Android 4.0 (codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich) is still only available officially on a number of devices. It was seen by Google as the version of Android which would unify the smartphone (Android 2.3) and tablet (Android 3.0) strands of the operating system.
According to reports from Asia however, it seems as if Google has not been happy with the adoption of Android 4.0 and is planning to push ahead with the launch of Android 5.0 (codenamed Jelly Bean) this summer, ahead of the launch of Windows on ARM, expected in Q3 of 2012.
These reports come from DigiTimes, who quote Taiwan-based supply chain makers. According to the sources, Android 5.0 will be further optimised for tablet PCs but, crucially, will also integrate the Google Chrome system functions to promote the option of dual-boot tablets.
Google will make OEMs chose between adopting Android 5.0-only systems or the option to dual-boot Android 5.0 and Windows 8, giving the users the option to switch between the OSes without turning off the tablet.
With Windows 8 seeing Microsoft move more into the tablet market, the launch of Android 5.0 could also see Google moving in the opposite direction and getting into the netbook/notebook market.
It should be noted that DigiTimes has been known to get these type of stories wrong in the past, but with Windows 8 on ARM a real threat to Android’s (and for that matter iOS’s) share of the tablet market, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a revamped version of Android later this year.