Ice Cream Sandwich, the new Android 4.0 version of Google’s mobile operating system, has barely had time to melt, but reports are already surfacing that its successor could be available in just a few months.
Google wants to get Android 5.0, the so-called Jelly Bean release, out the door before Windows 8, according to the Taiwan publication Digitimes, citing unnamed sources in the mobile device supply chain.
In fact, the article claims Google hopes to step up Android 5’s release so it can convince tablet makers to ship with both Windows 8 and Jelly Bean on the same device. One thing in Google’s favor there is that unlike Microsoft, Google doesn’t charge a royalty for Android as Microsoft does.
ReadWriteWeb notes that Android 4.0 was launched at last year’s Google I/O developer conference and the 2012 event is slated to run from June 27-29, right at the end of the second quarter.
But as most tablet makers haven’t even shipped devices with the Android 4 yet, it would seem a stretch to think the search giant is on track to push out a new release anytime soon. On the other hand, given the developer focus, it’s entirely possible Android 5 will be previewed at Google I/O if a prototype is ready to show.
Andy Rubin, who heads Google’s Android effort, said back in 2010 that Google would be moving to an annual release cycle so developers wouldn’t be overwhelmed.
Analyst Jack Gold said he thinks its unlikely Google would bring out a new version with Android 4 so new to the market. “It would have to offer something really compelling for Google to essentially skip a version,” said Gold, who heads the consulting firm JGold Associates.
Google is “very concerned” about Windows 8 on tablets, says analyst Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, because it knows Windows will have a lot of appeal to corporate accounts.
“I can see Google wanting to be more aggressive to try and get Android into broader distribution, but we haven’t picked up anything indicating a new release is coming anytime soon,” said Bajarin.