This summer, Google released an entry on the Android Developers Blog confirming that the upcoming update to the Android mobile operating system will be called “Android Marshmallow.”
Google announced as far back as May 2015 that they planned on releasing a new update to Android. However, at that point the operating system was only being referred to as either 6.0 or “M.”
The expected release date for Marshmallow is at some point this fall. CNET reports that the update will contain several new features, including a new mobile payment service called Android Pay, and a feature called Now On Tap that will allow users to access Google Now through their phone’s home button. The Android Developers Blog also mentions a new power-saving mode called “Doze” and fingerprint support as some of the update’s new features.
Few specific details about the release and update have been released on the Developers Blog. Google’s announcements have thus far focused largely on features such as Doze and fingerprint support, as well as a new permissions model that the blog claims “streamlines the app install and update process.” The new permissions model will mean that users no longer have to give any permissions when initially installing apps, but will instead be asked to give permissions over time as apps require them.
The name Marshmallow comes from Android’s tradition of naming each update after a different type of dessert or treat. The names have thus far followed alphabetical order, beginning with C: version 1.5 was called Cupcake, followed by Donut, Eclair and Froyo, and continuing in this pattern up until the recent Lollipop, and now Marshmallow.
While the idea of naming updates after confectionery may seem arbitrary or trivial, Google actually has a rich history and purpose behind the tradition. Youtube stars and Google employees Nat and Lo – whose channel focuses around the two employees exploring various areas of their workplace – recently released a video in which they talked with developer Hiroshi Lockheimer about the tradition. Lockheimer emphasized in the video that the term that the developers prefer is actually “tasty treats,” as opposed to desserts or candies, and explained how the development team began the naming trend in response to their frequent use of treats to relieve stress from working on the software.
“We were such a small team back then, you know, when we started” Lockheimer told Nat and Lo. “These engineers and product people are tired and exhausted, and they just want to eat bad food… it’s one person in particular I’m thinking of who thought it would be a fun thing to do.
The video makes reference to a “doughnut burger” — a burger placed in between two doughnuts — as a particularly memorable example of these treats that the team would eat in response to the challenges of the job. Lockheimer explained that the tradition to name each update after a tasty treat largely stems from memories of the early days of working on Android and the significance of these treats to the staff.
The name Marshmallow is, therefore, more than simply a superficial decision, but a reflection of the greater tradition and history surrounding Google’s Android software.
For more updates and information related to Android and Marshmallow, the developers blog can be found at android-developers.