Friday, February 17, 2012

Is Android 5.0 (Jelly Bean) rushing toward a summer 2012 release?

Has uptake on Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) been so slow that Google is ready to push out Android 5.0 (Jelly Bean)? That's the report coming out of sources within Taiwan-based component suppliers, according to website DigiTimes, which has a mixed record in terms of accuracy.

Although Ice Cream Sandwich is the first Android version to unify the tablet and smartphone user experience, only a handful of devices are sporting the new version. Many of the smartphones and tablets that are launching are still carrying Gingerbread (Android 2.3) or Honeycomb (Android 3.x).

With that, DigiTimes' sources say that since Microsoft's Windows 8 will launch in Q3 2012, Google will launch Android 5.0 in Q2. It will then approach OEMs with an entreaty for them to adopt Jelly Bean AND Windows 8 on the same tablet hardware.

Android 5.0 will reportedly carry the Chrome functionality, allowing OEMs to install both Android and Windows on a single device, and then switch between the two seamlessly, without a reboot. Jelly Bean will also be further optimized for tablets.

It's hard to believe the story, however. It's not hard to believe that Google is watching Microsoft with a wary eye. However, the uptake on Android 4.0 seems to be following the traditional slow movement. It is, of course, disconcerting to see handset and tablet OEMs continue to release Android 2.3 and 3.x devices -- and that has to be a concern for Google, as well.

However, with OEMs struggling to update recent devices to Android 4.0, we'd think that Google would be hard pressed to get them to skip Android 4.0 and go to 5.0, especially since the OEMs are only now beginning to share ROM upgrade roadmaps.

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