Over the last couple of weeks, we have been hearing vague rumours that Google is pushing the release of Android 5.0 for later this year and will unveil a new version of Jelly Bean at Google I/O next month. However, there has been no concrete evidence to lend credence to these stories.
Until now, that is. We are seeing the first signs of a postponement of Android 5.0 development at the Android HQ in Mountain View. Android Police has discovered a new build of Android named 4.3 JWR23B on their server logs. The J in the build name indicates it’s still Jelly Bean as Google has maintained that naming protocol through all Android versions.
Suspecting a fake build number, the website did an IP trace and it originated in Google. “In fact, 2 different IP ranges, both corresponding to Google employees. Employees that have a lot to do with Android. It's the same IP range that had previously clued us in to some of the unreleased versions of Android before they were announced,” the report says.
Not bringing you Key Lime Pie anytime soon
The two build numbers showing up on the website’s server logs were used on a Nexus 4 and a Nexus 7, which indicates that either the update is imminent or being tested for backwards compatibility, at least in the case of the Nexus 7, which is expected to be relegated by a next-generation model at the annual Google I/O event. Since JWR23B build has begun popping up in various places so close to Google I/O, it might very well be the version to be unveiled at the event.
Further digging in the official Chromium bug tracker shows a number of devices that use the JWR23B build, with at least one comment found to have been left behind by a lead Chromium developer.
The point this update for Jelly Bean suggests is that development on Key Lime Pie has not yet reached a final stage. It could also be a step towards giving OEMs enough time to get their smartphones and tablets up to Jelly Bean, before plunging forward into Android 5.0. The confusion in terms of Android OS versions is a big issue and even though most devices these days are running Android 4.0 or above, only a fraction of these run the latest 4.2.2 version. Putting Android 5.0 on hold for the time being will definitely improve the share of Jelly Bean and set the stage for the next version.