Android developers, prepare to use the word “Marshmallow” a lot over the next year or so.
In keeping with its longtime tradition of naming each successive version of its mobile operating system after a dessert, Google has announced that Android 6.0 will be named after the white, fluffy confection that goes so well in s’mores and Rice Krispies treats.
Marshmallow succeeds Lollipop (Android 5.x), KitKat (4.4x), Jelly Bean (4.1-4.3), and Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), and so on, back to Cupcake (1.5), the first version named after something sugary. Google has made the official Android 6.0 SDK available via Android Studio; for those developers who like publishing apps early to Google Play, that online storefront is now open to apps targeting API level 23 in Android Marshmallow.
Features available to developers include app linking, which associates an app with a particular Web domain; auto data backup for apps; fingerprint authentication; voice-powered interaction; Bluetooth stylus support; and 4K display mode (on compatible hardware, of course).
Marshmallow will join the fragmented Android ecosystem, which features no less than 24,093 distinct devices running the OS, up from 18,796 in 2014. According to data from OpenSignal, some 2.6 percent of devices run Android Lollipop, while 39.3 percent run KitKat; many continue to rely on Jelly Bean, which is three years old. Google can only hope that Marshmallow will rapidly establish itself.