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What's missing from Google Android 4.1 Jelly Bean?

Last week, Google announced Android Jelly Bean - the successor to Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 (ICS). This turned out to beversion 4.1 of the OS, rather than 5.0, which we were expecting.

The platform was launched in the opening keynote at the Google I/O 2012 developers' conference. ITProPortal live blogged the happenings from the event in San Francisco and, prior to that, rounded up all the rumours and speculation surrounding the latest mobile device OS from the Internet search giant.

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean brings enhancements such as improved responsiveness, automatic widget formatting, off-line voice recognition, better text input, more Android Beam features, notifications and searching capabilities with an automated personal assistant.

But what about those rumours that haven't appeared in this version? To complement our article on the top features of Google Android 4.1 and to draw a complete picture of the new platform, here's what Jelly Bean will not be bringing in.

Version number

From the very start of all the hearsay, 'version 5.0' was pretty much accepted as being the release number for the new platform. But only days before the Google I/O event, it became apparent that this numbering convention wasn't to be. Late last week, a leaked image of the Galaxy Nexus appeared online, captured from the Google Play store, which contained the information that the new model of the phone will be the first to use Android 4.1 Jelly Bean - this version, of course, was confirmed at the Google I/O 2012 event.

Even though Google had recently started numbering new versions with a new whole number, i.e. Honeycomb 3.0 in 2010 and Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 in 2011, this decimalised numbering format isn't a new one for the company. Prior to ICS there was 2.3 Gingerbread, then 2.2 Froyo, with 2.0 Éclair, 1.6 Donut and 1.5 Cupcake before that. Google split the development paths for Android two years ago, with one version of the OS geared up for tablets and the other for mobile phones - hence Honeycomb 3.0, solely for tablets, and 2.3 Gingerbread, for mobile phones. This all changed with Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 being used in both device types, and this is set to carry on in the same manner, with just one operating system for both devices.

Multiple Nexus hardware manufacturers

Last month, it was reported that Google was adjusting its Android strategy for distributing and selling the platform. It plans to sell more devices directly to customers, as opposed to them buying Nexus products from retailers and mobile phone networks. At the same time, it was reported that Google will work with as many as five hardware manufacturers to produce different Nexus devices. In the past, Google has only worked with one manufacturing company at any one time in order to make products carrying the Nexus name. Samsung is the latest, making both the Galaxy Nexus in 2011 and the Nexus S in 2010. HTC was the hardware partner before that, making the Nexus One.

The confirmation of multiple hardware manufacturers for new Nexus devices was expected at the Google I/O event, and the hope was that they were all going to be unveiled there. However, Asus was the only confirmed new partner, manufacturing the Nexus 7 tablet – the first tablet to carry the brand name. It is unclear if Asus will be the partner for the next Nexus handset or if there will be a range of them from different companies, but this last tack would offer a wider portfolio of products at different prices.

Rob Kerr is a journalist with more than 14 years experience of news, reviews and feature writing on titles such as Wired, PC Magazine, The Register, The Inquirer, Pocket-Lint, Mobile Industry Review, Know Your Mobile and The Gadget Show. The mobile phone world is his real passion and forte, having owned a handset as far back as 1994 where he has seen them grow from just a business tool to a necessity in everyone’s everyday life.