Google to Unveil Android “L” at I/O 2014 in Advance of Fall Release

Sundar Pichai to unveil Android "L" Release at Google I/O

A little over one year ago, Senior VP Sundar Pichai was put in charge of Android in addition to his previous post heading both Chrome and Google Apps. For those who don’t remember, Android was previously managed by its creator, Andy Rubin. But during the course of Pichai’s reign, we’ve seen efforts to bring a more managed and centralized ecosystem, and to bring closer integration with the rest of Google’s products–similar to what we’ve already seen with Pichai’s other projects.

Now, Pichai wishes to bring a bit more transparency to the Android release process. In an interview with Bloomberg’s Businessweek, Pichai describes his efforts with Android thus far and what he has in store for the future. Part of this involves giving device makers and developers more information regarding upcoming Android releases, rather than waiting until the traditional Fall release that has been in place ever since the Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich.  But as seen on page five of the profile, this will change with an early unveiling at this week’s Google I/O 2014 conference:

This year’s conference is likely to reveal much about how the character of Android will shift under Pichai. The biggest change may seem like a technicality, but for the companies that make Android phones, it’s a big one. In the past, Google often waited until the fall to announce the next annual version of the operating system, each named for a different sweet beginning with the next letter of the alphabet (in the last three years, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jellybean, and KitKat). Device makers complained this was too late to prepare for the holidays and put them at a disadvantage to the one company selected each year to develop the Nexus phone in conjunction with Google.

This year, Pichai will preview the next release (Lollipop? Lemonhead?) for the first time at I/O rather than waiting until the fall. It’s a significant shift toward greater transparency. “I want the world to understand what we are doing sooner,” he says.

So there we have it, folks. Android “L” (lollipop / licorice / lemonhead / lemonade?) will be officially unveiled at Google I/O–most likely during tomorrow morning’s opening keynote–but it won’t be released until the fall.  We still don’t know much else about what will happen alongside Android L–namely whether we will see another Nexus smartphone or tablet.

By virtue of Android being an open source project, we’ve already learned a lot about what is to come, but more information about Android’s future plans is always better. What do you think of this effort towards greater transparency? Are you happy to learn more about L, or are you disappointed that it won’t be ready in time for the conference?

[Source: Bloomberg | Many thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

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