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Google Splitting Android 5.0 Jelly Bean to 5 Manufacturers

By - Source: TechRadar | B 20 comments

Rather than offer its new Android OS to one manufacturer to develop a "Nexus" product, Google plans to release Android 5.0 "Jelly Bean" to five companies to develop "Nexus" tablets and smartphones.

Google's master plan regarding offering an online store to serve up Android devices just got a bit more clearer.

As reported back in March, the company plans to open a virtual storefront to sell branded tablets directly to customers. The move is supposedly to turn around sluggish sales of non-Kindle Fire Android tablets while providing a retail hardware service rivaling Apple and Amazon. It's also to simmer any hostilities that may arise due to the upcoming Google-Motorola acquisition deal.

The report said that Google's store will sell two branded tablets from Asus and Samsung although the former manufacturer is slated to arrive with a "Nexus" tablet first. Sources said these devices would sport Android 5.0 "Jelly Bean" and launch during 3Q12 at the earliest. Other manufacturers are expected to sell additional Android tablets and smartphones to make Google's virtual stock appear more robust.

A new report now clarifies what will actually be sold in Google's new store. Unnamed sources claim that the company plans to distribute Android 5.0 "Jelly Bean" to five device manufacturers rather than limit the new release to just one as it has in the past. That means Google will have a large portfolio of branded tablets and smartphones at launch. This approach is expected to reduce the "trickle effect" when a new OS appears on the market.

This move may also be intended to reduce the number of "forked" Android builds that threaten to take over the market. As previously stated, manufacturers are worried that Motorola will get preference once the acquisition takes place. There's also talk that manufacturers are simply tired of Google telling them how to produce an Android tablet, and want to differentiate themselves from the competitors. Offering Jelly Bean to Google's five main partners would seemingly ease the Motorola bitterness while also assuring a line of "pure" tablets and smartphones before manufacturers head down their own path.

But here's the catch: because these phones and tablets aren't sold through networks, they'll be unlocked and SIM-free. Thus, at this point, there won't be a subsidy, so consumers will pay full price and then be required to hunt down a compatible network. Still, these devices may be sold outside Google's own virtual storefront at a handful of retailers in Europe, Asia and here in the United States.

Many critics have complained that releasing Android 5.0 in 3Q12 will be too early and may hurt the overall Android ecosystem. After all, Android 4.0 -- which is supposed to finally fix the fragmentation problem that has plagued the OS for years -- launched at the end of 2011 and has yet to fully infiltrate the Android market. As it stands now, many consumers are still waiting to move up from v2.3 "Gingerbread" while Ice Cream Sandwich devices fresh from the shop are few in number.

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  • 2 Hide
    silver565 , May 17, 2012 4:36 AM
    This could be interesting. I wonder who will come out on top?
  • 2 Hide
    SchizoFrog , May 17, 2012 7:23 AM
    Google has to rush Andriod 5.0 out by the tnd of the year because it will have to have something new and fresh to compete with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 (Apollo) which are due to launch around Sept-Oct '12. Once MS gets it's finger out, they really have the potential to build a massive eco system with Consoles, PCs, Laptops, Tablets and Phones all being able to connect together to share apps and software while with the added benefits of cloud computing to access data from whatever device you are using.

    Android has had a good run and is now established as a phone OS but it has never been the threat to Apple that people thought it may become.
  • 7 Hide
    house70 , May 17, 2012 7:50 AM
    "just got a bit more clearer."

    more clearer? Really?
    Back to school.
  • 7 Hide
    house70 , May 17, 2012 7:55 AM
    "But here's the catch: because these phones and tablets aren't sold through networks, they'll be unlocked and SIM-free."

    I see the catch: we get to be able to buy unlocked phones and actually own them, and also get to choose what SIM card (hence network) to use it on; yeah, a major drawback... I just can't understand how the rest of the world (where one can already do that) lives with itself...
    /sarcasm
  • 4 Hide
    killerclick , May 17, 2012 9:23 AM
    schizofrogOnce MS gets it's finger out, they really have the potential to build a massive eco system with Consoles, PCs, Laptops, Tablets and Phones all being able to connect together to share apps and software while with the added benefits of cloud computing to access data from whatever device you are using.


    It's not all they're doing. Microsoft wants PCs and smartphones to share the same user interface and apps... which means the lowest common denominator will rule on both counts. PC gets an inferior user interface (because it can be used on phones) and inferior applications (because they can run on phones). Microsoft can't get any traction in the mobile market, so they want to turn PCs into mobiles and they don't want users to have any say in it (that's why you can't disable Metro).
  • 1 Hide
    annymmo , May 17, 2012 10:39 AM
    "But here's the catch: because these phones and tablets aren't sold through networks, they'll be unlocked and SIM-free."

    That is not a catch but the opposite of a catch.
  • 4 Hide
    southernshark , May 17, 2012 12:05 PM
    If all phones were unlocked they would sell for around $200- 300 dollars, just like Ipods and 7" tablets. There is no justification for them selling for $500 dollars. Its just a gimmick to force people into buying contracts.

