While Hugo Barra took to the Google IO stage a few weeks agoto show off a new Samsung phone that will ship with a stock version of Android,one of the things that was notably absent at the company’s developer conferencewas a NEW version of Android. That’s not to say that people aren’t talkingabout it.
Notably, some noticed this past week that manufacturer LGwas listing the new Optimus L7 II Dual as shipping with Jelly Bean 4.3, despitethe fact that 4.3 hasn’t officially been announced. Looking at the phone’swebpage now, it looks like the suspicious text has now been removed. ConsideringLG’s prime relationship with Google right now (they manufacture the Nexus 4,after all), it’s not out of the realm of possibility that LG’s working with thenext rev already, but it could just have been a typo, too.
For those who like their clues to be more cryptic, othersites have noted that Jelly Bean 4.3 must be on the way because the clock in someof the app snapshots found in the Play store have changed time from 4:20 to4:30. I’ll leave aside the obvious 4:20 joke here and note that while theseobservant fans may have a point…sometimes a clock is just a clock.
The scuttlebutt is that Jelly Bean 4.3 won’t provide amassive overhaul to the platform, which may be why it didn’t get a massiveunveiling at Google’s dev gathering in mid-May. If that’s the case, it’ll beinteresting to see if they sneak it out the door some time this week, so thatthe disappointment of its small splash will be drowned out by the expectedannouncement of iOS7 this week.
With Apple’s chief design guru Jony Ive taking iOS in hand (followingthe departure of Scott Forstall), it’s possible that iOS7 could massively overhaul iOS’s largely-unchanged design for the first time in years. Whetherthat overhaul is merely aesthetic (such as getting rid of the skeumorphictouches throughout) or at a more functional level (such as introducing moreefficient ways to get at the settings, for example), we won’t know for sureuntil Tim Cook strides up onto the stage at WWDC.
Of course, it’s possible that the Jelly Bean 4.3 update isgoing to be a bit more robust than rumoured, and that Google is holding it backuntil just after the iOS7 announcements just to upstage our favourite fruitcompany. We’ll see in a few days, I guess.