Android 6.0 Marshmallow was announced around the same time as the BlackBerry Priv, but unfortunately the phone came with Android 5.1 Lollipop at launch. BlackBerry knew many fans were disappointed and so it promised a timely update, which is scheduled for next month.
However, if you’re the impatient type, you can sign up for the Marshmallow beta test program, which is now part of the BlackBerry Beta Zone.
Being a beta version, there will obviously be a few bugs, but you can help the company squash some of them to help make it stable for the official launch. If you do join the program, you’ll be expected to enable background diagnostic reporting on your Priv and submit detailed bug reports through the BlackBerry Bug Reporter.
Marshmallow for the Priv will include all of Google’s new features such as Now On Tap, Doze, and auto backup for apps.
Now On Tap allows you to get relevant information about whatever is on your screen. For example, someone might send you a message asking if you want to see a particular movie. With one tap, you can get the synopsis, actor information, and even show times without having to initiate a separate search.
Doze extends the battery life by restricting notifications, network access, and the CPU when your phone is idle for an extended period of time.
Auto backup for apps means that all your settings for each app will get stored in Google Drive and will automatically restore when you reinstall the app on another phone. Developers do have to enable this feature for it to work, though.
In addition, BlackBerry will include new security updates in the Marshmallow beta that aren’t even yet part of its monthly security patches.
In order to join the program, your Priv must have been purchased from ShopBlackBerry, Amazon, or Carphone Warehouse. If your Priv came from another place, you can still join the program, but you’ll have to wait a little longer.
All you have to do is create an account in the BlackBerry Beta Zone if you don’t have one already. Once you’re logged in, you can sign up for the Android Beta Program. Unfortunately the program is currently full, but you can still join the wait list. Registration will close in two weeks.
The first batch of signups will receive invitations this week, and the beta program will last approximately four to eight weeks.