Ever since “Cupcake” Google has made a tradition of naming the versions of their mobile operating system after something sweet. When they released the follow-up to Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) and called it “Jelly Bean” we weren’t’ surprised. When they released a followup to that, however, Google bumped the version by a minor point (4.1 to 4.2), but kept the name the same, referring to it as “another flavor of Jelly Bean”. It was a little odd and broke with tradition regarding their code-naming scheme, but it really wasn’t anything more than a curiosity in the timeline of Android.
Today we sit with Google’s developer conference, Google I/O, just over the horizon. At last year’s conference we were shown Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and all the coolness that came inside it. This year we predicted that we’d see the next major version of Android. We also surmised that it would be called “Key Lime Pie” since K is the next letter after J — information from Qualcomm seems to corroborate this.
Then we got a curve-ball thrown at us: Key Lime Pie Hit With Delay Rumors.
Some sources are reporting that Google may be delaying the next version of Android for 2-3 months. Why? So OEMs have time to finish pushing Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 to some of their devices. Yes, that’s what they’re saying. The reasons for these rumors could be spot on, or completely bunk.
Back to I/O
Android isn’t the only topic discussed at Google I/O, but it usually commands a fairly significant presence. If there’s no “new version” of Android to discuss, what are they going to fill the time with?
Could it be possible that Google is delaying Android 5.0, not because of OEMs, but because it’s a significant change that’s taking longer for them to develop than anticipated? That’s certainly a possibility. Perhaps they’ll call it Android 4.3, or an even bigger jump to 4.5?
Two flavors of Key Lime Pie?
Perhaps Google will give us a look at Key Lime Pie, which will bring with it some pretty significant UI changes, but the real guts “under the hood” will be put off to a future “flavor” of Key Lime Pie?
From a developer standpoint that seems backwards. If I were developing Android (which I’m not, so don’t get your hopes up), and I was faced with breaking the next major changes into two parts, I’d have the option to lead with the User Experience, or with the back end. Generally, major UI changes are easier to implement than major changes to the underlying code. Sometimes it’s the other way around. I’d look at the current needs in the market. Is our product more in need of performance and additional features, or does it need a new face?
If I were to release two flavors of Key Lime Pie they’d be unified around a common look — just like the different flavors of Jelly Bean are today. That means my back end changes would be put off until the second iteration, just as with Jelly Bean.
What if it’s just another flavor of Jelly Bean?
Could we see “just another flavor of Jelly Bean” announced at the conference instead of Key Lime Pie?
Knowing that Google may want to give more time to their partners, but still get the development community upgrading current apps and building new apps to take advantage of the features in the new version of their OS, why not roll out yet another flavor of Jelly Bean? Call it 4.3 (or even 4.5 if it’s that big a change) but keep the user interface the same as it is today. Then, with the foundation already in place for the next major overhaul, the look and feel could be somewhat easily announced and rolled out in a future version a few months down the road — or longer.
Regardless of which way it ends up going, I still hope we get some free pie.