According to Digitimes, Google may release the next major version of Android, Android 5.0 Jelly Bean, as early as Q2 2012. Digitimes cites Taiwan-based supply chain makers who suggest that Android 5.0 will feature optimizations for tablets and tablet-like devices. The timing would put Android 5.0′s release in line with Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform, and Digitimes claims that Google will be appealing to tablet manufacturers to provide customers with dual-boot capabilities that will allow booting into either Windows 8 or Android 5.
With Google promising last year that the Android update cycle would slow down so that one major platform version would be released per year, we’re a bit skeptical that we’ll see a major version of Android launch just 8-9 months after Ice Cream Sandwich was unveiled. It is possible that we’ll see some hints of what’s to come in Android 5.0 at Google’s I/O Conference, which is aptly set to take place in June this year.
The report claims that Android 4.0 was a “failure,” though to date only one phone and a handful of tablets have officially gotten an update to Ice Cream Sandwich. Manufacturers are hard at work building their custom UI skins atop of Android 4.0 so they can release the update to their devices in Q2 and Q3. By the end of 2012, we’ll see a majority of devices in the wild just starting to run Android 4.0, and if Google actually releases Android 5.0 in Q2, we likely won’t see it adopted until well into the holiday season or even Q1 2013.
If we were a betting website (and, we totally are), we’d bet that some aspects Android 4.1 (or 5.0) with tablet optimizations will be unveiled at Google IO in June, and will start to hit devices in September/October. It will be a minor update on the phone side of things, allowing manufacturers to quickly update their devices to the latest version, and will be a major refresh for tablets as Google bolsters its tablet devices to compete with iOS and Windows 8.
What do you guys think? Will Google launch the next version of Android by June, or do you think it’ll be the second half of the year?