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Google has officially unveiled its latest version of the Android OS, Android M (confectionary branding may follow soon). As of now, the update is currently available as a developer preview for the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and the Nexus Player.

The update is free of charge, and can be obtained just by downloading the M Developer Tools, according to the official Android Developers Blog. The M Developer Preview started rolling out last May 28, and will run until the release of the final Android M SDK (software development kit). The public release will shortly follow then, around the third quarter of 2015.

The developer preview aims to let developers get their hands and test the new software for possible issues and report it to Google. The Developer Preview program will come in three sets of updates. They are:

  • Preview 1- (initial Preview release, late May);
  • Preview 2- (late June/early July), and;
  • Preview 3- (near final, late July)

Those who will participate in the Developer Preview program need not flash their device with every patch that comes, since over-the-air (OTA) updates will automatically be available after flashing with the initial version of the preview. However, the final Android M SDK will not be available via OTA, so participating user will need to flash their device a second time.

As the software is tested for development, users can access the following support resources:

  • M Developer Issues Tracker: this is the primary feedback channel where users can report known bugs and performance issues of the software, or look for reported issues and try to find a solution/workaround for it.
  • The Android M Developer Community: this is a Google+ community where participating developers of the new software are gathered together to share their experience, observations, and ideas regarding the latest Android M.

Part of the preview is the new “Now on tap” enhancement for Google Now, where users can now access the search feature without leaving whatever they are doing with just a simple tap and hold of the home button.