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It seems like only yesterday that Google introduced its latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, to the world. At the time, I suggested that it might be "the most important Android release ever."
And for a good reason: Ice Cream Sandwich, which marked the fourth version of Android, included some major changes to the Android interface and sought to make Android a tasty option for both smart phones and tablets.
Apparently, however, Ice Cream Sandwich may not have been tasty enough and faced with adoption lower than expected, Digitimes is reporting that Google may try to lure manufacturers with a new treat in the second quarter of this year. That treat: Android 5, dubbed Jelly Bean.
According to Digitimes, the impetus for a Q2 2012 release of the next version of Android is not just the lackluster showing of Android 4, it's Windows 8:
Android 5.0 will be further optimized for tablet PCs, while Google will also integrate its Chrome system functions to push dual-operating system designs. Brand vendors can either chose to adopt only Android 5.0 or add Android 5.0 to Windows 8 devices with the ability to switch between the two OSes without the need to shut down the computer.
If Digitime's sources are right, is this a sign that Google believes Windows 8 has a shot in the tablet space? Perhaps, but at a very minimum, it's a recognition that Google's approach with Chrome OS and Chromebooks didn't work. So trying to make sure that the next version of Android can coexist with Windows 8 doesn't seem like the worst idea in the world, even if it's unclear right now why a consumer would want a dual-boot tablet with both Windows 8 and Android.
This aside, Google's biggest initial challange may not be the consumer. According to Digitimes, the experience with Ice Cream Sandwich hasn't given Google's manufacturing partners much confidence and the search giant may have its work cut out for it in convincing them to jump on the Jelly Bean bandwagon.