Welcome to another new weekly column where we round up all the Android-related rumors and discuss the validity of each one. Everyone seems to love our original rumor reports, but we thought it would be fun to examine the rumors from around the web and share our thoughts on the possibility of them coming true. Read on for this week’s latest Android rumors.
Google Drive finally coming this April
Our thoughts: Rumors of Google’s cloud storage service go all the way back to 2006, but we know the service is currently in testing because the first screen shots were leaked in February. Om has been in the business for a long time and we trust his sources, but it’s always hard to pin down an exact release date for Google products. We think a Google Drive launch is pending, so an April release sounds likely.
Jelly Bean to launch in Q3
Rumor: Taiwan newspaper Digitimes reports “Google may release its new platform, Android 5.0 (Jelly Bean), in the third quarter of 2012.“
Our thoughts: Based out of Taipei, Digitimes often has access to information from supply chain sources that are based in Taiwan. We are fairly confident that the next version of Android is codenamed Jelly Bean (as first reported way back in 2010), but we don’t know what version number Google will assign to it or when it will launch.
The popular belief is that Google will unveil the first details about Jelly Bean during their Google IO conference on June 27-29th. Google always talks about the future of Android during this show, so that’s pretty much a given.
Right now we believe there are two options. First, Google could announce that Jelly Bean is a minor update, call it Android 4.1 or 4.5, and immediately release it for their Nexus line of phones and tablets. Second, we could learn that Jelly Bean will be a major update, be called Android 5.0, and be released in Q4 on the next flagship device.
Google has a pattern of releasing one major update to Android every year, so we still expect Android 5.0 sometime in Q4, but there is no way to know if that is Jelly Bean, or the next version codenamed Key Lime Pie.
“Nexus tablet” to be given away at Google IO
Rumor: We speculate that Google will give away the ASUS “Nexus tablet” to every attendee of Google IO.
Our thoughts: Every year Google gives away a free Android device to all the attendees at their Google IO developer conference. Three years ago it was the Google Ion (HTC Magic), two years ago it was the HTC EVO 4G, and last year it was the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Samsung Chromebook.
This year we believe they will give away the rumored 7-inch “Nexus tablet.” Android chief Andy Rubin recently said, “2012 is going to be the year that we double down and make sure we’re winning in that [tablet] space… we’re going to do a better job at making people understand what ecosystem they’re buying into.”
Combined with the new Google Play Store, this Google tablet fits into the “double down” tablet strategy and it will further evolve the tablet ecosystem with a focus on more optimized apps.
Another possible giveaway device could be the rumored Android Hub (or maybe it’s called Play Hub now?). Google just filed a new trademark application for Showy, which is described as “Downloadable software which allows users to use their computer, tablet device, or mobile phone as a remote control to operate video display devices and televisions; and downloadable software which allows users to remotely control the content on internet-connected digital signage.”
It sure sounds like the 7-inch tablet and home entertainment system will be tightly integrated, so maybe both will be given away.
Samsung Galaxy S III to be launched this weekend
Rumor: Multiple sites report that Samsung could unveil the Samsung Galaxy S III on March 30th after Eurodroid spotted a Samsung teaser in the window of retailer Phones 4U.
Our thoughts: Another week, another rumored unveiling for the Galaxy S III. Last time it was a Samsung event in Africa that turned into a TV announcement and now this.
Stuart Miles of Pocket-Lint already debunked this rumor. It turns out Phones 4U is opening up a Samsung store-within-a-store on March 30th.
T-Mobile to raise prices next week
Rumor: David Beren of TmoNews reports that T-Mobile will raise prices on Classic Unlimited 5GB and 10GB data features beginning April 4th
Our thoughts: We only call this a rumor because it’s not officially confirmed by T-Mobile, but we believe this to be true. As David points out, this is an “obvious move to drive customers into the hands of waiting Value Plan opportunities.” T-Mobile’s Value Plans save their subscribers money because the cost of the subsidized phone is not part of the monthly service fee. Customers have to pay the full price of the phone up front, or over the course of 20 months, but they save money over the life of the contract.
Got any juicy rumors?
Find any hot Android-related rumors that we failed to cover? Just contact Taylor or leave a comment below and we will evaluate them next week.