It seems that Google is already making plans for the release of Android 5.0. The company wants to launch the updated mobile OS this Fall despite the fact that many handsets still don’t even have Android 4.0 yet.
In a recent conversation with Computerworld, Hiroshi Lockheimer, vice president of engineering for mobile at Google suggested that the company was looking to push out Android 5.0 this Fall. He said, “In general, the Android release cadence is one major release a year with some maintenance releases that are substantial still.”
Android 4.0 officially launched in November 2011 so if Google is looking to push out one major release each year then Fall is the timeline that makes sense and November 2012 is the most likely candidate for Android 5.0 to drop. Lockheimer did add a caveat to the timing of OS releases saying,
“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.”
This isn’t the first hint we’ve gotten about the release window for Android 5.0 aka Jelly Bean. About two weeks ago Digitimes reported that the OS would likely be released in the second quarter of 2012 to give some assistance to Google’s tablet push.
If this does happen and 5.0 is released in the Fall it seems just a little bit crazy. Android 4.0 is still brand spanking new and so many handsets currently don’t even have the OS yet. Most of the big, flagship handests released in 2011 aren’t even promised to get 4.0 until late summer or even early fall, which is when 5.0 would launch. It seems crazy to push out a whole new OS when most of the very large portion of Android handsets on the market currently don’t have the newest version.
It would seem that Google could expend some of their engineering energy in a better way, perhaps by working with manufacturers to get Android 4.0 on more handsets or at least getting timelines in place for that to happen. It is of course worth noting that Apple takes a similar strategy of a major release every 12-18 months, but the difference is that Apple also controls the hardware so they can make sure their handsets get the newest release all in one fell swoop.
What do you think of Google’s one major release per year strategy? Do you even have Android 4.0 on your device yet? Let us know in the comments.