Apple introduced iOS 6 last week, packed with a number of new features. Microsoft also unveiled the upcoming iteration of its mobile operating system, the Windows Phone 8, with a set of key features Wednesday. That said, it's pretty obvious that Google too would follow suit and make the next version of Android, rumored as Jelly Bean, a major release with plenty of new features.
However, if the latest report proves to be true, Android Jelly Bean probably won't be a major overhaul. It won't be Android 5.0, but rather Android 4.1.
One of the members at the XDA-Developer forum named Lil Jones noticed that the section dedicated to the latest Samsung Galaxy Nexus in the Google Play Store mentioned the imminent software upgrade for the handset would be Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ - The latest smartphone from Google, soon the first phone with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, read the section on Google Play Store.
Another technology news website Droid Life also spotted the same product description on Google Play Store after adding a Galaxy Nexus to a Google Play shopping cart. However, it seems that Google let that information leak by mistake, with the search giant taking the product listing down after a few moments. Although the Galaxy Nexus is still listed, the listing now doesn't mention Android 4.1.
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But one aspect of the listing still keeps the mystery alive. An image of the Galaxy Nexus shows a couple of visual tweaks to the UI - a new background image in pink and green, and a slightly changed search box.
While Google didn't make any comment on the Google Play mistake, or on the Jelly Bean nickname, speculations are rife that the company could introduce the next Android version at Google I/O next week. The company's massive developer conference is scheduled to take place in San Francisco from June 27 to 29.
As Redmond Pie noted, Google's policy has always been to get new updates out to Nexus devices first, while carriers and OEMs add their software and skins to the update prior to pushing it out to their own devices.
In March, a report surfaced in DigiTimes saying that Google might introduce the next major release of Android, Jelly Bean, during the third quarter of this year. However, the report mentioned the new version of Android as 5.0.
Although the leaked Google Play information in question suggests that Jelly Bean might not be a revamped version of the OS, rumors so far have been swirling around a number of new features, expected to be included in the next Android edition.
Let's take a look at the highly anticipated ones:
Enhanced Integrated Browser: A much improved integrated browser or a mobile version of Google's own Chrome with constant onscreen tabs and a complete bookmarks bar is expected to be included in the next Android version.
An In-Built File Manager App: The next version of Android is expected to come with a custom-built file manager that will help organize the files and ease the task of searching the favorite ones scattered on an SD card.
Toggle Options: If Google adds toggle switches in the new version of the Android, it would be very helpful in saving the device's battery life as it will allow users to switch on or turn off.
Screen Lock Widgets: Google is expected to introduce several lock screen widgets to the Jelly Bean that will help view notifications when the screen is locked. However, this may not be possible if a passcode or pattern lock is enabled for security reasons. But other small widgets like the music player update, weather or custom clocks could be added. These are currently available in the HTC Sense 3.0 and 3.5.
Upgrade Procedure: The procedure of updating or upgrading Android devices generally takes a lot of time. Although Ice Cream Sandwich promises to bring in the updates faster, only a few devices have got the update so far.
Battery Efficiency: Most of the times, users look for hidden custom options to save battery life on their devices. Particular third-party apps are also looked at for the same reason. Hence, a battery management tool would add much value to the next version of the Android.
Brighter Theme: Though versions like Gingerbread, Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich look quite good, that may not be the case with everyone. Many people don't like an all-black theme for their devices. It is time for Google to bring brighter and colorful theme options along with its new OS.