Editorials

Google didn’t need three months to announce Android Marshmallow

Google announced Android Marshmallow today via its blog post, finally putting a name on “Android M.” The new name, you ask? Android Marshmallow.

Android M finally has a name, but the question must be asked: Why did Google wait so long to assign a dessert name?

After all, we know that Google’s nomenclature for each major OS update is named after a dessert. We’ve seen Cupcake, Doughnut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), Jelly Bean (4.2), KitKat (4.4), Lollipop (5.0), and soon, Marshmallow (6.0). So, we expected Google to give a dessert name to the M – although “Milkshake,” “Marmalade,” “M&M,” and “Milky Way” were among consumer rumored favorites.

And yet, Google’s timing just seems all wrong, not just this year, but the last two years in particular.

When Google named “KitKat” with the arrival of Android 4.4 after 4.3 Jelly Bean, the company waited until September (before the new Nexus arrived in October) to unveil the KitKat bugdroid at the company’s Mountain View headquarters (despite the Key Lime Pie rumor for the update). However, Google’s developer conference, called I/O, was scheduled for June or July of that year. Last year, Google’s I/O conference took place at the end of June, and the company waited until around the time of the Nexus 6 to give a name to “Android L” (which became Android Lollipop).

This year, Google’s announcement today for Android Marshmallow just seems terribly wrong-timed. Why announce the new update name today when the company could’ve announced it at the developer conference at the end of May? Why let three months pass before naming the OS? Why hold the suspense so long when a number of the new features of the update have been revealed at the I/O conference in late Spring?

Take Apple, for example. Apple is not the greatest company in my eyes, but the company does get a +1 for organization. When Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC 2015) event arrived this summer, Apple unveiled “iOS 9.” Now, “iOS 9” is not as exciting and anticipatory as “Android M” with a surprise as to the next dessert name for the next Android update, but at least tech reviewers and developers know that iOS 9 is coming – and it has a name. The name itself is boring, not too terribly exciting, but it prevents the suspense that seems anticlimactic when a name is finally settled on.

I understand Google’s desire to create suspense and hype around the update, but many an Apple fan retains excitement around iOS, even without a special dessert name for it. Why then, can Google not give the update name and unveil the statue at I/O each year? Why wait until three months later, when only a few tech reviewers, writers, and analysts will attend the event? A wise company knows how to “carpe diem,” Latin for “seize the day.” A wise company knows how to capitalize on the hype when the moment is right, to learn how and when to launch a product or make an announcement. Google’s unveiling of Android Marshmallow is the equivalent of an adult who waits until three months after his or her birthday to say, “Hey, I’m 30 now!,” when the adult turned 30 three months earlier. True, the individual may only have time three months after his or her birthday to celebrate, but the timing is off – and the excitement just isn’t the same.

Suspense can be good, and hype can be excellent, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. In this case, Google’s suspense goes too far. I say, give the name of the Android update at Google I/O, alert developers as to what it is in advance, and don’t make them (and consumers) wait until three months after the main event when the world has moved on and few individuals will care. Timing is everything, and providing the birthday cake far after the birthday doesn’t eliminate its sweetness but waters down what could’ve been a sweet event all around.

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