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Looking ahead, GfK said it expects 2015 to be a banner year for the smartphone market, notching its highest unit-sales figures ever of 1.3 billion units. The research firm says that worldwide smartphone sales volume will hit $400 billion, up 5 percent compared to the same period last year. North America will see the strong growth in sales revenue, jumping 16 percent year over year. In both the US and China -- two critical markets for handset makers -- higher-end smartphones continue to prove extremely popular, according to new data.

The software, previously only referred to as Android M, was announced in May during Google I/O, the search giant's annual developer conference, The moniker follows Google's whimsical naming convention for new versions of Android, The company typically names its software updates alphabetically and after sweets, For example, the most current version of Android is named Lollipop, and the one before that was KitKat, Marshmallow is expected to be released this fall, But while the names are silly, Android is serious business for Google, The software powers more than 80 percent of the iphone 9 case amazon world's smartphones, from manufacturers including Samsung, HTC and Motorola, The software is also a gateway for Google to get people to use the company's services -- like search, maps and video site YouTube -- on their phones..

The software update will have some key new features. Android Pay, a revamped mobile payments service, will let people pay for goods both in apps and at retail stores using their phones. Google has been working on mobile payments for the past few years with a service called Google Wallet. The feature -- which will continue to exist but has changed its focus to letting people make money transfers in small amounts -- initially never caught on with consumers. But since Apple introduced its own version, Apple Pay, as a new feature on its iPhone 6 models and Apple Watch, the mobile-payments space has heated up. Samsung showed off its offering, Samsung Pay, last week.

Android Marshmallow will also include a new feature iphone 9 case amazon for the search giant's digital assistant Google Now, called Now On Tap, The feature lets you access Google Now by holding the home button on your phone, similar to what Apple lets you do with its own assistant, Siri, With Now on Tap, Google reaches into its trove of data on users to give them useful information based on what they are doing at the time, That includes understanding what email you're reading or knowing what dry cleaner you use, But while Google announces its Android updates with much fanfare, it will take awhile for most Android users to start using the software, As of the first week of August, only about 18 percent of Android users were using the most current available version of the software, Lollipop, The vast majority of Android users, about 73 percent, are using KitKat and Jellybean, two older versions of the software, The challenge, which observers often refer to as "fragmentation," often comes from handset manufacturers being slow to push out updates..

By comparison, Apple's iOS 8, which was released in September and powers iPhones and iPads, is on 85 percent of Apple's devices. The search giant unveils the name of its next update for smartphones and tablets. Some key features include a new mobile payments system and some tricks for the company's digital assistant, Google Now. Google's update for Android, its mobile software for smartphones and tablets, officially has a name: Marshmallow. Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. We delete comments that violate our policy, which we encourage you to read. Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion.

Apple Pay launched in the US in October as Apple's first foray into contactless mobile payments, Using an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or Apple Watch, people can pay for items on the go at supported retailers iphone 9 case amazon via NFC (near-field communication) technology, Apple has been drumming up support for Apple Pay among more and more banks and retailers in the US, But to become more of a fixture, Apple Pay needs to expand globally, especially as rival services such as Samsung Pay and Google's Android Pay start to ramp up..

Expanding Apple Pay globally is more of a challenge than it may sound. For each credit or debit card transaction, a retailer pays a transaction fee to the bank that issued the card. In the US, Apple gets a cut of that action, reportedly around 15 cents on every $100 of transactions. But banks in Australia are balking at those terms, hesitating to give Apple a slice of the $2 billion they earn in transaction fees each year, according to a story published Monday by Fairfax Media. One reason is that Australian banks charge a lower transaction fee than banks in the United States, around 50 cents for every $100 of transactions versus around $1 for $100 of transactions in the US, the report said. Yet Apple is reportedly asking for the same piece of the pie that it receives in the US.

Another stumbling block for Apple is that at least one Australian banking executive has said that the country's banks already have technology seemingly comparable to Apple Pay, "By most global standards, the capability that the Australian banking sector has generally, and Commonwealth Bank has specifically, to provide for customers is ahead of a lot of the other markets around the world where Apple has done well," Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO Ian Narev iphone 9 case amazon said last week, "There is functionality associated with Apple Pay that we have had in the market for 18 months to two years."Specifically, Narev said that his bank already has an Android app that provides the same functionality offered by Apple Pay, Fellow Australian bank Westpac also supports tap-and-go purchases with retailers using an Android phone app..

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