Unconfirmed reports say that Android 5 “Jelly Bean” could be released this fall, featuring such improvements as Chrome browser integration, better enterprise security, better power management, and maybe dual-booting support for Microsoft’s Windows 8. Google did not respond to requests for comment about its future OS plans.
But Android developers at this week’s AnDevCon developer conference were too busy dealing with current releases like Android 4 “Ice Cream Sandwich” to stall their development efforts for yet another OS upgrade. “You have to deal with what’s available now,” said Chris Morris, a developer for the Weather Channel.
“Jelly Bean” does sound interesting, said Michael Luongo, a developer specializing in media-sharing application at TechSmith. He’s been building “Ice Cream Sandwich” applications for about six months. “Everybody I think wants to monetize [their application] now,” so news of a possible new Android version isn’t derailing current efforts.
Developers David Mathisen, of Allegiance Software, and Teresa Jiminez Arreola, of France Telecom R&D, had similar sentiments. Neither wants to hold off and wait for Android’s next upgrade. “I want to make sure that everybody can use our app that has an Android phone,” Mathisen said.
But Jiminez Arreola did acknowledge Android fragmentation as a problem: “Sometimes, you need to implement different tools to actually make the application work in different versions,” she said. For example, there are four versions of Android used in current devices: 2.2 “Froyo,” 2.3 “Gingerbread,” 3.0 “Honeycomb,” and 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich.” The upgrade of recent and current devices to the universal “Ice Cream Sandwich” has been slow.
Next month’s Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco could provide a forum for Google to officially unveil “Jelly Bean.” In the meantime, developers at AnDevCon learned about happenings in the Android development tools space, including the anticipated arrival of a GL debugger, which will provide support for the OpenGL 2D/3D graphics API, such as to debug rendering artifacts and rendering issues, said Romain Guy, a software engineer at Google.