Google's I/O conference is coming up. Here in the next couple of weeks it will be right around the corner, and we'll all finally see what Google has been working on behind the scenes since the last event. Some of what they've been working on, at least. As far as Android goes, we should see a new version of Google's mobile operating system, which should bring plenty of new features to make all those Nexus owners out there plenty excited.

Up until a few days ago, though, those Nexus owners were probably excited for entirely different reasons, if you've been keeping up with the rumor mill as of late. It looks like, at least as far as unofficial reports are concerned, that it won't be a totally new version of Android that Google will unveil in a few weeks, but instead a "minor" update to the little green 'droid.

If you missed it, here's the lowdown: Android Police, a popular Android-focused site, found evidence within its own server logs that would suggest Google is currently testing Android 4.3, with build "JWR3B." That 'J' at the start of the build points to a Jelly Bean release, rather than a 'K' for whatever major update Google has planned down the road. (Speculation has it that "key lime pie" will be the next dessert to carry the Android mantle.)

Android Police tracked the specific IP addresses from these devices within their server logs, and found that they hailed from Google itself, running on Nexus 4s and Nexus 7s. There is plenty of other details to go along with these pieces of evidence, and our own Alex Wagner tallied it up nicely for you right here.

Basically, what we're possibly looking at here isn't a major bump to Android's platform, but rather a focus to keep things a little closer to what we see now. More importantly, stick within the "jelly bean" family of builds. That goes against the grain of all the previous rumors and speculation, though, so there are plenty of folks out there who are calling shenanigans already, and are still clamoring that Google will indeed unveil Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie in just under a month.

It's to be expected that some people would still be holding out for Google's official announcement. That they'd still have their fingers crossed that a major update to Android was just around the corner. After all, it would probably mean a major change to the overall look of Android, as we've seen from previous major version changes. It would also likely mean a slew of new features, most of which would be worthy of showing off to everyone you know.

Now, it's anyone's guess what Google has in store for their next version of Android. If it is indeed a minor upgrade, then there's a (small?) possibility that the update itself is underwhelming for many who have been anxiously waiting for it. Especially to those who were getting excited to see Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie.

But it's hard to deny that if Google is really gearing up to launch Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, and *not* Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, that it isn't a great idea. After all, it would make it easier for manufacturers who use Android to update their devices, from one version of Jelly Bean to another, rather than from Jelly Bean (or even Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, for that matter) to Key Lime Pie. Releasing Android 4.3, which will probably increase stability, Google Now features, and improvements to Project Butter, will mean a better overall experience to the end user, too, which can't possibly be a bad thing.

"But wouldn't they include all those things in an Android 5.0 update, too?" Yes, they would, and I don't think we can discount the idea that there are already members of the Android team working on the next big update to Android behind the scenes deep within Mountain View offices, but I think with a focus on Android 4.3 means a better overall experience for the here and now. It means that the focus might not have been on shoving new features into this version of Android, but more on refining what's already there, and building a better overall experience, while also sprinkling it with new things for people to show off.

Of course, and I'm just playing Devil's Advocate here, it doesn't change the fact that every single Android device on the market will be out of date, once the next version of Android is unveiled (and released). Even Samsung's Galaxy S 4, which just launched with Android 4.2, will be out of date. And no matter if Google does unveil Android 4.3, it will still be a version behind.

But, like I said, it does mean that maybe Samsung can create an update to its newest flagship device faster than it could if Google unveiled a major upgrade. And, hey, maybe it even means that HTC will skip their "planned" update to Android 4.2 for their One flagship phone, and just go right for Android 4.3 instead.

Of course, this could all go up in the air depending on what Google unveils at I/O. Either way, I'm sure we're all going to get a nice new set of features for Android, and plenty of improvements that will make the software on our (Nexus) phones all that much better. We'll just have to see how the manufacturers handle it. Fingers crossed for quick updates!

If you care about that sort of thing.

Are you excited for Google I/O, even with speculation that the Mountain View-based company might not unveil a major upgrade to its mobile OS? Or are you even more excited by the prospect of another Jelly Bean release? Let me know!

