Rumor Mill: Google unveiling Android 4.3 next week
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) will introduce the next iteration of its Android mobile operating system as well as an updated version of its Nexus 7 tablet at a media event slated for July 24, multiple media reports indicate.
According to invitations sent to the press Wednesday, Google Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai, who oversees Android as well as the company's Chrome browser efforts, will headline the breakfast event, taking place in San Francisco. Google offered no additional details but leaked inventory images obtained by Android Central indicate the company is poised to unveil both a 16 GB Nexus 7 model (priced at $229) and a 32 GB version ($269), both running Android 4.3. Other possibilities for the event include the Moto X custom smartphone or a new Chromebook device.
Android 4.3 has been identified in previous leaked screenshots but has not yet officially been confirmed by Google. Rumored features include Bluetooth LE support, Wi-Fi improvements and notifications bar enhancements.
Insiders recently told The Wall Street Journal that Google is currently wrapping up work on Android 5.0, expected for release this fall. With the introduction of Android 5.0 (reportedly nicknamed "Key Lime Pie"), Google is expected to push the software platform into laptops, wearables and appliances, giving manufacturing partners greater flexibility to customize the OS for use in devices beyond smartphones and tablets. Sources add that Google is also tweaking the OS to run more efficiently across low-cost Android smartphones targeting the emerging markets segment.
Google released the current Android 4.2, a.k.a. "Jelly Bean," in November 2012, introducing a host of new features as well as a smoother, more responsive user experience. The company was widely expected to unveil its next major Android update during its annual I/O developer conference in May, but no announcement materialized.
Android powered 74.4 percent of all smartphones sold worldwide during the first quarter of 2013, up from 56.9 percent a year earlier, research firm Gartner reports. Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS ranks a distant second at 18.2 percent, down from 22.5 percent in the year-ago period.
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