Android 5.0 Q3 Arrival Might Be Bad for Development
Will the rumored 3Q12 arrival of Android 5.0 "Jelly Bean" be too early given that v4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" resides on less than 4-percent of current phones?
For a while there has been speculation that Google will launch Android 5.0 "Jelly Bean" in 3Q12 even though v4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" is just now starting to saturate the market. But unnamed industry sources seem a little worried about the possible 2012 launch, claiming that the rapid shift of OS may not be entirely healthy for the development of the Android ecosystem. So far little, if not next to nothing, is known about the next installment save for that it could make its debut on Google's rumored Nexus tablet this fall.
Right now Android 4.0 only accounts for 2 to 3 percent of all Android phones in use. Most of us fondling Gingerbread-based devices are still waiting (im)patiently for the upgrade, some of which have already received the frosty love and some of which are on indefinite hold. Google blames the slow rollout on the incredible number of different hardware configurations. Manufacturers say it's also a carrier issue as they seemingly each determine if a specific smartphone is worthy of upgrading.
Presently smartphones shipping with Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box are few in number, but the sources claim that will change in 2Q12. The supply will reportedly increase substantially by then with mid-range to high-end models coming from HTC, Samsung and Sony Mobile. This really isn't new to our ears, but they also said the entry-level market will be addressed by China-based handset makers with models based on Qualcomm's 7227a solution and MediaTek's MT6565 platforms.
That said, the Ice Cream Sandwich ratio will shortly begin to grow. That in itself brings up the question as to whether a Jelly Bean launch in 3Q12 may be somewhat too early. If it resides on one flagship device for a while, that's one thing. But if Jelly Bean upgrades appear shortly after the debut while Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades are still being dished out, wouldn’t that cause a headache for developers? As Mika Mobile pointed out in a blog earlier this month, Android is fragmented enough as it is, enough so that the studio decided to drop Android development altogether.