Google is working with several smartphone manufacturers to provide early access to its latest operating system — Android 5.0 Jelly Bean. The company is also developing a range of new smartphones and tablets that could be launched before the end of this year.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Google plans to release the next Android OS version sometime in December in an attempt to prevent Apple from controlling the smartphone and tablet markets.
The company has previously worked with only one manufacturer at a time (most recently Samsung) to produce a flagship phone like the Galaxy Nexus, but Google will soon be working with five or more manufacturers to produce a range of Nexus devices for this next roll out. This addresses some of the rising concerns around Android fragmentation, as well as OEM worry that Google would favor Motorola Mobility for device manufacturing once the merger is complete.
“Google will work with up to five manufacturers at a time to build a portfolio of devices, including smart phones and tablets Nexus,” a source told the WSJ. “The devices may make the next version of Android from Google, called Jelly Bean, and hopes to have the complete portfolio of devices ready for sale at Thanksgiving.”
Google’s strategy is to provide a more comprehensive ecosystem for Android, reducing the effect of carriers and Apple dominance over the mobile market. The devices would be sold online unlocked, meaning they’ll be more expensive than we’re used to but they’ll come without the 2-year contract lock-in from carriers (you’ll have to get a separate plan from your carrier of choice). This also means Google will be able to push more of its apps like Google Wallet, which have been blocked by carriers like Verizon in the past.
Google is expected to make an official announcement about Jelly Bean operating system at its developer conference in June this year. Although details about the features of the OS are not known at this time, we’re looking for a few special features that will help JB stand out.
Here’s the top 5 features we’d like to see in Android 5.0 Jelly Bean:
Chrome OS Integration
Chrome OS for mobile devices will surely boost the Android marketplace as user can synchronize content between desktop computers, tablets and smartphones, and make the most of the line to extend Chrome browser games and productivity applications.
One of the most interesting aspects of Windows 8 is its flexibility. DigiTimes reported that (still a rumor) Android 5.0 Jelly Bean will come in two flavors – Google OS and Microsoft Windows OS. Brand vendors can either choose to adopt only Android 5.0 or add Android 5.0 to Windows 8 devices with the ability to switch between the two OS’s without rebooting.
Optimized for tablets
Apple dominance in tablet markets is mainly due to its smooth iOS integration, powered with rich apps (there are thousands of them) designed with the tablet’s hardware specifications in mind. On the other hand, we can say Android’s dominance has been in the smartphone market, but when it comes to tablets, Google is way behind.
Jelly Bean could change that perception. We can expect the next OS from Google will be further optimized for tablets, and if Google’s serious about a more unified OS roll out, the fragmentation issue could be resolved for tablets before it gets too messy.
Siri-like Voice Assistant
Although Google Play has several apps that offer voice assistance, none quite match the level of integration and consumer influence of Siri.
We are hoping Google’s hunt for a mouthy interface addition of voice assistant will end with Jelly Bean.
More Gestures to the OS Interface
Many Android users are anticipating adding more gestures to the OS interface. Users are hoping for some kind of file manager application to help manage files more like a desktop with the introduction of Jelly Bean. Other guesses look to improvements on the battery and power management front, speedy booting time, more enhanced security and timely upgrades.