Android is force that will not be stopped. Google’s Andy Rubin announced yesterday that there are 850,000 daily Android activations, excluding devices like the Kindle Fire that don’t use Google services. Now, even though only one handset is currently sold with Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean might launch later this year.
Speaking to Computerworld, Hiroshi Lockheimer, vice president of engineering for mobile at Google, suggested Android 5.0 will launch in the fall. He stated “In general, the Android release cadence is one major release a year with some maintenance releases that are substantial still.” Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, launched in November 2011 and it seems that Google is set to release the next version around the same time this year. Fragmentation much?
This is actually the second rumor in as many weeks concerning Android 5.0. Digitimes reported two weeks ago that Jelly Bean would launch in the second quarter of 2012 primarily to assist in Google’s tablet movement.
This move, if it does happen, shows the stark contrast between Google and Apple. Google is trying to outpace Apple, with team of mighty engineers churning out innovations and updates on a pre-set schedule. However, this schedule is seemingly not on the same pace as handset makers which often move at a much more strategic pace.
Apple controls both the hardware and the software and can better time and coordinate launches based on the market’s needs.
Ice Cream Sandwich is still in its very early stages of life. Only the Galaxy Nexus is sold with the operating system. Hell, most flagship handsets from late 2011 won’t even get Android 4.0 until late spring or early summer — just months before Android 5.0 is said to launch.
Google might argue that this is its target strategy. It’s giving consumers and handset makers choices, they could say. But it’s still wacky. Instead of blindly pumping out major revisions every year, how about delegating some engineering might to assist makers in transitioning between Android platforms? That’s pro-consumer.