We’ve only recently downloaded Google’s latest Android Lollipop update, but that means one thing – that the next version of the software is in the works. Android M as it’s currently known is the obvious successor to Lollipop, and despite being so early in the development process there’s still plenty to talk about.
What will Android M look like? What will it be called? What new features will it have? All of these questions, and more are all about to be answered right here. So if you’re an Google fan, make sure you’re paying attention!
It’s not very often that we find ourselves debating over what the next version of an operating system will be called. After all, there’s iOS 7, then iOS 8, and Windows 8 followed by Windows 10. However, Android’s dessert styled naming process has us guessing every year, with previous incumbents including the likes of Jellybean, Cupcake and Lollipop.
But what can you expect from Android M? Early favourites include Android Marshmallow, Android Milkshake and Android Malteser. Some more far off suggestions include Android Milky Way, Android Muffin and even Android Macaroon.
Our personal favourite is Android Marshmallow, but Google does have a habit of surprising us so it’s not worth fretting over just yet. It’s always worth remembering, the name doesn’t actually dictate just how good the software is!
Android Auto/Android Home Focus
Most people see Android as a piece of mobile phone software, but that could be changing with the latest update, with Android Auto becoming a key feature. In fact, several car manufacturers have already agreed to work with and install Android on future vehicles, even if the owner doesn’t have a Google powered phone.
**What is coming up this year?**Take a look at our Android guide through 2015!
Audi, Ford, Honda and Volvo are some of the big names that are working with Google already, with more likely to commit in the future. Features of Android Auto could allow your car to carry your contacts on-board so you can make and receive calls and texts hands-free; planning your route on your phone before a long journey and automatically displaying it in sat-nav format in the car; and even bringing your music library on the road with you.
The Google system will be pre-installed on your car, as it would be very tricky to even consider having it fitted on any current model, especially without a built-in sat nav system. Don’t expect it to come cheap, but if you’re often on the road it could be a good investment.
Want to join the hype? Get hold of an Android smartphone here, from Samsung to Sony and everything in between.
Google Wallet App Improvements
Google Wallet was actually introduced some months back, but the feature has been held back due to a number of issues. However, with the next Android update you can expect a marked improvement, mainly because Apple has pushed out its version of Apple Pay successfully.
The Apple Pay app has swept the US market by storm, and is working on a UK release this year, so Android will almost be forced to keep up on the payment front with its next Android update. The introduction of fingerprint scanners on the likes of the Galaxy S5, Galaxy Alpha and other Android phones will only further the possibilities for the feature, so it seems like a no brainer.
NFC is now a common feature in many high-end smartphones, something which is key for this kind of system. Of course this feature will be device dependant, so don’t bank on using an older Android handset with the new update when making use of this Google Wallet.
Google Messenger Hub
Nobody likes switching from app to app to check their messages; it’s a common problem which for now has only been solved on the latest BlackBerry OS update. Android won’t want to be left astray with its software, so a messaging hub can be considered one of the most wanted features of the system.
The Android 6.0 messenger hub will make sure that you can reply to text messages and other forms of communication all in one place, putting an end to constant switching from one app to another. Tying in with this, an improved stock Android keyboard would also be much appreciated, as most users tend to download a new one the moment they grab a new handset.
Google Fit/Google Now Integration
Google Fit and Google Now are two of Android’s biggest features, yet for some reason they still can’t communicate with each other. Linking them in one way or another would be a brilliant step forward, giving you a simple way to get all your normal Google Now notifications alongside your fitness regime.
The ever developing growth of wearable fitness technology is another good reason to link these two features up as soon as possible as it would really give Google Fit a boost for all who use the app.
Android 6 Release Date
As we’ve only recently received Android Lollipop, you might have guessed that an Android 6.0 release date is still a long way off. Last year Lollipop 5.0 was brought in alongside the Google Nexus 6, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see a similar method employed with the next Android operating system.
Of course the timing of the next update depends entirely on the success of this current system, so if it does well, it may be pushed back. Some reports suggest a 2016 release may be a possibility, meaning we could be waiting over a year for a major overhaul, with many smaller updates in between.
Keep checking back for all your Android M updates!