Google released the first developer preview build of the next version of Android, currently called “Android N,” earlier in the year. The reason for releasing the next version of the software earlier is purportedly to allow developers to experiment with the new software and redesign anything on their applications or services to work properly on the new platform. It also gives developers the ability to incorporate new features unlocked by the newer version of the operating system. By opening up the new version of the operating system, Google benefits from increased awareness of the overall Android platform and should also gain from user feedback – reports of what does and does not work, for example.
However: we still don’t know what Android N will be in terms of version number and name. Indeed, Google teased us yesterday by first revealing they were going to run a competition to name Android N, and then when the website was launched, the terms and conditions implied that the competition entries would not be judged and there were no prizes either for picking the winning name or for entering. Android N may stand for Nutella, Napoleon, Nougat but probably not New York Cheesecake, which appears to be Google’s internal dessert name of choice. Google will officially reveal the name of the next version of Android as and when it sees fit, although in years gone past we’ve seen how sometimes the manufacturers let slip the name or at least the logo of the new version before it is officially announced.
The other question to ask is what version of Android are we likely to be looking at? Google’s number and naming convention has changed: we saw Android 2.0 Eclair, then 2.1 Eclair, 2.2 FroYo, 2.3 Gingerbread… but Android versions 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 were all known as Jelly Bean. Android 4.4 is known as KitKat, but 5.0 and 5.1 were Lollipop. 6.0 is Android Marshmallow… could Android N be version 6.1 or 7.0? In the past, Google’s screen shots of a new operating system have sometimes included the version number disguised in plain sight as the time. And for the Google I/O developer conference, screenshots show the time as 7:00. That’s it, then, is Android N is going to be Android 7.0?