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From M to O – A Comparison Between Android’s Three Most Prevalent Operating Systems

Author: Hemendra Singh
by Hemendra Singh
Posted: Jul 31, 2019
lets users

Google names all the latest Android versions after desserts and that too in alphabetical order. So there was Cupcake, Donut, Éclair all the way up to Marshmallow, Nougat and now Oreo.

The latest three are still prevalent in the market. For a mobile app developer, it is essential to know the features that have become redundant and new ones that have been added.

Let’s do a quick rundown of all three of them:


Released in 2015, Marshmallow was a significant refinement over Lollipop. It introduced a new design for shortcuts on the lock screen. Voice Search became an integral part of the Android ecosystem. Google Now on Tap and Doze were widely appreciated.


Multi-lingual support and over 1500 emojis was a salient feature of the Nougat. It made it easy to run two apps at the time with a split-screen. Toggling from one app to the other was made more efficient with a quick switch between apps. The most striking feature was the support for VR. Customization was a crucial feature in the Nougat.


The latest update is all about being faster, smarter and more efficient. The intuitive technology minimizes background activity. There is picture-in-picture support. Android Instant apps don’t require any installation. Notification dots on apps let you see what’s new without opening the app. Google has rolled out Google Play Protect to scan malicious apps and keep your device safe.

How do the three-match up to each other?

Round 1: Marshmallow vs. Nougat

Battery Life

Marshmallow saw the advent of Doze. It is a powerful battery saving feature that puts your phone in sleep mode after a prolonged period of inactivity.

Nougat activates Doze as soon as the phone is locked saving a great deal of battery.

Marshmallow: 0 Nougat:1


Marshmallow had no new updates with regards to Notifications.

Nougat’s notification bar has been refurbished to 180 degrees. Users can send replies directly from the home screen like iPhone. They can also view the notifications individually.

Marshmallow: 0 Nougat:2

Clearing Apps

Marshmallow lets users clear apps one by one.

Nougat has a feature wherein all the running apps can be closed with one click.

Marshmallow: 0 Nougat:3

Saving Data

Marshmallow users need to rely on third-party VPNs to limit the data usage of an app.

Nougat lets users view all the apps and force stop the app based on how much battery they’re consuming.

Marshmallow: 0 Nougat:4

Nougat has several other features that trump the Marshmallow update. This includes

  • The addition of several new emojis.
  • Multi-lingual support so that users can type in two or more languages at the same time.
  • Multi-tasking with split screen.

The most amazing feature is the support for Virtual Reality with Daydream VR. For an app development companythat is venturing into VR, Nougat is the best platform.

Round 2: Nougat vs. Oreo

Is it time to switch to Oreo? Let's find out!

Battery Life

Nougat and Oreo both use Doze on the Go. That means as soon as the phone is locked, it goes into sleep mode.

Oreo has a few more tricks up its sleeve. It minimizes apps that are running in the background and aren’t in use. That saves a lot of juice.

Nougat also has the feature wherein a single click can clear all the apps. So this is a classic case of automatic vs. manual.

Nougat: 1 Oreo: 1

Quick Settings

Nougat has both a dark and a light grey mix panel for Quick Settings.

Oreo only has the white option for Quick Settings.

This is a matter of preference although more choices are always better.

Nougat: 2 Oreo: 2


In Nougat, when users disable a specific app's notifications, all notifications are blocked.

Oreo, however, takes it up a notch and lets users choose what type of notifications they want to block. That means a few annoying notifications can be blocked and essential notifications can still be viewed.

Oreo clearly has the upper hand over Nougat.

Nougat: 2 Oreo: 3

Interaction with Apps

Nougat first came up with the whole concept where users could interact with an app without opening it. Users can reply to specific messages straight from the home screen.

Oreo took the idea and ran with it. Users get to use a new feature called Notification Dots. That allows users to view notifications without opening the app. A long press also opens up an option called App Info. It is exactly as the name suggests – information about the app. The option to uninstall and force stop the app is also there.

In hindsight, long press on the apps usually triggered the uninstall option. So, if users are looking to clear out their app drawer, it may be a tedious process as all apps will have to be uninstalled one by one. We may have to deduct a point from Oreo for that.

Nougat: 3 Oreo: 3

Installing Apps from external sources

In Nougat, users only have to give their permission to download apps from external sources once.

With Oreo, security has become a significant concern. Every app asks permission individually.

Given the recent data breach, it is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. So, points to Oreo for this.

Nougat: 3 Oreo: 4

Loading and Runtime

Oreo has undoubtedly made leaps and bounds in faster loading of apps. They claim to be 2x faster than Nougat. However, this has only been tested in Google Pixel.

So, if you’re running Oreo on a different mobile device, you may not even notice any changes.

This bout is definitely a tie.

Nougat: 4 Oreo: 5

The final scores indeed declare Oreo as the winner among all three updates. Nougat is apparently better than Marshmallow, but Oreo and Nougat are really neck to neck right now. So, if you're asking yourself "Should I update Oreo?"

Probably not. While Oreo does have a ton of fascinating features, Nougat works well and offers a ton of options to its users.

Just to play the Devil's Advocate, Oreo does have better security features and data security is a primary concern today.

It is totally your call. Stick to the Nougat or update to Oreo. If you're still stuck on Marshmallow, you may want to reconsider your options.

About the Author

My name is Hemendra Singh. I am Managing Director and Co-Founder of The NineHertz, a Mobile App Development Company. My ideology is that, a clear vision and hard work builds a great company.

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Author: Hemendra Singh
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Hemendra Singh

Member since: May 29, 2018
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