We’ve heard that an Android 6.1 is on the way, thanks to an HTC Perfume device that has leaked with the OS update nomenclature attached. With Android 6.0.1 having been just released for Nexus devices (with me just getting update yesterday, about a week after its release for Nexus devices), and Android 6.1 Marshmallow having leaked, it’s not a surprise to see Google making strides toward a summer release of the new update. Tech site Android Geeks says that it has received word from a trusted source that Android 6.1 Marshmallow will be announced in June, likely at Google I/O 2016. Google I/O 2015 was held on May 28th, at the end of May, so we wouldn’t be surprised if Google made a June 2016 announcement.
Android 6.1 Marshmallow will bring bug fixes and enhancements, but AG’s source says that the new update will also bring split-screen functionality to Android as a whole. This feature has been localized to only Samsung devices (Samsung included its own multi-window mode into its smartphones), but the remainder of Android has yet to do so. In many cases, the Android OEMs wait until Google introduces a feature into Android rather than bake unique software into their own devices so we’re not surprised to see Google bring this feature to Android Marshmallow. We were tipped that split-screen functionality would be a part of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but the update was released without the rumored fanfare.
Android 6.1 will be the third update released from Google since Android 6.0 Marshmallow was released to Nexus devices on October 5th, just a little over two months ago. Of course, AG also says that Android 6.1 Marshmallow won’t be released until June, so we’ve got six months before the unveil. This is a good time for Google to allow Android manufacturers to further update their devices, many of which still haven’t made it to Android 6.0 yet. As with the HTC Perfume, it’s a known fact that many devices that see the latest updates are those released ahead of current phones in the future. HTC has moved forward on this front, though, releasing Android 6.0 for the One A9 and promising to deliver security updates as soon as it can (though it says it won’t be able to release them every month in typical Google fashion). Some devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, just received its Android security update from November a few days ago (the December security patch hasn’t been released yet and most of December has now expired).
At Google I/O 2015, Google announced “Android M,” not declaring it Android Marshmallow until earlier this Fall. With that said, however, it may be the case that Google is slowing down the fast-churning of new major updates (Android L, M, N, for example) by adding incremental updates with a few additional features that will improve the current Android experience.