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Android 6-point-huh? Analyzing the Marshmallow numbering madness

JR Raphael | Aug. 19, 2015
It may seem strange that Google's Android Marshmallow release brings such a big jump in version number, but those of us obsessing over digits are missing the point.

Or it could be a mere matter of marketing -- that a full-number release sounds more significant and Google wants to get in the habit of making such releases a more regular occurrence. A "big" release is more likely to get attention from the mainstream media as well as from manufacturers, who might feel more pressure to provide it to both existing and upcoming devices as quickly as possible.

The version number is more of a technicality than anything

After much deliberation, contemplation, and marshmallow mastication, I've come to one near-certain conclusion: We'll probably never know the real answer. And -- here's the kicker -- it really doesn't matter.

With Android, the version number is almost more of a technicality than anything. It's there for developers, but it doesn't mean much to anyone in the real world -- and that's precisely the way it should be. As our brief trip through past releases illustrates, we've seen lots of small-sounding point-one upgrades that have packed plenty of punch.

So regardless of why Google is going with 6.0 for Marshmallow or why it's changing its approach to Android version numbering in general, all that ultimately counts is the software itself -- not the number attached to it, which has practically zero impact on anyone's day-to-day device-using experience. 

Now, which manufacturers will actually make it a priority to get Marshmallow out to consumers -- that's a question that carries weight. And it's one you'd better believe I'll be watching closely.

Get your graham crackers out and your chocolate bars ready, gang. A whole new round of Android upgrade excitement is upon us -- so close, you can almost taste it.


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