After revealing that that the successor to Android 5.0 Lollipop will officially be known as Marshmallow, Google on Monday released the final M preview and the Android 6.0 SDK.
With the official naming of Android M out of the way and most of Marshmallow's features revealed earlier this year at Google's IO developer conference, the next step for Google is preparing for apps built for the new Android 6.0 Marshmallow API level 23. And the fact that Google has jumped to 6.0, rather than going with a 5.x update, suggests Marshmallow will be a big change.
As with previous releases, the next version of Android is set to launch to the public in autumn, likely alongside a new Nexus - or possibly two - if the latest rumours turn out to be correct.
Google is rumoured to be working with LG - the maker of the Nexus 5 - and Huawei for the next generation of Nexus devices. Both are tipped to be utilising Marshmallow's baked-in support for the reversible USB Type-C interface and fingerprint readers that go hand-in-hand with Google's launch of Android Pay.
Google yesterday announced the release the completed Android 6.0 SDK as well as the final developer preview for Marshmallow for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and Nexus Player. Developers can either install system images themselves or wait for the over the air update that's being released in the next few days.
"Although the Android 6.0 SDK is final, the devices system images are still developer preview versions. The preview images are near final 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," Google said on its Android developers blog.
There aren't many changes to the latest developer preview, however it does include the final version of the interface for Marshmallow's overhauled Permissions system. The system gives users the ability to grant apps permissions in a more granular fashion - for example, accessing the camera or microphone in a particular context as well as an easier way to manage permissions.
As Samsung summed up the new system for Galaxy S6, S6 Edge and Galaxy Note 5 owners yesterday: "Don't want WhatsApp to access your location? Simply disable the location function in the apps permissions list with Android M."
The latest preview also updates Marshmallow's Fingerprint API to improve error reporting, fingerprint enrollment and reliability.
Developers can also now upload alpha, beta, and production versions of their Marshmallow apps to the Google Play app store ahead of the final public release, giving them a chance to test how their apps behave against the new system level features.
"At the consumer launch this fall, the Google Play store will also be updated so that the app install and update process supports the new permissions model for apps using API 23," Google noted.