AT&T Finally Releases Marshmallow Update For Nexus 6

After months of delays, AT&T has finally approved and with the help of Google is rolling out the Android Marshmallow update to Nexus 6 devices locked to the carrier.  In a support post, AT&T stated that the Marshmallow 6.0.1 update MMB29K is rolling out to a small group of devices but will be ramping up to 100% over the course of the next week.  The news is most certainly welcome to those Nexus 6 owners tied to the carrier as they are seemingly the last group with these devices to get the update.

The good news in all of this is that AT&T has opted to go to the December 2015 build of Marshmallow and not just to the original 6.0 release.  That means AT&T Nexus 6 owners will be more current on their security patches and other improvements that came in 6.0.1.  You can read about the improvements in the .1 release here as well as my review of Android Marshmallow

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Nexus 6 32GB Only $249 at Amazon

Once again the Nexus 6, last year’s flagship Nexus device built by Motorola, is on sale at Amazon.  The 32GB model is available for only $249.99 while the 64GB model is $299.99. That is a savings of $400 from when the phone was first released last year and this phone is still got plenty of swagger when it is compared to phones that are being released today.

I personally use a Nexus 6 as my daily driver and love this phone.  It has outstanding specs and performance and with it being a Nexus device, it already has Android Marshmallow running on it and I can use Project Fi.

  • Display: 5.96″ AMOLED, 1440×2560, 16:9 aspect ratio, 493 ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Weight: 184 grams (6.49 ounces)
  • Battery: 3220 mAh Mixed usage up to 24 hours*
  • Processor: 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 with quad-core CPU (APQ 8084-AB), Adreno 420 GPU
  • Memory: 3GB
  • Camera: 13MP IMX 214 Image Sensor

Nexus 6 32GB – $249.99 – Amazon

Nexus 6 64GB – $299.99 – Amazon

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How To Force Nexus Device Marshmallow Updates

As a Nexus owner, I know every month that Google is going to release a security and bug fix update for Android Marshmallow my Nexus 6 and Nexus 7.  The challenge of course is when that update will actually hit my device after it has been released.  Google, like other manufactures, stage these updates and it can sometimes take weeks for it to hit your device.

Don’t get me started on carrier locked versions. -.-

While you can always manually check to see if the latest version of Marshmallow on your device (Settings>About Phone (or Tablet)>System Update), the reality is that really doesn’t get you moved up in the queue any faster and some have suggested it makes no difference at all.

There is however a way to force an update to your device by manipulating the Google Services Framework on your device.  Indeed it is quite possible that this method will work on non-Nexus devices but I have not tested it.  The key thing for you to keep in mind as you try this is that it may take you several attempts to get this to work – and it may not work at all.  In my case, it took me 1 try to get my Nexus 7 (2013) to update to the January build of Marshmallow but it took me no less than 6 tries to get my Nexus 6 to update to the same release.  Patience is important but this could be a way to get an update a bit quicker other than a full-on flashing of the device.  Also, do this at your own risk as you are manipulating how Android operates on your device.  You may have to restart your device and worst case reset it.

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Updated Factory Images For Nexus Devices Released

It was widely expected that today would be the day that Google dropped the January security update for Nexus devices and that appears to be the case.  Google has updated the Factory Images page on their developer site, bringing the latest build of Android Marshmallow to a range of devices.  With the release of the images, users can expect the OTA updates to being shortly to the latest build of 6.0.1 while manufactures and carriers can start doing their testing to get updates out quickly.  It is likely we will see an update from HTC and T-Mobile drop for the One A9 and Nexus 6 respectively in the next two weeks.

The updated images are for all of the devices that were upgraded or released with Android Marshmallow.  Here is the list and the newest build number for each Nexus device.

