Google has confirmed that its next major Android release, previously known as Android M, will officially be known as Android 6.0 Marshmallow - but the announcement comes as its Project Ara smartphone initiative hits a roadblock.
Shown off by Google under the codename Android M, Android 6.0 Marshmallow - continuing the company's alphabetically-incrementing dessert-themed codename series, taking over from the current Android 5.0 Lollipop - has now been made available to software developers in an update to the Android Software Development Kit (SDK). This finalisation of the SDK allows developers to prepare their apps, and hints that the company's next-generation mobile platform is ready for release.
As to when users will be able to upgrade their devices to the new platform, however, Google is remaining cagey, stating only that it will be some time in the autumn. While the final Android 6.0 Marshmallow SDK is now available to download, factory images for the initially-supported Nexus devices are still developer preview status. 'The preview images are near final,
' Google's Jamal Eason explained in an announcement
to developers, 'but they are not intended for consumer use. Remember that when Android 6.0 Marshmallow launches to the public later this fall, you'll need to manually re-flash your device to a factory image to continue to receive consumer OTA updates for your Nexus device.
The release of the Android 6.0 Marshmallow SDK comes as Google's Advanced Technology & Projects group, formerly part of Motorola Mobility, pushes back the public trial of its Project Ara smartphone to some time in 2016. Originally scheduled to take place later this year in Puerto Rico, the project - which aims to create a modular smartphone which can be customised and upgraded by the end user in much the same way as a commodity PC - is now looking to launch its first trials somewhere in the US in 2016.