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Android 5 ‘Jelly Bean’ Teased at MWC 2012

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Hiroshi Lockheimer, Vice President of Engineering for Mobile at Google, has teased what the company has planned for the next iteration of their Android operating system, which is expected as soon as this year.

The comments do seem rather odd, as Ice Cream Sandwich (version 4.0) hasn’t really been released to the wider Android community yet, but this hasn’t stopped Google from planning the release of the yet unnamed Android 5.0 this year.

After Android 4 comes 5, and we haven’t announced the timing yet, which we’re still sorting out,” Lockheimer said. “There’s a lot of engineering work behind it still, and there’s also just the question of how to time it.

Lockheimer added: “In general, the Android release cadence is one major release a year with some maintenance releases that are substantial still.” That statement would suggest an autumn 2012 time frame for the release of Android 5.0, given that Android 4.0 was released last November, which he acknowledged.

Nonetheless, Lockheimer added a caveat: “Having said that, we’re flexible. The [timing of releases] is not what drives us, but what does is innovation and offering users a great experience.”

While there’s no official name for Android 5, the early betting is it will be called Jelly Bean. But, does Google really need to be talking about the successor to ICS already? The main reason behind driving handset makers to ICS was to try and combat the fragmenting of the OS.

Ironically, the new ICS OS has done the complete opposite, it has fragmented it even further – if Google wants to be top dog then it needs to get all devices singing from the same hymn sheet, something it has struggled to do.

Google chairman Eric Schmidt isn’t shy about Google’s mobile ambitions, telling MWC 2012 attendees that the company wants an Android in every pocket in 12 years’ time.

By then, he said, top end phones that cost $400 (£250) now will be available for a fraction of the price:

The smartphone revolution will be universal,” he said.

In 12 years, doing the math – Moore’s Law – phones that cost $400 will cost $20 and if Google does it right there’ll be an Android in every pocket.”

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