, and that phone is being used to make mobile gambling deposits, when a block is placed on your details, it doesn't just have to block the card or account; it could block the phone itself.
The headache of getting an entirely new phone to access sites you've been blocked from would greatly decrease the amount of repeat offenders. When it launches, hopefully Marshmallow will be able to bring about big changes to gambling addiction prevention and protect a lot of people from their mobile habits.
Since we're on the subject of protection, it'd be good to take a look at the new security methods being implemented in this new update.
Following Apple's lead, the latest Android Update will allow for biometric security such as fingerprints. Better still, the use of fingerprint security has begun to extend past the point of simply locking your phone, but can now be used for individual apps and payments.
Everything Secured At Your Fingertips
This is great news from a security standpoint. Given that your mobile would now hold all of your personal and financial information, it makes sense that the protection would have to step up in a similar fashion. A password could simply be stolen by someone, along with your phone, which would cause huge problems.
But stealing a fingerprint is a much harder undertaking. Now you can beef up your security by having all of your payments be only actioned by the touch of your own finger.
The hope is that a lot of gambling apps will begin to implement this new security method into their Marshmallow updates. There's such a clear benefit for casinos to prove they care about customer security, that there's few reasons why this wouldn't be the case. Being the only person able to access your mobile slots games, before you can even reach your payment information would be a dramatic increase in security.
Combined with Android Pay, this could be a whole new revolution in the way you play and pay.
Automatic App Data Backups
One of the more interesting aspects of the new update is the inclusion of Automatic App Backups.
Your phone will now create regular save states of your apps, so if it crashes for any reason, you can resume where you were thrown out. Given that this will be a new version of the OS, this will be a nice addition, since it's expected that the stability of the new OS will be quite sketchy during the early days.
Good News For The Consumer
The benefits this has for mobile casinos are of particular interest, since connection stability when placing a bet is of utmost importance. Everyone's been in a situation where you've just made a bet, when your phone suddenly decides to crash.
In the best outcome this can mean the bet fails and nothing is taken from you. But at worst, it can mean spending a long time trying to explain the situation to a customer service operator.
If your phone is now able to remember the point at which your casino experience crashed and then be able to drop you right back into the action; that would be an amazing addition to the world of mobile gambling.
One thing that often gets attention is the tirade of permissions requested by apps. The current system has long consisted of a horrible all or nothing approach with any apps you download.
Apps have a habit of inundating the consumer with a heap of app permissions that most people wouldn't be able to read or understand; whilst withholding use of their service until you agree to every single one of them. It's less asking for permission and more strong arming the consumer to get complete access to their device.
Thankfully, this issue has finally gotten a look in by Google and looks to be resolved in the new update. Now instead of having to agree to every single app permission in one go, apps will only have to ask your permission to use functions of your phone as and when they come up.
Previously, an app might immediately ask you to agree to let it look into your contacts, take control of your microphone and access your Facebook, all without you having any context or understanding of its purpose. Under the new system, you can download the app and then use it until it requires the function, at which point it will ask permission to use that function.
If you deny that permission, you can still use the app in the way that you had previously, but with the limitations of the app not using that function. Apps will become very modular, with each individual using an app that has different functions depending on what they're comfortable giving permission for.
All apps will have to be given permission for basic functions. These would include things such as accessing your internal memory and connecting to the internet, which are the most basic tools it needs to function on your phone. But outside of that, no app can do anything further without your permission.
No longer will there be paranoia as to why Facebook wants to access your microphone settings. You had to have it, but could you be sure that the people at Facebook weren't listening in to every minute detail of your life. They probably definitely weren't, but now you can be free of any suspicions.
Control To You
Because of this, it will greatly increase the amount of control you have over your mobile casinos. Now you can prevent them from doing the things we hate the most, such as looking through your contacts list, accessing your Facebook and pulling up your private information. If these are reasons that you've avoided certain gambling sites, under Google's new rules, you will be able to use them without fear of giving them too much access.
This update to Google's policy only affects Android Marshmallow users, so all previous versions will still have to put up with heaps of app permissions to gain entry. If this interests you, then it'd be good to start looking into upgrading so you can have more control over what you share.
There's going to be some bugs. That's an absolute given. Android has to facilitate so many phone models and versions of itself that bugs are par for the course. It's last iteration, Android 5.0 Lollipop, spent a few months in limbo as it suffered from battery life issues and Wifi issues for a significant number of users.
The bugs in Android Marshmallow will be as exciting as ever to discover. If there are anybugs like Lollipop then it's likely your experience may be affected for the early period of the update. It wouldn't be completely out of the realms of possibility that certain apps may also not work very well at first, regardless of problems with Marshmallow itself.
It's very unlikely that any reputable casino wouldn't test its games into oblivion before a new OS launch. So although these stability bugs are probable, as long as you stick with a good casino, then you should have few problems outside of the OS itself.
But as said before, we'll update this list further if any large bugs are found upon release later this year.
Wait… But What About Apple Users
Of course, there is also another Apple OS coming out this Autumn as well. It's rather simply named iOS 9, avoiding the complicated naming tendencies of the Android brand.
Once more information comes out regarding its features, we'll do a similar breakdown of its newest additions and share any relevant news about its impact on mobile gambling.
We hope that all of this has helped you make a decision regarding upgrading to Android Marshmallow when it drops later this year.
It looks to be an exciting update, one that will simplify payments, security and the stability of your online gambling. But as with all good things, we'll have to wait and see.
If you have any thoughts on the update, or find any problems with your casino experiences when it arrives, then we'd love to hear from you in the comments. Of course we'll be there updating you on any major changes and making the transition as smooth as possible.