The idea that Google's going to release a new version of Android called Key Lime Pie at its I/O developer conference in San Francisco in a couple of weeks has become one of those rumors that's so widespread it becomes the conventional wisdom. It makes sense, it's being hinted at left and right -- come on, clearly these folks are going to hit us with some more dessert this year, right?
Not if you listen to what rumour site Gadgetronica reported early this week -- apparently, Google wants to give OEMs more time to update devices to the latest version of Jelly Bean before rolling out the next wave.
The rumor, based on Gadgetronica's "trusty internal sources," spread quickly, but little corroboration was forthcoming. GottaBeMobile's Josh Smith actually published a debunking of the rumor, arguing that the given reasons for the delay don't make any sense.
I'm inclined toward the second viewpoint, myself -- the idea that Google's suddenly concerned enough about Android fragmentation to hold off on a big public release at its big public event isn't entirely implausible, but it would represent a fairly dramatic about-face. I'll be looking for Key Lime Pie at Google I/O 2013.
But what about the hardware? While everyone's more or less certain that the big software announcement at the show will be Key Lime Pie, there's almost no consensus on what Google has up its sleeve in terms of hardware. (And no, the term is not a hint at some kind of smart watch.)
The latest rumor, according to Sidhtech, is that an upgraded Nexus 4 -- featuring 32GB of storage and the LTE connectivity that was conspicuous in its absence at launch -- will be the best we can hope for from a new handset. The site says that it's too soon to expect LG to bring a completely new Nexus 5 to market just a few months after the Nexus 4's launch.
While it's tempting to interpret Google's recent swing back toward optimism where its upcoming Motorola products are concerned as evidence that the long-rumored Moto X Phone will be rolled out at I/O, the lack of any remotely conclusive information out there this close to I/O makes me consider the possibility that Google doesn't actually have a major smartphone release coming at the show. Although I must emphasize that this is merely conjecture on my part, the pattern fits -- there was no new phone to debut at last year's show despite the launch of Jelly Bean, and we usually have at least some indication that there's a new device on the way this close to launch. Something to think about, anyway. At least, until we get a blizzard of leaks about the LG/Motorola Nexus 28 HD RAZR Optimus or whatever this weekend.
Speaking of Optimus, it's official -- LG is launching the Optimus G Pro in the U.S. on May 1 at an event in New York. More a micro-tablet (giving that term a try instead of the "ph" word) than a smartphone, the big device has been widely compared to the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, though it lacks that one's stylus.
That's all well and good, but given that Samsung's already got the Galaxy Note 3 in the pipeline, the Optimus G Pro might not have much chance to make a major impression -- particularly if SamMobile's story about the Samsung device sporting the world's first all-plastic OLED screen is true. The rumor site says that such a display would be far more durable than regular glass screens, as well as thinner - leaving more room to fit an oversized battery into any given device.
Then again, the SamMobile story doesn't have the Note 3 coming out until the last few months of 2013, so the Optimus G Pro could still get a good run atop the micro-tablet market.
Going a lot smaller, The Droid Guy reports that HTC is working on a mini-version of its One to compete against (what else?) the Galaxy S4 Mini. As you might expect, the hardware will be scaled down to fit the device -- a 4.3-inch, 720p screen, Snapdragon 400 Krait dual-core and 1GB RAM. However, The Droid Guy also says the One mini will retain the metal construction that helped make its larger cousin such a critical success.
After one seriously long open beta test, Swype is officially available in the Play store. If you're unfamiliar, Swype is a gesture-based keyboard replacement for Android that lets you type a lot more quickly than hunting and pecking your way across an on-screen qwerty.
I have strong -- though not unmixed -- feelings about Swype, in that I think it's easily the best alternative to a physical keyboard out there but also immensely frustrating when it doesn't work right. (Accidentally deleting long, irregular words that you had to spell out because they weren't in the dictionary, the fact that it CONSTANTLY reminds you "Swype automatically inserts spaces where necessary -- just keep typing." Listen, Swype -- I grew up having to hit the damn spacebar. Sometimes I'm going to hit the damn spacebar. Stop sticking a damn notification over what I'm typing when I do.)
As annoying as this is, though, it's a joy to use most of the time, and for $1, you could do worse. (You can also try it for free for a month ...)