Android Marshmallow to flavor LG G4 smartphone starting next week
G4 owners in Poland will get first dibs, but those elsewhere in Europe, Asia and the Americas are next on the list.
Lance WhitneyContributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
LG will be the first mobile vendor in the world outside of Google to start updating its phones with the new Android Marshmallow operating system. Its flagship G4 is first in line.
On Thursday, the Korean mobile-phone maker said LG G4 owners in Poland will be the first to receive Android 6.0 beginning next week, with users in other markets in Europe, Asia and the Americas up next. As of October 5, Google has been pushing out the new flavor of Android to some of its Nexus devices, including the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7 (2013 edition), Nexus 9 and Nexus Player. Google's early rollout is par for the course because the company cooks up each new version of Android.
The road to releasing a new Android OS can be long. The new version has to be tested and approved by the mobile-phone vendors and wireless carriers. The vendors then have to map out a schedule for each type of phone for each region of the world. In the meantime, eager consumers must patiently wait for the update to reach their devices, a process that can take weeks or months. Being the first vendor after Google to push out a new version of Android is a coup for LG.
"By working closely with Google, LG has been able to bring Android 6.0 to the G4 ahead of any of our competitors," Chris Yie, vice president and head of marketing communications for LG Mobile Communications, said in a statement. "While speed alone isn't an indicator of great service, it does go a long way toward giving consumers the confidence that LG is committed to its existing customers first."
The long road to pushing out a new version also leads to a predicament known as Android fragmentation. At any given time, several different versions of Google's mobile OS flavor the millions of Android phones and tablets in the world. That situation not only frustrates users who keep waiting for the latest version but also developers who must design their apps to support a variety of versions.
Unveiled October 5, Android Marshmallow brings several enhancements. A Do Not Disturb mode can block all sounds or only alarms and notifications. A Doze Mode turns off certain background apps when the device isn't being used as a way to preserve the battery charge. Now on Tap, a feature in digital assistant Google Now, shows you relevant information and app shortcuts when you press the Home button.
LG said it will announce further details about the Marshmallow upgrade schedule and affected phones in individual markets.