It’s the time of year when we all start thinking about Bunnies, and Baskets and Jelly Beans – well, at least in my household it is. That’s right it’s Easter week, and that has me thinking about all sorts of goodies. Goodies like Jelly Beans and…Key Lime Pie???
Of course, ‘Jelly Bean’ has a different meaning to technology geeks like us. Jelly Bean is the current iteration of the Android operating system so many of us know and love. It’s also far and away the best iteration of Android to grace a phone or tablet ever. It’s also getting on close to a year old which means…*dramatic pause*…Key Lime Pie must be just around the corner. But does it have to be?
I already said that Jelly Bean is the best version of Android on the market today. With Jelly Bean comes Google Now, arguably the most handy of all Jelly Bean features. Expandable and actionable notifications are extreme awesome too. Jelly Bean really does bring a lot to the table. The problem is, there aren’t a whole lot of folks sitting at that table these days.
By The Numbers
Jelly Bean adoption is only at about 15% of Android smart phones out there. You’ve got your Nexus 4 and 7 users, Samsung GSIII and Note II users, and a smattering of other handsets and tablets out there, but believe it or not, depending on whose numbers you read, the biggest Android player out there is actually Gingerbread. That’s 4 versions out of date. Put another way – imagine if 44% of the world’s computers still ran Windows ME. You can go ahead and vomit. I’ll wait.
Key Lime Pie is predicted by most experts to hit the stage at Google I/O, just 2 months away. Some might argue this is good thing. It will include new features such as an updated kernel for improved performance, Video Chat, and Guest mode. All of these I’m sure are very truly needed, but let’s face it; this is a world in which Froyo is still pushing ten percent. Froyo, people. Is it a Hobbit? No it’s and operating system and it has ten flipping percent.
It must be an absolute nightmare developing for Android. So many devices, so many platforms. How does the phrase go? “You can’t please everyone”? This is the very definition of that phrase. Do you only develop for the latest and greatest? Do you develop for every platform and every screen size? And let’s go ahead an throw another operating system on top of that. That’s ok, it’s just a new kernel.
Now, I’m not a developer. I don’t even play one on TV. I have a vague understanding of terms like “kernel” and the like, but if I remember correctly, the kernel is one of the reasons Open webOS wouldn’t run on the Touchpad. I’m pretty sure a kernel is a pretty big deal. What will that mean for “legacy” Android apps? Will they have to be redeveloped?
And this whole “snappier” performance thing. Are we rendering graphics on our phones these days? Maybe I’m not a “power user”, but I shoot photos and videos, play Netflix and some 3d Games. I’ve never been driven to tears by my phone’s performance. And this is not accounting for the Snapdragon 600 and 800 that are/soon will be out there. There’s your snappy performance.
Can You See Me Now?
Are we really living in a world where we need yet another video chat client? We’ve got FaceTime, we’ve got Skype, we’ve got Hangouts, which are basically the Twitter of video chats. Heck, even Facebook is working on bringing video chats to the masses. I’m not sure we’re really all that hard up for video chats. Especially yet another video chat integrated into yet another platform that may or may not play nice with other video chats out there.
And guest mode. Is this really a problem? If you have a friend who borrows your tablet and they start rooting through your files and buying apps, get another friend. Not to mention, I’m not sure people borrowing tablets is really all that much a problem. It’s been my experience that if one needs a tablet, one has a tablet. There’s a reason it’s called mobile technology here folks.
Bottom line – Jelly Bean really is a great operating system, with Google Now being the crown jewel of mobile apps. The insane amount of usefulness that one app has built in may very well be the reason I switch back to Android down the road. Expandable and actionable notifications would probably be the other reason. Did I mention that’s also a Jelly Bean feature? Jelly Bean is already a great operating system. It has room for small tweaks and improvements yes, but do we really need a whole new operating system? Not just yet. Let’s de-fragment a bit before we throw another OS onto this already huge and frustrating pile of sugared deserts.