Google Winding Down Android 6 Dev Preview as Marshmallow Launch Nears

Android 6.0 Marshmallow will begin to hit Nexus-branded smartphones and tablets the week of Oct. 5, says Google. The company issued one final warning to developers, who are encouraged to make sure their Android apps are ready before the new operating system reaches consumer devices. Google also showed off a shiny new range of Nexus handsets.

Google has been working on Android 6.0 Marshmallow for quite some time. It first offered a taste of the new platform in May, and has followed it up with more details along the way through the Android M Developer Preview. Google made the third preview available in late August, and updated the Android SDK and Google Play Services in mid-September. In other words, developers already have access to all they need in order to create apps that taste good with Marshmallow. 

Google said the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 smartphones, as well as the Nexus 7 and Nexus 9 tablets, Nexus Player, and Android One device should all gain access to Marshmallow next week. At the same time, Google plans to provide the Android 6.0 source code to the Android Open Source Project. This signals the true launch of the platform to the general public. 

Developers who've been using the Android M Developer Preview will not be able to update to the final release over the air. Instead, they'll have to flash their Preview-loaded devices with appropriate Nexus factory image after the general release. 

Google hopes developers take advantage of some of the more prominent features in the updated operating system. For example, the revised runtime permissions are critical. Moreover, functions such as Doze and App Standby can really help improve battery life. Also, fingerprint support is now part of the platform and can be used for authentication and security purposes. (Google is offering plenty of resources, including video walk-throughs.) 

Google is already accepting Android 6.0 apps (API level 23), so developers can upload them as soon as they are ready. The Developer Console is accepting apps for all release channels, including alpha, beta, and production. Google said the Play Store will automatically provide the new optimized download and autoupdate flow based on runtime permissions. Don't forget to use the new beta-testing tools to check your apps before you upload them. 

Google said it will start turning down the M Developer Preview community and M Developer Preview issue trackers in mid-October. Developers who find bugs after that point can submit them directly to the AOSP issue tracker.

Beyond Android 6.0 developer details, Google also showed off some of the first devices to ship with Marshmallow on board: the Nexus 6P and the Nexus 5X

Both phones rely on Qualcomm processors and include 12.3-megapixel cameras, fingerprint sensors, and USB Type-C connectors. The Nexus 6P ($499) has a 5.7-inch quad HD screen and is made by Huawei, while the Nexus 5X ($379) has a 5.2-inch full HD screen and is made by LG. Both handsets are already available for pre-order directly from Google. They each come in several colors and storage variants. 

Eric Zeman I am a journalist who covers the mobile telecommunications industry. I freelance for ProgrammableWeb and other online properties.

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