Brian Bloom is a staff writer at ComputerWorld Canada. You can find him on Google+. He covers enterprise hardware and software, information architecture and security topics.
With a new version of Android, codenamed “Key Lime Pie,” in the works according to The Verge, bloggers are complaining that Google is moving so fast with its software development that smart phone and tablet vendors can’t keep up.
In a blog post comparing performance of the Asus Transformer Prime tablet to Apple’s new iPad, Stefan Contantinescu at INTOMOBILE.COM said Google was condemning hardware vendors like Asus to mediocrity. Or worse:
“The important thing here is software,” he wrote, “and let’s be honest with each other … Android tablets blow. It’s not NVIDIA’s fault, it’s not Samsung’s or ASUS’s fault, it’s all Google. Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of Android, doesn’t hold a candle to iOS. At least that’s this author’s opinion.
“The future can change, of course. We know Google is already hard at work on Jelly Bean and Key Lime Pie, but we don’t know any particular details about either of those future versions of Android. And hey, by the time they come out we’ll probably already see iOS 6, maybe even iOS 7.”
Ryan Whitwam at EXTREMETECH.COM proposed a solution: Let people pay something for Android updates, for example, a fee of $10.
“It’s no secret that the update system for Android is a mess of monumental proportions,” he wrote. “Not even Google’s efforts at I/O 2011 produced any concrete solutions. Many users waited the better part of a year for Gingerbread updates on their devices, and still others got no Gingerbread at all. With ICS being as important as it is, it’s time to talk about a radical step to make updates work — some say it’s time to pay for them.
“Technically, when you buy a phone now, it is still being sold as is. Users can reasonably expect bug fixes and security updates, but major system updates? That’s not something most OEMs ever planned on delivering, and they struggle to do so now. Pre-smartphone devices almost never got updates; if anything, new batches of a device might have tweaked software, but that’s about it. It also doesn’t help that Google is still moving at warp speed with Android updates, leaving devices behind quickly.
“Paying $10 for an update is simply a way to make sure OEMs pay attention to the users, and not just the carriers. You will have a direct relationship with the company that made your phone, and they will be beholden to you for that $10. A system of optional paid updates is just the best way to fix Android’s fragmentation problems.”
Blogger Haramizuki at THISTECHIEGIRL.COM is clearly amused by Google’s alphabetical dessert naming pattern and asked her readers to speculate on what the next Android release might be called after Key Lime Pie:
“Last year,” she wrote, “it [was] said that the codename for Android’s next OS after the recent Ice Cream Sandwich will be ‘Jelly Bean.’
“The Verge has received a tip that the next OS after ‘Jelly Bean’ would be dubbed …‘Key Lime Pie’. Android has this habit of naming their OS [after] sugary desserts, and if you haven’t noticed it yet, it’s done alphabetically: i.e., Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), Jelly Bean, and Key Lime Pie (KLP).
“Google has not yet given anyone a clue what Jelly Bean and Key Lime Pie could do. They may reveal Jelly Bean sometime in 2013, and Key Lime Pie in Q4 of 2013 or Q1 of 2014.”
Since the letter “M” was next in the alphabet, she asked her readers to come up with ideas:
“Now, what dessert could start with the letter M?”
Writing on the French site O1NET.COM, Alexandre Salque had to explain to his continental readers exactly what Key Lime Pie was. But he seemed less concerned with pastries than with when all these sweet new Android operating systems would actually become, you know, operational. (I’ve translated his comments below from the original French).
“With Android 4.0, AKA Ice Cream Sandwich, not even widely deployed on our smartphones and tablets yet, there’s already talk of successors,” he wrote.
“Android 5.0, codenamed Jelly Bean, has been confirmed by [Benson Lin], one of Asus’ vice-presidents. Asus will be one of the first to offer a tablet running the operating system …
“But while the name might be confirmed, there’s no guarantee that Jelly Bean will indeed be released this fall….[and] without waiting for it to be released, people are already talking about its successor on The Verge, an American website: Android 6.0 will be named Key Lime Pie (KLP), after a lime meringue pie from the Florida Keys. This version isn’t expected before 2013.
“It’s going to be a while,” he concluded.