Reports are indicating that Google could preparing to unveil Android 5.0 Jelly Bean in the third quarter of the year. The timing would coincide approximately with Google I/O, the company's annual developer conference, which is held at the end of June.
Unfortunately, Jelly Bean's predecessor, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), is currently only available on 1 percent to 2 percent of Android devices. While that number is expected to spike as more manufacturers release ICS devices in the second quarter of the year, the closeness in launch times could prove problematic.
Although Google is activating nearly 1 million Android devices per day, Android is often cited for device fragmentation. And there's credence to that criticism. There are devices being manufactured at this instant with versions of Android that are nearly 2 years old.
The reason this happens is because manufacturers often saddle devices with tweaks to the Android OS, such as custom overlays, apps, and widgets, that change the Android experience. When this route is taken, it typically takes the original manufacturer months to update its customizations to the latest version of Android--if the device gets updated at all.
Google Nexus devices are an exception to this practice. Devices like the Galaxy Nexus come with an unaltered installation of Android, giving users the default experience of the OS.