Stuff just got real: Android JellyBean statue spotted

Stuff just got real: Android JellyBean statue spotted

Summary: Rumors of a new Android version have been swirling for months, but now it's official: JellyBean is coming soon to a developer near you.

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The Googleplex has a new Android statue today, this one for the "J" (JellyBean) version. It joins statues for Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, FroYo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, and IceCreamSandwich. The A and B statues were reportedly eaten by Apple lawyers.

The arrival of a new statue can only mean one thing: Android JellyBean will be released to developers soon. Given that Google I/O starts tomorrow, the Software Developer Kit (SDK) will most likely be available to download then. It may also be preloaded (or available with an OTA update) on the rumored Google Nexus 7 tablet.

The SDK contains all the libraries and documentation that developers need to target a particular version of Android. Using the latest SDK and a compatibility library, a programmer can target all versions of Android past and future.

Just as on iOS platforms, Android users do not have to take the most recent version of the operating system when it comes out for their devices. Many don't have a choice or have to wait for their carrier or manufacturer to make it available. So developers have to look at the adoption percentages of each version and decide how far back they want to be compatible. Usually two or three versions is enough to capture the lion's share of the market.

Devices that carry the "Nexus" name, especially those purchased directly from Google, are different because Google controls both the hardware and software. Updates come direct from Google, so Nexus users are expected to see JellyBean before anyone else.

Don't despair if you don't have a Nexus phone or tablet and you use one of the carriers that are less than timely with updates, though. First of all, if you have a recent version, say 2.3.3 (Gingerbread) or above, your device will continue to work just fine and be supported by new applications for at least the next couple of years. Second, you always have the option of installing a custom ROM. Cyanogenmod is the best known custom ROM, and it enjoys "wink-and-nod" unofficial approval by Google. You do have to take the scary step of rooting your device, but nowadays Cyanogen and the team over at XDA have it down to a science.

I'm the kind of person that always wants the latest gadgets and software whether I need it or not. If you are looking to buy a new phone or tablet, and buying a Nexus device direct from Google is not an option, at least get one that runs Android 4.0 (IceCreamSandwich) out of the box. It's very likely that anything running ICS now will be compatible with JellyBean, and will get an upgrade to the new version one way or another.

Image credit: Misha M.-Kupriyanov and Aygul Zagidullina.

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Topics: Smartphones, Android, Google, Hardware, Mobile OS, Mobility, Security

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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3 comments
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  • next nexus google phones?

    So when do you think the next nexus phones will
    1) be announced?
    2)which maker or makers
    3)when will they be available?

    I've heard or read online that there is a plan to have multiple carriers make the nexus phones and then google sell them directly. This would be great as people are tired of carriers blocking updates.

    any chance there might be a nexus droid razr gsm phone??
    cactus2012
  • So exactly how is jb any more or less real now that theres a statue?

    Unfriggin believable. You do realize that even among ZDNet reader 99.9% of Android phone owners don't go get custom roms from hacker websites to upgrade their phones. The majority are probably still on froyo pending hw refresh cycle. Google big task tomorrow isn't getting devs stoked about new jb features, it's convincing them that more than 5% of their users will be on it by 2014.
    Johnny Vegas
    • how do you know

      How do you know 99% of zdnet readers do not have a custom rom? Has there been a secret spyware app gone out that reports back? lol...
      Anyway, Im reporting from a desire z with ICS :-) runs awesome and just updated it again today -minicry v1.3.1
      aforce