November 20, 2015
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When it comes to Android UI, OEMs take their own approach, and for Sony, its interface hasn’t seemed as polished as some of its rival OEMs. However, the company is using its Concept for Marshmallow program as an opportunity to learn from customer feedback. After a few days with the update, is Sony’s interface about to get the major overhaul it needs?

Sony’s hardware is definitely premium but its software has been somewhat lacklustre, with elements such as Small Apps still present despite a lack of positive user feedback. Sony’s interface has traditionally been quite slow, but one thing you’ll immediately notice about is just how fast and fluid Sony’s Marshmallow update is.

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Prior to Marshmallow, Sony adopted a similar approach to some of its rivals by customising large parts of the Android experience, but this resulted in a sluggish experience. With its Marshmallow update, Sony has adopted the “less is more” approach, and, like Motorola, it is running an almost-stock version of Marshmallow with just a few small Sony changes and tweaks.

The first thing you’ll notice is the Sony launcher, which looks similar to previous versions but has been improved to make it faster. The launcher comes with two options: the classic Android home screen and a ‘modern’ interface with all of your apps on the home screen. Alongside the launcher, Sony has also tweaked the settings app to include more options than present on stock Android and the changes are certainly welcome.

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As you might have expected based on past handsets, Sony has replaced the stock Gallery and Music Player apps with its own Album and Music applications. Both applications are essentially basic in features, but it’s worth remembering that this is concept software and we’re likely to see further enhancements to both apps before release.

Sony’s other additions to the OS include its Xperia Care application, which provides quick access to support topics and warranty information, as well as helping you customise your smartphone. The camera app has also been replaced with one of Sony’s own making, and, a key change is the speed of the app, with photos now capturing and loading much faster. There are also fewer camera apps preinstalled, and the options are minimal, packaged inside a sleek and relatively easy-to-use camera experience.

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Sony has become synonymous with being slow with updates for its smartphones, but if the Concept for Marshmallow is anything to go by, this will hopefully be fixed going forward. In the past week, there have been 7 updates including two inside three hours. While it’s worth remembering updates are likely to be less frequent with the final release, it’s still reassuring to see Sony can roll out updates frequently.

What do you take away from Sony’s Concept for Marshmallow project? It’s really simple – Sony is finally fixing its software and if the final product is as quick as this beta, Sony may yet find its smartphone division regain profitability. The Concept for Marshmallow project is a vision of a new Sony and this is how all Sony smartphones should be – fast, fluid and no silly preloaded apps, just a clean experience with a few small additions to the stock OS.

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What do you think of Sony’s Concept for Marshmallow and are you looking forward to the update for your Sony smartphone? Let us know your views in the comments below guys!

Nirave Gondhia
Nirave is one of the Managing Editors and a fan of travel. He's worked in technology for over ten years (including stints at two carriers in the UK) and reported on it for nearly nine years. In my spare time, A big football (soccer to those over the pond) fan and avid supporter of Man United for over 20 years, he reads a lot, loves a cocktails and blogs about travel.
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