Marshmallow? Macadamia Nut Cookie? Milkshake? Muffin? Macaron? Meringue Pie? Build number 6.0 or 5.2? Although Android’s M iteration is technically out now, the answers to all those questions (two questions, really) are unlikely to be provided until fall.
September at the earliest, November at the latest is reportedly when fully polished, stable source code will be freely disseminated to Nexus devices and third-party hardware. For the time being, developers can test the waters on the N5, 6, 9 and Player, and a couple of additional Previews shall roll out by July.
Exactly what’s new for Google and the world’s most popular mobile OS? A lot, chiefly as far as the “core user experience” goes, with visual tweaks contained to a minimum for a change. Perhaps the flashiest augmentations to Android functions and services include standardized fingerprint authentication, USB Type-C compatibility and seamless mobile payment support.
Expect a big wave of finger scanner-sporting handhelds before the holidays therefore, plus reversible ports everywhere around the same time. As for Android Pay, it’s Google’s logical, slightly tardy answer to Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, and promises to facilitate easy credit card use from your phone in 700,000+ US stores.
Diving a little deeper in enhancements that are not as eye-catching, but will probably bring the sort of radical long-term gains the platform so badly needs, we have a feature called Doze, better app permission control, easier app linking and revamped Chrome browsing experience.
Hands down the add-on we’re most excited about of that pack is Doze, which aims to improve power management and standby battery life by ceasing background activity when it detects little to no smartphone motion. Then again, Google, you had us at USB C.