Android 'M' finally advances out of its codename

Back in May a teaser leaked for the upcoming successor to Android Lollipop (Android 5.0-5.1), dubbed Android "M".  At the time I dug into all the possible dessert themes and boldly concluded that Marshmallow was the second most likely title (ahead of "milkshake" but behind "meringue").  Later that month at Google Inc.'s (GOOG) big developer event I/O, Android M got previewed extensively, but as with Android 'L', Google stayed tight lipped about the branding.

The mystery came to a close this week, when Google unveiled a new statue on its campus of an Android hugging a Marshmallow.  The image comes from an official source -- Google WebGL/Chrome browser engineer Bradon Jones: So Android 5.2  -- or possibly Android 6.0 -- will be known as Marshmallow.  It will bring a modest overhaul that includes improvements to NFC payments, support for Google Tab functionality in third-party apps, new power saving tuning ("Doze"), and support for USB type-C charging/data-transfer cables in new devices.

Android M is rumored to launch with a handful of flagship "Nexus" models, as Google has done with past versions of Android.  Among those are rumored to be 5.2 and 5.7-inch smartphones (or phablets, depending on your prefered terminology).  The smaller Android M Nexus phone is rumored to be made by LG Electronics Inc. (KRX:066570)(KRX:066575).  It reportedly appeared in a recent picture leak, although the authenticity of the image remains debatable: The large 5.7-inch model is rumored to be made by China's Huawei Technologies, which should be interesting given the regulatory scrutiny the Chinese OEM has received in the past from the U.S. government (Congress went as far as to suggest a ban on U.S. sales of Huawei devices over spying concerns back in 2012).

Both the rumored smartphones are expected to pack fingerprint scanners and USB type-C connectivity/charging.  Little is known about them otherwise, although the above leaked image suggests the LG model will feature some sort of plastic case vaguely resembling the iconic look of Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) inherited Lumia line.

Android Marshmallow is widely expected to launch this fall.  It will be the first major release of Android under Google's new CEO, Sundar Pichai, who served as head of Android from 2012 until the time of his promotion.  Alongside his ascension to CEO, the prior CEO Larry Page, has been boosted to CEO of Alphabet, the holding company who owns Google and fellow sister company spinoffs.  Given that Pichai has been steering the project for the past few years, though, expect little to change in terms of Google's patient and proven strategy from past releases.

Sources: Twitter (@tojiro), (@MKBHD), via Neowin

"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki

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