Similar to what Google has done in the past, the tech giant has stopped speculation about its next mobile OS version by once again placing an Android statue outside its Mountain View headquarters. This time, the green robot is holding a sweet, fluffy treat indicating that the new software will be named Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
In an official blog post published on Monday, Android product manager Jamal Eason cheerfully declared, "Whether you like them straight out of the bag, roasted to a golden brown exterior with a molten center, or in fluff form, who doesn't like marshmallows? We definitely like them!"
The same post announced that the new Android 6.0 OS is now ready to be tested for certain devices as developers can now download the software development kit (SDK). Understandably, the first devices to be treated with first system images are the Google co-branded Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 handsets, along with the Nexus 9 tablet and the Android TV companion Nexus Player.
After this developer preview, Android 6.0 Marshmallow is speculated to be released to more devices during the last quarter of this year. Major device manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, LG, HTC, and Motorola are expected to send out their own Android 6.0 updates soon after Google has done testing the firmware on their Nexus devices.
In Sony's case, it appears that the Japanese device maker has started preparing early as developers can already create a test image of the Android M Developer Preview to various models in the Sony Xperia Z family.
The Xperia Z devices included in Sony's technical preview for Android 6.0 Marshmallow are Xperia Z3, Xperia Z3 Compact, Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, Xperia Z3 Plus, Xperia Z4 Tablet, Xperia Z4 Tablet Wi-Fi, and even older models such as Xperia Z1, Xperia Z1 Compact, Xperia Z Ultra, Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia Tablet Z, Xperia Z2, and Xperia Z2 Tablet.
The test images for those devices can be flashed via Sony's Open Device Program. However, the company warned that the API levels (application program interface) are still at Lollipop MR1 and clarified that what it is trying to show is an Android Marshmallow preview entirely from a platform perspective.
Unlike the previous Android Lollipop, which introduced plenty of exciting features and the renowned Material Design aesthetics, the main goal of this new Android.0 Marshmallow update is to improve system performance and deliver stability. It will also provide support for new features such as Android Pay, Tap on Now, built-in fingerprint scanner support, and new app permissions, along with support for the more practical USB Type-C standard.
As mentioned, the final public release for the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS is expected to be distributed during Q4 2015. While Sony can be predicted to be among the first to roll out the new software, most users will have to wait for their service providers or device manufacturers to approve the update before sending them out for installation.