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Wait, So Where’s Android 4.3?

Google IO 2013 - Jelly Bean - 001

Well that was weird.

Google just wrapped up its annual Google I/O developer conference where it discusses all of its new projects. We saw a ton of stuff, from Hangouts to All Access Google Music to enhancements in Chrome and redesigned Maps. There were even major updates to Google+ and search. Oddly, however, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean wasn’t discussed. Not at all.

Google talked about Android, certainly, but more about what developers can do with new APIs to make applications more enjoyable and more efficient. It also introduced Google Play Games, a new achievement filled and social gaming platform for Android smartphone and tablet users. But we’re still shocked: there wasn’t any talk of Android 4.3.

At first we thought maybe we would see Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, since it typically takes the stage at Google I/O once a year to launch the latest version of the OS. But eventually it seemed like we were going to be treated to a lesser upgrade to Jelly Bean, which certainly helps with the fragmentation of the Android platform. Instead, however, Google was silent on the Jelly Bean front.

We’ve already seen data traffic suggesting that devices with Android 4.3 installed do exist and are floating around in the wild. Why did Google decide to keep mum on the topic? Our best guess is that it’s not ready, but now we’re curious if it was originally planned for I/O and then scrapped at the last minute. We didn’t even hear much about hardware upgrades—the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 were not refreshed. Google only introduced a developer edition of the Galaxy S4 that runs a pure version of Jelly Bean.

Obviously we don’t think this is a big deal, Google made incredible announcements today—followed by a memorable Q&A by the company’s CEO—and it’s probably better for us all to slowly get onto a single version of Android. Still, it’s weird that for the first time I can remember we weren’t treated to any sort of update. We imagine we’ll hear more about it in the coming weeks, but perhaps it will be silently released as Google I/O progresses later this week (though we doubt it).

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...