A Taiwanese news publication, DigiTimes, has claimed that Google will launch the next version of Android, code named Jelly Bean, in Q2 2012. According to the news report, Chrome is going to be integrated with Android. (It is to be noted that Google had recently released a version of Chrome capable of running on Android.)
DigiTimes further states that Google will oush vendors to adopt a dual-boot system design capable of running Android and Windows.
DigiTimes further claims that "However, since Android 4.0 did not perform as well as expected, several of Google's downstream partners are turning conservative about Android 5.0."
I think the claims of Q2 launch are very aggressive. Fragmentation is very high in Android, and as per Google only 1.0% of devices so far have ICS.
Many device manufacturers like Motorola (soon to be acquired by Google) will start releasing ICS on their devices from Q2 onwards, and It would be bad marketing to tell the users that ICS is obsolete before they have even upgraded!
Also releasing a new version in Q2 will further increase fragmentation, a major complaint against Android, unless Google wants majority to skip ICS and move to Jelly Bean, which is not practically possible. Fragmentation will negatively impact all interested parties users, developers and handset makers – and ultimately Google.
And it is difficult to believe that the handset makers already feel that ICS is a failure, without even upgrading their users.
As ArsTechnica says "DigiTimes has a mixed track record on rumors, so its claims regarding Android 5 should be taken with a grain of salt."
|Android Version Timeline by FAQoid|
Google, Apple Microsoft - Who will win the mobile wars?
But that is not the most interesting part of the news; it is dual boot – which gives us an insight into Google’s strategy. Google has been working with various companies like Intel, Samsung and Viewsonic to release devices with Android/Chrome with or without dual boots. Viewsonic, for example, released ViewPad 10Pro in August 2011 capable of dual booting Windows 7 and Android.
If it works out, then Google will be able to attack its two formidable competitors, Microsoft and Apple in one stroke, extending Android’s reach while containing Microsoft.