    I see this as a very good thing. If Google pull this off, the consumer could be the big winner. Of course there will still be people who line up to get contracts, but that's fine for them.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 17, 2012 12:12 PM
    Very pleased with this announcement. An htc follow up to the brilliant one x, with jelly been on it and assured instant updates will be such a bonus.
  • 0 Hide
    xyriin , May 17, 2012 12:39 PM
    schizofrogGoogle has to rush Andriod 5.0 out by the tnd of the year because it will have to have something new and fresh to compete with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 (Apollo) which are due to launch around Sept-Oct '12. Once MS gets it's finger out, they really have the potential to build a massive eco system with Consoles, PCs, Laptops, Tablets and Phones all being able to connect together to share apps and software while with the added benefits of cloud computing to access data from whatever device you are using.Android has had a good run and is now established as a phone OS but it has never been the threat to Apple that people thought it may become.

    Are you really trying to insist MS will build a massive eco system with WP? WP has been around longer than Android and has nothing to show for it. Android is still increasing it's marketshare lead over Apple, so I don't see how that doesn't constitute a threat. Less smoke and mirrors please.
  • 2 Hide
    kawininjazx , May 17, 2012 1:08 PM
    Come on, everyone is still waiting on ICS.
  • 2 Hide
    tntom , May 17, 2012 2:32 PM
    The obvious problem is the manufacturers are competitors. So you won't be seeing Samsung contribute any of it's TouchWiz4.0 to the community to be incorporated in stock Android. Microsoft can control this. Jelly-Bean won't automatically upgrade all devices already on the market just as ICS could not. It can only be fixed if Google out innovates everyone with such a compelling OS that you would not want to differentiate it from stock. No company is able to that unless they have licensing terms. We need to accept Android for what it is open and greatly modifiable. It is not a problem it is a feature.

    What happened to bring your own phone! Mobile Providers! Just give me a rebate for moving or staying. I will buy my own device un-subsidized and you give me the money I would have saved with the subsidized phone. Oh, that is right there is that price-fixing thing with manufactures.
  • 0 Hide
    frank_drebin , May 17, 2012 3:04 PM
    Oh boy, there we go. Lets see whose company bloatware is better
  • 0 Hide
    zaznet , May 17, 2012 3:46 PM
    Why is it important that anyone upgrade to ICS before Jellybean launches? Google is not on the 5-7 year OS update plan that we might be accustomed to from Microsoft.

    I prefer a release-it-when ready approach which is what Google seems to be doing. I will upgrade to 4.0 as soon as a ROM is available for my phone but if 5.0 is available first I may just upgrade my phone at that time.

    This seems good for the consumer overall by not artificially extending the life of the last update.
  • 0 Hide
    g00fysmiley , May 17, 2012 4:09 PM
    wow 5.0 soon, glad i bought the samsung galaxy nexus with the promise of getting os upgrades as they are released. though i agree i wish google would force carriers and phoen manifacturers to upgrade the os on existing phoens sooner, i just recently switched from WebOS to android and what was keeping me out of the pool all these years was seeing my wife's samsung intercept II and other devices that met hardware spec for updates like 2.3 that never came, I can say if i was deceived and my galaxy nexus doesn't get updates soon after they are released i'll hae my suspitions confirmed and it'll be my last droid device... but if as promised nexus lines ge tupdates up until the hardware can't handle it then i'll probably stay android for quite some time
  • 1 Hide
    eddieroolz , May 17, 2012 5:11 PM
    Well, for Google it's a numbers game, so the more companies they get on board with Nexus probably the better.
  • 2 Hide
    sliem , May 17, 2012 6:35 PM
    house70"just got a bit more clearer."more clearer? Really?Back to school.


    It's Kevin.
    Leave it be, it's more better that way.... heh.
  • 0 Hide
    dreadlokz , May 17, 2012 9:04 PM
    I just don't get the names! Are they high or something when they think of the names?
  • 1 Hide
    dalethepcman , May 17, 2012 9:39 PM
    killerclickIt's not all they're doing .... (that's why you can't disable Metro).


    You can bypass metro easily on the consumer preview, s your friend.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 17, 2012 11:51 PM
    It is a catch, because now you are paying for an unsubsidized phone AND an expensive plan that's meant to give a return on a subsidy. Unless Carriers reduce plan rates for unlocked phones you will ALWAYS be raped (unless your goal is to hip-hop from carrier to carrier)
  • 0 Hide
    olaf , May 18, 2012 8:08 AM
    Let me make just 1 thing clear if your phone is older then 1year old hardware wise (aka it was not one of the top edge phones last year) or is one the more budget phones you will not get Android 4 , lets not even kid ourselves with 5.0. The obvious example here would be the Galaxy S / S+ that won't get ICS thanks to Samsung horrid UI. Android 4.0 has some requirements that are just simply not met by older phones, its usually the ROM & RAM that limit it the most. Those phones will eider die with Gingerbread on them or with a buggy custom rom, eider way you won't get an official upgrade. On a side note , unlocked phones will mean that you don't depend on your carrier's bloatware to get update, but solely on the manufacturer, Google is trying to cut out the networks BS as much as possible.
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