  • Pixel C:  6.0.1 (MXB48K)
  • Nexus 6P:  6.0.1 (MMB29P)
  • Nexus 5X:  6.0.1 (MMB29P)
  • Nexus 6:  6.0.1 (MMB29S)
  • Nexus Player: 6.0.1 (MMB29T)
  • Nexus 9 LTE:  6.0.1 (MMB29S)
  • Nexus 9 Wi-Fi:  6.0.1 (MMB29S)
  • Nexus 5:  6.0.1 (MMB29S)
  • Nexus 7 (2013) Wi-Fi: 6.0.1 (MMB29O)
  • Nexus 7 (2013) LTE: 6.0.1 (MMB29O)

If you are comfortable with flashing your devices then you can download the files today and update immediately.  Otherwise you will need to wait for the OTA update.

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Android Marshmallow and USB OTG Support

With Android Marshmallow being available now for a couple of months, there has been plenty written on its impressive list of highlight features. My review of the release covered most of those and I have also posted that I think Doze and App Sleep are the true killer features of the release.

But there is another feature that Android users have long wanted out of the platform that has come with Marshmallow: Native USB On-the-go (OTG) support. For those who aren’t familiar with OTG, it allows you to plug in a small adapter to your device and then read things like USB memory sticks, run a USB based keyboard or mouse as if your phone or tablet were a PC. It gives you the ability for example to transfer files from your Android tablet to a USB key to share with others.  In previous released of Android, OTG support was not inherently supported and effectively required that you have your device rooted even if your hardware technically supported it.  That, it seems for Nexus devices, has gone away.

That last phrase is key as I explore this with you.  Right now it appears that the only devices that this works on with Marshmallow are Nexus devices:  Nexus 5, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Nexus 7 (2013), Nexus 9 and Pixel C.  I can confirm that I was able to connect a USB drive and a mouse successfully to my Nexus 6 and Nexus 7 while I was equally able to connect both to a colleague who as the Nexus 6P and Nexus 9.  Based on information available, the Pixel C should have no problem supporting it either.  Technically the Nexus 5 does support it but there have been reports of challenges getting it to work.  At the end of the day, your mileage may vary so keep that in mind.  Importantly, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to try this out on your devices – especially if you have a non-Nexus device – to see if it work.

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Nexus 6 32GB Only $249 on Amazon Today

Here is another awesome deal running at Amazon today.  You can pick up the Nexus 6 with 32GB of storage for only $249.99.  That is a savings of $400 off the price of this flagship phone from 2014 was released.  I personally use a Nexus 6 as my daily driver and love this phone.  It has outstanding specs and performance and with it being a Nexus device, it already has Android Marshmallow running on it and I can use Project Fi.

  • Display: 5.96″ AMOLED, 1440×2560, 16:9 aspect ratio, 493 ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Weight: 184 grams (6.49 ounces)
  • Battery: 3220 mAh Mixed usage up to 24 hours*
  • Processor: 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 with quad-core CPU (APQ 8084-AB), Adreno 420 GPU
  • Memory: 3GB
  • Camera: 13MP IMX 214 Image Sensor

Nexus 6 32GB – SALE $249.99 – Amazon

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T-Mobile Releases Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 To Nexus 6

About a week ago Google released Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 for Nexus devices including the Nexus 6.  Today T-Mobile has begun rolling it out to customers with Nexus 6’s on their network via an OTA update.  There are a few notable changes in 6.0.1 which you can read about here but the bigger picture here is the speed at which T-Mobile got this update out to their customers.  I, along with countless others in the tech writing community, have harped on endlessly about how long it takes carriers to push out updates after Google releases them.  T-Mobile, for their part, is getting the job done and getting it done fast.  That will only benefit their customers who will have up-to-date software and the latest security fixes.  Contrast this with another major carrier here in the US, AT&T, who have still not pushed out Marshmallow 6.0 to their Nexus 6 customers.

But I digress…

Of particular importance to T-Mobile users, this update to Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 contains support for the carrier’s LTE Band 12, which will give better throughput in buildings and rural areas.  I have upgraded my unlocked Nexus 6 to 6.0.1 and can confirm through LTE Discovery that Band 12 is supported.

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