There’s lots of news on Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) coming out of Google I/O 2012. What’s the impact for Android developers such as myself? Well, relatively little. The apps I am developing for clients need to run on today’s devices and this means Android 2.2 or 2.3 for smartphones and 3.1 or 3.2 for tablets. I expect it will be be at least 18 months before we see network operators shipping a significant number of Android 4.1 phones and tablets.
However, there are three areas of interest for current developers as opposed to next year’s developers…
- A few 4.1 features such as changes to accessibility and up navigation have been exposed in the support package (rev 9) that can be used in today’s apps.
- There’s a possibility that the Nexus 7 might become popular in which case Android 4.1 might become more relevant in a shorter timeframe. I suspect popularity will depend on how visible it becomes to consumers. Amazon was able to present the Fire to a very large number of consumers via its web site. I am not sure that many people will come across the Nexus 7 on Google Play. Success will depend on how well the Nexus 7 is promoted and how widely it is distributed. Remember the Fire was only distributed in the US and Google has the opportunity to trump this with a more international focus.