Android O To Eclipse Previous Launches With August 21 Release

The sun is not the only thing getting eclipsed this month—the next major version of Android is launching next week, according to a source who is plugged into the pre-release scene. Evan Blass, otherwise known as @evleaks on Twitter, has a solid reputation for posting information on mobile products before they are officially announced. In this instance, he says Android O is scheduled for release next week, and most likely on Monday, August 21.

Android O

If that is indeed the case, Android O will arrive a little earlier than several previous Android builds, though only a day ahead of when Android 7.0 Nougat launched last year. Prior to that, Android 6.0 Marshmallow debuted on October 5, 2015, while Android 5.0 Lollipop came out on November 12, 2014. Here is the look at the scattered release schedule since the first deliciously titled version of of Android:
  • Android 1.5 Cupcake: April 27, 2009
  • Android 1.6 Donut: September 15, 2009
  • Android 2.0 Elcair: October 26, 2009
  • Android 2.2 Froyo: May 20, 2010
  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread: December 6, 2010
  • Android 3.0 Honeycomb: February 22, 2011
  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich: October 18, 2011
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean: July 9, 2012
  • Android 4.4 Kit Kat: October 31, 2013
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop: November 12, 2014
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow: October 5, 2015
  • Android 7.0 Nougat: August 22, 2016
Other than Nougat, you have to go back to 2012 before a major new version of Android debuted before October. New versions typically coincide with a hardware release. Barring a surprise, Google is expected to launch Android O alongside its Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL handsets, leaks for which have been coming in hot and heavy over the past several months. Both are devices are rumored to be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip (SoC).

Android Statues
Image Source: Flickr (Atomic Taco)

The big mystery surrounding Android O is which sugary sweet it will be named after. Every major version of Android since Cupcake has been dubbed some kind of treat and it has become somewhat of a tradition to try and guess the dessert ahead of time. Google threw a curve ball with Android 4.4 by partnering with Nestlé to name its mobile OS Kit Kat, the popular wafer bar candy (Fun fact: Kit Kat is owned by Nestlé, but Hershey's H.B. Reese Candy Company is licensed to produce the treat in the US). If Google were to go that route again, Android Oreo could be in play.

Whatever it ends up being called, Android O will introduce a bevy of new features, including a picture-in-picture mode used mostly for video playback, a redesigned notifications systems, an auto-fill feature to more quickly log into services, and so forth.

As with each version of Android, it will take some time for the newest build to trickle down from its launch hardware and onto more handsets and tablets. At present, Android 6.0 Marshmallow is the most widely used version of Android, as it is installed on nearly a third (32.3 percent) of all Android devices, followed by Android 5.0/5.1 Lollipop at 29.2 percent. Android 7.0/7.1 Nougat, now a year old, is installed on 13.5 percent of all Android devices, meaning that nearly nine of out of 10 Android devices are running an older version of the OS.