Search Engine

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Android 5.0 Jelly Bean news: Release date, features and more

Today, it's a very rare Android owner graced with the latest version of the OS: Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). Most mobile Droids are still chowing down on the Gingerbread flavour of Google's mobile software.
Earlier this year it emerged that a fractional 1.6 per cent of Android hardware is packing ICS -- which is a whole lot of Droid heads who can't use Face Unlock, enjoy full device encryption and download Google's Chrome for Android browser. Boo!
Since then a few new ICS phones have launched -- such as HTC's One Series devices -- but plenty of Android handsets continue to arrive running Gingerbread as standard.

Jelly Bean

This upgrade inertia hasn't stopped Google forging ahead with the next version of Android. And, in keeping with its alphabetical and dessert-themed naming convention, ICS looks set to be followed by Android 5.0 -- aka Jelly Bean.
Jelly-bean-flavoured name rumours have been swirling around Android 5.0 since last September. And in the clearest hint yet that this is indeed the name of choice, Google was dishing out jelly beans to conference goers at the exit of its Android-themed Mobile World Congress stand this February. Wink-wink-nudge-nudge.
We're yet to get an official, rubber stamped confirmation from Google that Jelly Bean is the name for Android 5.0 but don't bet your piggy bank on outlandish alternatives such as Jammy Dodger or Jam Roly Poly.
(For more on the cross-cultural currants of Android naming conventions, see my Pinterest board -- which imagines an alternative reality in which versions of the OS are given British English dessert names -- such as Android Eccles Cake, Android Iced Bun and Android Plum Duff.)

Release date

So when is Jelly Bean likely to land? Google hasn't made an official announcement -- but considering ICS arrived in autumn 2011, and is still the exception rather than the rule on Android devices, it seems pretty unlikely Jelly Bean will arrive sooner than this autumn -- despite Google previously keeping to a roughly six-monthly update schedule.
However, Jelly Bean could just get an airing at Google's annual I/O developer conference, which takes place at the end of June, so keep your eyes peeled for some potentially meaty news in about a month.


What do we know about Jelly Bean's features? Once again, not much since nothing has been officially confirmed -- Google wasn't handing out feature lists with those MWC jelly beans. Of course, that hasn't stopped the rumour mill churning out a few sugar-coated nuggets of its own.
One juicy but perhaps unlikely rumour is that Jelly Bean will run Windows 8 -- in a dual-boot scenario that would allow Droid lovers to switch between Android and Windows. The theory behind this cake-and-eat-it-scenario is that it would give Android lovers the on-the-go versatility and simplicity of Droid, along with the power and depth of Windows for more involved tasks.
However, many Android fans would probably say the OS is just as powerful and deep as Windows. And mixing open source free-to-use software with a proprietary OS is definitely an unfortunate crossing of the streams that suggests if there is a dual-boot option, it may be just that -- an option, rather than an 'as standard' feature.
In any case, Google's Chrome OS is a more likely candidate for dual-booting action. Last year Google's then chairman Eric Schmidt told MWC delegates that Android and Chrome OS will converge -- when the time is right. So perhaps Jelly Bean netbooks could be on the cards.
Another mooted update to Android involves adding more gestures to the interface. Last year Google filed a patent that used a series of letter gestures to act as short-cuts -- drawing the letter W, for instance, could be used as a quick way to fire up Wikipedia.
But reading the runes in patent filing has about as much predictive power as telling fortunes via tea leaves. Companies frequently patent all manner of outlandish inventions just on the off-chance, or to stop other companies patenting similar inventions. Some patent filings are even decoys -- deliberately designed to put people off the true development scent. So while more gestures in Jelly Bean seems likely, exactly what these will be and do isn't yet clear.
A more widespread prediction for Jelly Bean is that Google's Chrome for Android browser -- available now to ICS users -- becomes the standard offering in the OS, rather than an additional download via Google Play.
Another best guess is that Google will seek to compete with Apple's Siri voice assistant with its own mouthy interface addition. And many Android users are also anticipating some kind of file manager application, to help manage what are becoming increasingly complex media machines, along with (hoped for) improvements on the battery and power management front, and a speedier way to get the latest version of Android (which may just be wishful thinking).
For now, Google is keeping its Jelly Bean coloured cards close to its chest -- at the time of publication the company had not responded to a request for comment -- so take all these rumoured features with a pinch of salt and stay tuned for more news as we get it.
What features do you most want to see in Android 5.0? Let me know in the comments or put your wish-list on our Facebook page.

Android Key Lime Pie

And what about the next next version of Android? According to The Verge, it's going to be called Key Lime Pie -- or KLP for short.
Unsurprisingly, aside from this lime-flavoured name, there's no word yet on what KLP will bring or when it will arrive.
Expect the next, next, next version of Android (i.e the one after KLP) to have a sugar-coated name that starts with the letter L -- Android Lollypop, perhaps, or Android Lemon Meringue Pie. Post your best pudding name guesses in the comments below.


Post a Comment