The well-connected guys at Digitimes feed the mill once more with a rumor that slates the next iteration of Android for the second quarter of 2012. According to their sources in the bustling Taiwanese manufacturing sector, Google plans to move fast with Android 5.0 Jelly Bean, driven by the relatively slow adoption of Ice Cream Sandwich, but also by the looming launch of Windows 8.
The news snippet is scarce in details, but a couple of important things pop out. One, Google is likely to specifically push Jelly Bean for tablet devices. Two, the guys in Mountain View would love to steal some of Windows 8’s thunder by enabling easy dual-boot on Windows 8 tablets.
So far, the results of Google’s efforts in the tablet area have been less than stellar. For some reason (price, fragmentation, public perception, marketing), Android-powered tablets haven’t been exactly flying of the shelves.
Ice Cream Sandwich is still too new to make a dent in iPad’s dominance. While most of the big names have announced that ICS will come to their devices, only a few tablets sport it already.
Understandably, Samsung, HTC, and other Google manufacturing partners are a bit wary when it comes to yet another version of Android. Even Motorola, soon to become even closer to Google, and one of the early adopters of ICS, has announced that its ICS rollout will only gather steam by Q2 2012, and will probably end in late autumn.
With all the problems created by a fast release cycle, Google can’t afford to waste any time. Apple will probably announce the iPad 3 this Spring, which will bolster its position in the tablet market even further. Plus, there is a wildcard in the game – Windows 8 is also expected to hit the markets later this year.
Microsoft hopes to grab a piece of the tablet pie when it releases its revamped Windows 8. According to Digitimes, Google will fight back by integrating technology from Chrome OS into Jelly Bean, which would enable manufacturers to deliver tablets (and notebooks) running both Windows 8 and Android 5.0. Moreover, users will be able to quickly switch between the two operating systems, even without rebooting the device.
The Chromebook line is another area where Google needs a breath of fresh air. Launched with fanfare last year, the Chrome-running notebooks haven’t take off at all. The recent wave of Ultrabooks makes Google’s mission even harder. Jelly Bean may help here too.
To conclude, Google has a lot at stake with the new Android 5.0. The success of this new version may finally give the Mountain View giant the foothold it needs to fight Apple’s iPad. The arrival of Windows 8 may complicate things even further. No matter what happens, we can’t wait to see how Jelly Bean looks and feels.