The next version of Google’s Android mobile operating system now has an official name. It will be called Marshmallow. This version of the Android software was first unveiled during the tech giant’s annual I/O conference held in May earlier this year. For lack of an official name at that time, news sources and bloggers had nicknamed the system Android M.
By adapting the name Android Marshmallow, Google continues its playful streak of giving rather mischievous names to versions of its mobile operating system. The naming convention typically follows an alphabetical pattern and it is usually based on popular sweets. For instance, the current version of Android is called Lollipop, and the predecessor version was called KitKat.
As for Android Marshmallow, it will likely have a wide launch sometime in fall of this year. Google may have a penchant for selecting goofy names for its Android software, but this segment of the tech giant’s operations is not child’s play. Android is considered the world’s most popular mobile operating system, with more than 80 percent of all smartphones across the globe powered by this OS. The top phone makers in the planet (not including Apple, of course) produce smartphones and tablets that run on the Android platform. More importantly, Android is not just some regular software needed to operate smartphones, it also serves as the vessel for countless apps (Facebook, YouTube, games) that most of us kind of take for granted today.
As expected of any new Android version, Android Marshmallow will surely come with a host of new features and capabilities. Chief among them is Android Pay, Google’s answer to Apple Pay and Samsung Pay (which arrives in the United States in September). Many will remember Google Wallet, the company’s early attempt at creating a mobile payment system. While that never quite took off with the masses, Google is hoping that Android Pay will. Android Marshmallow will also feature Now On Tap, which allows users to access the digital assistant Google Now by simply holding the home button on their handsets (just like how Siri works on iOS devices).
Features aside, the more important question may be: how long before Android Marshmallows actually gets to mobile users’ smartphones and tablets? Adoption of new Android versions are always a tricky thing. Android Lollipop, for example, is used by only 18 percent of all Android devices to date. Most (around 73 percent) are still running on Android KitKat and Android Jellybean. Of course, Google is not entirely to blame for the slow adoption. The phone makers themselves (Samsung, HTC, Motorola) are often not that quick in deploying the latest version of Android to their devices. Now compare this with iOS -- iOS 8, the latest version of iOS, is now being used by 85 percent of Apple made devices. It may be easier for Apple because after all it produces the devices that use its software, but it is kind of unfair for Android users that they have to wait that long to start experiencing the latest that Google’s software can offer.
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