Google’s next version of Android, codenamed “M”, will be announced later this month, the company’s developer conference schedule has revealed.
Multiple mentions of “Android M” in the Google I/O schedule includes one in an Android for Work session specifically talking about how “Android M is bringing the power of Android to all kinds of workplaces”.
The conference session indicates that Android M will spread beyond tablets and smartphones, possibly making a play for the market currently occupied by Google’s other operating system, Chrome OS.
Unification of the two disparate operating systems, one based purely on Google’s Chrome browser, the other on a mobile version of Linux, has long been expected. Android M could be catalyst that brings the two together.
Google has already made moves in that direction, bringing Chrome features to Android and allowing certain Android apps such as Evernote to run on Chrome OS.
Android ‘M’ is also likely to feature more extensive voice controls. The company’s digital assistant Google Now has become smarter and more capable to understand natural language queries over the last two years. Many Android smartphones come with hotword activation, which means they can be spoken to when the screen is off to perform searches and other functions after saying specific phrases such as “OK Google”. Android ‘M’ is likely to build on those features.
What’s in a name?
But the big question is what the “M” stands for? Google uses the names of sweets or puddings to signify major new versions. The first Android version be named after a dessert was Android 1.5 Cupcake. Each major version has then followed in alphabetical order.
Android 1.6 Donut followed Cupcake, then Android 2.0 Eclair, 2.2 Froyo, 2.3 Gingerbread, 3.0 Honeycomb, 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Android 4.4 K saw Google partner Nestlé to use the KitKat brand, while the current version Android 5.0 and 5.1 are both called Lollipop.
For Android M, Google could partner with confectionary company Mars for either the Maltesers, Milky Way, M&Ms or Mars brand names, or perhaps a more generic term such as marshmallow or maple syrup.
Google could also break with tradition and call it Android Marmite, but that could bring with it love it or hate it connotations.
What do you think the next iteration of Android is going to be called?
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010