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New OS build may arrive at this year's I/O event

Google Inc.'s (GOOG) I/O conference for Android OS developers is fast approaching.  Held on May 28 and 29 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Calif., the event promises to pack in thousands of developers eager to get the inside track on technical details of the world's most used operating system.  And attendees may get their first taste of Android 'M'.

The company appears to have accidentally let that detail slip via a post to Android for Work section of the event schedule -- a bring your own device (BYOD) segment targeting enterprise users.  The post -- since pulled -- read:

Android M is bringing the power of Android to all kinds of workplaces. This opens huge new markets for hundreds of millions of devices to workers at small business, deskless workers, logistics and warehousing jobs; all be (sic) empowered by adoption of Android devices at Work.

The timing isn't exactly shocking.  Last year's I/O event brought the first public unveil of Android 'L'.  While the OS's version number (5.0) and full brand name ("Lollipop") wouldn't be revealed until later in the year, Google gave developers preview code for the OS in July -- shortly after the I/O conference teaser.  The OS would soft launch in October and then begin to roll out in the wild with the availability of default distribution in November.

Google I/O

A similar rollout might be expected of Android 'M', which means we may still have to wait until well after the conference to find out the build number and full dessert-themed branding.  My guess is it will be one of these (ordered from the most likely to least likely, in my mind):
  • Meringue
  • Marshmallow
  • Milkshake
  • Mousse
  • Muffin
  • Mocha
  • Macaroon
  • Mint
  • Moon Pie
  • Machiatto
  • Molasses
  • Milky Way
Android M

Reportedly the OS will continue guiding developers to cleaner UI design language via the "Material Design" paradigm.  There's some thought that Google may more deeply integrate the design language into the API to give developers a clearer path to embracing the intended look.

The description attached to an I/O session entitled "What's new in Android" suggests one focus topic of improvement may be notifications.  It describes:

[Google has] been hard at work refining... ways for users to control unwelcome interruptions from notifications and other sources.

Lollipop brought notifications cards to the lockscreen (the "Notification Drawer"), but as those of us with a Lollipop device can testify the notifications can get a bit noisy at times.  Android 'M' is rumored to giver users tighter control over notifications.

Notifications in Lollipop
Android Lollipop brought the notification drawer to the lockscreen.  Android 'M' is expected to tighten that system up and give users the option to make it less noisy.

It's also rumored to add new controls for volume and interruptions.  Battery life -- at time problematic in Lollipop builds for certain devices -- is also expected to be a focus.  (For the record I have an HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) One M8 and the battery life seems slightly better in Lollipop, actually.)

Other I/O session descriptions indicate that Google will detail how it's making use of recently acquired small satellite startup Skybox (scooped up in June 2014 for $500M USD) and how its new "No CAPTCHA" Turing test (the successor to reCAPTCHA) will work, according to session descriptions spotted by ZDNet's Liam Tung.

Sources: Google I/O (deleted content), via ZDNet





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