Sometimes it is good to be wrong. With most of the focus spent on Android Wear and its upcoming devices, we definitely did not expect that Google will be taking time to unveil the next Android release. But Android lead Sundar Pichai was ready to break tradition and has confirmed that he will give a preview tomorrow at I/O 2014.
In the past, Google has scheduled the release of a new Android version outside of its annual I/O conference. Usually this happens during fall and with the announcement of an accompanying new Nexus device bearing the new version. Google is, however, shaking things up a little and, according to Pichai, this is because of the complaints from device makers. Although some OEMs may be privy to what Google is cooking up, most of them will not get their hands on “Android Next” until it is announced. This leaves them with a very tight schedule to integrate and test the software for new devices or firmware updates. In practice, this means potentially missing out on the mad rush of holiday shopping.
In contrast, the lone manufacturer chosen by Google to make the next Nexus devices will have the advantage of getting to play with the new Android OS before everyone else. With this change of schedule, Google is leveling the playing field. That said, the tech giant has remained coy about which manufacturer has been chosen to bear the Nexus name this time around, or what form factor the device will take in the first place. LG claims that it has not been approached by Google for any Nexus smartphone, but a recent leak hinted at a 9-inch tablet made by HTC codenamed Volantis. Still, there might not even be any Nexus device at all if the rumors about the Android Silver program do come to pass.
Pichai has not mentioned any timetable for the actual release of the next Android version, so we can only presume that it will still come around fall. But now that the cat is out of the bag, the floor is open for speculation, guesses and rumors about its name, which will start with an “L” this time around. Anyone want a Lollipop?