The evolution of the world’s most popular mobile platform has been swift – Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, and now Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. The original beta was released in November 2007, so we’re closing in on six years of tasty desserts. It’s tough to cover Android without getting hungry.
Looking at the platform itself, the change has been incredible. A raft of features baked in with every new release, the performance has gone from clunky to buttery smooth, and the app market has really matured. Android offers the most diverse device line-up of any of the mobile platforms. The question is – how does Google keep up the pace? Let’s take a look at the speculation and rumors.
Key Lime Pie will be unveiled at Google I/O
Expectations are that Android 5.0, Key Lime Pie, will be unveiled at the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco on May 15-17. That’s largely because Jelly Bean was unveiled at last year’s I/O event, but it was also backed up by a Qualcomm roadmap leak that mentioned two new Snapdragon devices sporting Android 5.0, to hit the market in the third quarter of 2013. The fact that Qualcomm demanded that the published leaked documents be taken down seems to add legitimacy.
Google Babel brings unified messaging
Early rumors call it Google Babble, but whatever the name is, the aim is to tie together instant messaging, VoIP, and video calls. This would be a big addition to the Android platform and a real competitor for BBM and iMessage. In addition to one-on-one chat, it is expected to support group chats and file sharing, drawing on Google+ Messenger, Hangouts, Google Talk, and Google Voice. This could be the headline feature of Android 5.0.
Interestingly, another big rumor that popped up a couple of weeks ago could be related to this news, namely that Google is looking to acquire WhatsApp. This rumor has been denied by WhatsApp, but with over 200 million monthly users you can see why Google might want the cross-platform messaging service. It allows users to send messages as text, images, video, or audio using their mobile network or Wi-Fi.
This is a real no-brainer. Google is always looking to improve the performance of the platform and we can reasonably expect Key Lime Pie to be smoother, faster, and possibly less power-hungry. According to Android Central, this could involve the 3.8 Linux kernel which would deliver “support for open source Nvidia Tegra and Samsung Exynos DRM drivers, support for the Flash-Friendly File-System, and a lower memory footprint.”
Possible launch devices
Could the Android 5.0 release come alongside the Nexus 5? It’s possible, but it seems unlikely this soon after the Nexus 4 (it was released in November 2012 and the Nexus phones have been roughly a year apart in the past).
How about Key Lime Pie on the much anticipated Motorola X Phone? That’s been a pretty persistent rumor, but there’s simply no corroborating evidence.
What about the next generation Nexus 7? There have been strong rumors it will be shown off at Google I/O. If Android 5.0 is unveiled at the same time, then you’d expect it to be on the new Nexus 7.
New versions of Android always roll out to Google’s devices first, so the Nexus 4 is a pretty safe bet as the first device to get Key Lime Pie.
Wish lists and speculation
That’s it for Key Lime Pie rumors. The rest of the Android 5.0 related news right now seems to be a combination of tech writer’s wish lists and wild speculation. Sometimes the features that manufacturers have been adding or the features in popular third-party apps can get sucked into the platform, but there’s no solid reason to believe any of this speculation.
Here are a few of our favorite possibilities anyway:
- Performance profiles: Quickly set your device to the optimal state for reading, gaming, or other activities. Maybe a serious power-saving mode for when that juice is running low and you’re expecting a call.
- Improved Google Now: A few new commands might be good, maybe some integration with Google Keep for note management, and a general improvement to the voice recognition.
- Better lock screen widgets: More choices for updates on your lock screen wouldn’t go amiss.
- Multiple device sync: You start watching a movie on your tablet and then pick it up where you left off on your smartphone. Live content synchronization would be nice.
- Child or guest mode: Children are the future and guests are nosy. How about a way to block access to text messages, email, and other sections of your device, so you can hand it to your child or a guest without fear they’ll discover or do something they shouldn’t?
If you have a premonition about Android 5.0 or a great Key Lime Pie rumor to share then get posting in the comments. We’ll update this piece with new rumors as and when we see them.