Google has introduced the official Android 6.0 SDK as well as the final preview of Android M, now known as Marshmallow.
The name reveal, following Lollipop and KitKat, was described by Android product manager Jamal Eason. “Whether you like them straight out of the bag, roasted to a golden brown exterior with a molten centre, or in fluff form, who doesn’t like marshmallows?” he wrote in a blog post.
Nomenclature aside, however, the majority of new features since the launch of the M Developer Preview at Google I/O, which this publication covered in May, are somewhat incremental, with headline material thin on the ground. Changes include updates to the Fingerprint API for better error reporting, fingerprint enrolment and greater reliability, as well as updating the permissions user interface.
Other interesting features of the upcoming OS include Doze, which reduces background app activity when the device is inactive thus lengthening battery life, as well as a USB-C connector which is claimed to charge devices three to five times faster than current chargers.
Developers can now publish apps for Android Marshmallow on Google Play. But what else should devs do from here? Adam Mayer, Android team leader at app developer firm Mubaloo, argues developers will need to ensure their apps are ready for Android 6.0. “This means ensuring app permissions reflect the new system, streamlining the app install and update process,” he explains.
Mayer adds developers can use the new Android Support library, which makes it easier to integrate new features in a backwards compatible way to support the variety of operating systems in use today.
Yet he also issues a warning over adoption rates. “Despite the advances to Android, Android Marshmallow faces the issue of its OEM partners, particularly those in China, who continue to eschew the latest version of its OS and services,” Mayer says. “Even Samsung has launched its upgraded Samsung Pay that will likely displace Google Pay on its devices.
“The main people to benefit from the improvements will be those who chose stock Android, or have a phone where their operator or manufacturer enables upgrades to the latest OS,” he adds.
You can read the full Android blog post here.