And now, let us commence months of speculation on Android 5.0! Just a week after suppliers claimed that Android 5.0 “Jelly Bean” (which, by the way, has not been confirmed as a code name) would be popping up this summer, Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin claims that Google will be including a dockable desktop mode in the next version of Android. That’s not too far from a reality right now – most Android phones can output their video via HDMI in some form, and Motorola’s high-end phones can connect to LapDocks to use the packaged WebTop OS. But instead of a completely different OS, Android would simply adjust its user interface for desktop mode.
The fact that Google is in the closing stages of its Motorola acquisition lends a little credence to this rumor – and let’s be clear, it is just a rumor. (Murtzin is the same guy who brought us this stupendously fake Samsung phone.) As we’ve seen Asus’s Transformers in a few demonstrations, using Android as a desktop operating system is possible right now, albeit with some extra equipment. Combine a Honeycomb/ICS tablet interface with a WiDi/DLNA wireless display, and you’ve got a pretty awesome desktop in your pocket.
If, and we stress if, Google was to announce major changes to Android’s core functionality any time soon, it would be at the yearly Google I/O conference in June. The prospect of them actually releasing new software at that point seems remote, since they’re shifting to a once-yearly release schedule now that Android’s smartphone and tablet code bases have been integrated. We’d certainly like to see this feature added to Android (and after ICS, there needs to be a headline feature to differentiate it) but we don’t expect to see it until late fall, at the very least.