WSJ: “K release” (Key Lime Pie?) Android arriving this fall; to support low-end devices and other hardware

by: Chris SmithJune 27, 2013

Key Lime Pie

An ample Wall Street Journal report offered details about three new products that Google is said to be working on, but also provided details about the upcoming major Android update, “known internally as ‘K release.’”

We have already talked about the Android console, smartwatch and new Nexus Q that Google is apparently working on, reportedly intending to launch at least one of them this fall, so now it’s time to talk about Key Lime Pie.

Without specifically naming the next version of Android, the WSJ does say it’s known as “K release” internally – Key Lime Pie is expected to be the name of the next major update, although that’s yet to be confirmed. However, the publication did not mention a number for it – Key Lime Pie is expected to be the name of Android 5.0.

Google surprised everyone at Google I/O by not announcing a new Android update. Since before the developers conference, word on the street suggested that Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie – which was initally expected to arrive at I/O – was not going to be the next Android update. Instead, more and more indirect evidence pointed to another Jelly Bean version, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. However, Android 4.3 is yet to be unveiled.

Getting back to the WSJ report, the publication says that “K release” is expected this fall, with the company “[wrapping] up development on the next version of Android,” as it focuses on hardware. That’s definitely a very interesting detail and, if true, falls in line with some rumors that said Google held off releasing the next major Android update to allow more devices to be updated to Jelly Bean.

Key Lime Pie

However, the most interesting thing about WSJ’s Android-related revelations is that the new update will be a lot friendlier to low-cost, and therefore older, Android devices than its predecessors. If that’s true, then Google may be able to solve one of the major “problems” with Android, its fragmented state:

According to Google, the majority of Android devices currently being used rely on a version of the software released in 2011 that has fewer capabilities than newer releases. Some industry experts say that the most recent versions of Android are better for higher-end devices than lower-end or older ones that had, for instance, 512 megabytes of memory.

The coming version of Android is supposed to remedy the issue, said people familiar with the matter, and also help mobile app developers focus on optimizing their apps for fewer versions of the software.

By improving its core services – at Google I/O has focused on products including Search, Maps and Google+ – the company is already taking necessary steps to offer a better experience to consumers and developers across platforms. But should “K release” be compatible with low-cost devices, Google would be able to accomplish something it hasn’t really been able to do before. Naturally, users will still be at the mercy of OEMs and carriers when it comes to updates, but some of them will be able to take matters in their own hands knowing that their old device can run a newer version of Android.

new motorola logo

This particular move from Google makes a lot of sense especially when paired with an other interesting detail provided by the WSJ – Google is creating low-cost phones for developing markets, “including in markets where Google plans to fund or help create next-generation wireless networks.”

This is in line with Google’s motivation behind its need to dominate the mobile ecosystem: search and ads. While helping connect even more people to the Internet, Google will make money in the process from its web-based services that come bundled with Android, or are available on competing platforms such as iOS or Windows Phones. And what better way to compete in such markets than by launching cheap devices running a new operating system?

In addition to supporting low-cost smartphones and tablets, the new Android release should also support laptops and desktops – that’s not a secret anymore, is it? – but also other devices such as home appliances.

Just like before, we’ll advise you to take everything with a grain of salt even if it comes from a trusted publication such as the WSJ. Google is yet to announce its next-gen Android OS versions, so we’re bound to see plenty of similar reports in the mean time.

  • David RT

    I hope this is real info.

  • nishantsirohi123

    if samsung is able to provide the update to the international version legacy devices(at least those with dual core processors, enough internal memory and RAM, there are plenty like the Galaxy R, S2, S-advance)
    That shall be the best move in the industry, being the biggest android supplier
    forcing other manufacturers and even the US careers to push out the updates.

    • Piyush

      I dont think so , they will say touchwiz is unable to handle that kind of specs and live older hardware to dust , they did same to galaxy s1 where they said s1 is unable to handle latest touchwiz on ics 4.0.4 so they didn’t updated it.

      • Cristi13

        That was is the past, the s2,note1were some of the fewest devices from 2011 to receive jb. Samsung updated more phones and tablets to jb than everyone else (except google). Heck, my xperia s (from 2012) received jb after the s2, even after note 1. About the s1, what other device from 2010 received ics except the nexus?

        • Piyush

          Its been leaked that s2 and note1 will be updated to 4.2.2 only , the article is in sammobile site.

          • Cristi13

            Stiil is very good, i mean what other phones from 2011 even got 4.1(except nexus, of course). My xperia s will remain only at 4.1, not that this 1 year old phone is not capable, but sony is busy with other things, more important than you know, taking care of their customers (especially old ones).

        • Mohd Danial

          Fyi, My SII international did not get the jb update.

          • Cristi13

            Fyi i know quite a few people that received jb for their s2 and note before my xperia s. Heck, I actually didn’t check, I installed a custom rom based on the official one to try to get rid of some bugs (like 1080p video rec that is laggy) but that didn’t help. Sony had 1 year to make the update and they couldn’t make the fucking camera work good. Now, I don’t know too much about samsung but worse than this it can’t be.

  • APai

    K release good on low end devices ? …Finally! that’s the news we’ve been waiting for all along!

    • Alex Murphy

      lol also desktops so basically everything

  • Rockwell mellow

    Android needs to be more ram friendly, I have a device with 2gb and barley get 1.4 GB free at best

    • Piyush


      • Rockwell mellow

        Nahhh pretty smooth at the moment

        • Piyush

          You have neither used wp8 or ios , thats why you are telling.

          • Rockwell mellow

            Used iOS its only just smoother than stock android 4.2.2

          • Piyush

            Whats problem with just smoother phone dude , dont you want it.

        • fandroid98

          Need more butters

        • fandroid98

          Need more butters

    • SeraZR™

      lolz what do ya need 1.4 GB of RAM for?

  • Jim

    Google first flagship moto (not the moto X) will have KLP

  • Ivan Budiutama

    ok, just speculation, I think the term of “low spec” friendly might be, the third “segmentation” on the Android, as we know, currently we have 2 segments. The phone and the tablet, despite their different UI, so my guess is there will be new “low spec” segment, which might cut some “storage-hungry” feature so it might fit on as low as 512 Internal storage capacity, also the optimized version with lower “smoothness” for lower RAM and lower clocked processor. So the UI might not be as rich as the normal phone, and the buttery might be less smooth here. but most of the feature might be accessible yet. Just a speculation though.

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    Can’t wait for KLP

  • E. Tasche

    Seems unnecessary. My old 1ghz single core, 512mb ram HTC Incredible runs 4.2 just fine already. Granted it took a bit of tweaking to get it just right, but that should be completely within reach of OEMs.