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40 Reactions to this post

"Do you think it's a good idea if Google unveils Android 4.3, another build of Jelly Bean, instead of a major software upgrade?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
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EB Bassett
EB Bassett @David... I have SGH-T999(T-Mobile) My S3 came with 4.0 purchased in November. Only reason I haven't updated to 4.1 is because I use 'Voice Command for Apps' feature while at work. It allows for voice control of music player by simply saying: play, pause, back, next and volume up or down. From what I understand this feature is not included in 4.1. Also works with camera, alarm and incoming calls.
Kim E. Salinas
Kim E. Salinas Nope. Jelly Bean is really fast program for now and i think its hard to do a major new program coz i think that they really put time on the J.B. especially that so called Project Butter just to make J.B fast and smooth, maybe they will make a new version when the majority of specs or processors are powerful and easily sell a new version but still they make a new version.
Austin Montiel Hernandez
Austin Montiel Hernandez Can't complain about jellybean the way it is. So no. A 4.3 would not upset me.
Andrew Bissel
Andrew Bissel Android jellybean 4.9
David Juarez
David Juarez @EB ..um what is your sgs3 model. Most of the sgs3 variants are at least running 4.1.1 for some time now. Others have 4.1.2 and intl version has 4.2.2. So have you not updated to jb for some reason?
EB Bassett
EB Bassett Going on 6 months and still on android 4.0 with my S3. Twice lock screen was in portrait orientation with pattern lock. And bottom three dots were off screen. So I could not unlock phone. Off/on fixes it. Has only happened twice. Each time I had just took phone off charging. Other than that no problems. Loving my S3.
Atanu Roy
Atanu Roy yes, its a good idea.
Juwon Donte
Juwon Donte Long as I'm not stuck on gingerbread like most some people are I really don't care about a further update 4.2.2 is fine with me
Magnus Larsson
Magnus Larsson pfffffffhahahaha....
Paul Kirincic
Paul Kirincic Just fix the multitude of bugs in 4.2+ and I will be happy at this point.
David Juarez
David Juarez I think Google is doing a good think and slowing down. People get this psychological feeling that they "have" to ha we the newest thing. Specially once a brand new is update rolls out and its only on a few devices. It makes you think your device is obsolete. It really isn't. Get a grip to life. If they update more frequently the phones that aren't getting updated as frequently will create a wider gap to the fragmentation . Not everyone loves nexus phones and doesn't need to to be able to get updates. They should make it a type of uofeade that is easy for any phone already running 4.0 and above to update to without too much work.
Allan Blaabjerg Lange
Allan Blaabjerg Lange Would like to see a new major software upgrade with a new look and feel, something like the things you wrote an article about some weeks ago. However I don't like my chances of getting the update any time soon on my GSM Galaxy Nexus in Denmark.
Jonathan Persson
Jonathan Persson Just release something that works on the majority of the Android phones.
Marwan Ahmed
Marwan Ahmed Yea sure
Bryan T Miller
Bryan T Miller Makes me angry, google needs to slow down and also needs do something to make sure older phones can get updates as well, I know soooooooo many people who don't even ics
AJ Nexus Hysaj
AJ Nexus Hysaj we want KLP!
Christopher Manic Johnson
Christopher Manic Johnson Seeing how we are getting close to that inevitable plateau, I think it would be a smart idea to begin slowing down software iterations, and begin adding small updates to existing firmware. This will help app developers optimize what they have, and actually have consumers enjoy those optimizations before taking the leap with another beta application. Also, as stated in other comments, it'll give consumers time to get the latest, or at least, compatible, hardware.
Nick Kathrein
Nick Kathrein I think only major changes to the sub system are now what they are thinking sure be new versions. The point updates add features and fix bugs. I would bet this update will actually do more than the update Apple does to iOS. I think iOS will look different but the actual way it works will be the same. I think Android 4.3 will work the same as well but have a lot more updated features that will be a bigger step forward than Apples iOS7
Orion Pax
Orion Pax They can call it Mexican Jelly beans
Matthew Swanson
Matthew Swanson No, please start talking about 5.0!!!
Marlon Milligan
Marlon Milligan It's a good idea 4.2.2 was slightly buggy . Better than 4.2 but not stable like 4.1
Jet Tuñgul
Jet Tuñgul I think it's good, if the major update is not yet ready then don't force it..
Haldi Kuniqi
Haldi Kuniqi I want KLP !!!##!!!!
Richard W Krajewski
Richard W Krajewski What can I say, yes I can count. I'm an actuary. But I wasn't trying to prove it. Thanks though for proving you can reply like a douche...
Malcom Buckhannon
Malcom Buckhannon Sure give me a new update shoot
Richard W Krajewski
Richard W Krajewski I think pretty much every year you should increase the number...
Kennii PrIv LeGu Kalonji
Kennii PrIv LeGu Kalonji Thanks for proving to us that you can count... good job.
Dalton McVey
Dalton McVey ... Because the numbers are actually what counts? 7 better than 5, egh? It's the features that matter. IOS has seen fewer features between the original and 7 than android has seen between 4. The version number is trivial.
Richard W Krajewski
Richard W Krajewski No they need to ramp up to 5. iOS will be 7 in the new release.
Supasin Tatiyanupanwong
Supasin Tatiyanupanwong its good for other devices BUT for those who using nexus (Galaxy Nexus, 4, 7, 10) devices r w8ing for KLP :(
Justin Charles Reback
Justin Charles Reback I don't care. They obviously have something in mind for what they want to label as Key Lime Pie, and it is not ready yet. I would rather they give us what works now, than give us something that does not. If they feel that the software that they have ready is not worthy of being Key Lime Pie, then that is their choice and it won't affect me or anyone else. We still have the Nexus 5 and Nexus 10 sequel later this year to showcase new software updates.
Josh Veerkamp
Josh Veerkamp They have 3 more years of Jelly Bean before they become Apple.
Kyle Cordiano
Kyle Cordiano Yes. Who cares what the name and build number is. I care about features and if that helps older phones get this update then in on board.
Dino Džafovic
Dino Džafovic google please dont become apple
Ahmed A. Alzuhairi
Ahmed A. Alzuhairi i was waiting for Key Lime Pie :(
Tim Moore
Tim Moore Eh was hoping for something new. I get why they'd want to. Let phones catch up and then release key lime pie with the new Nexus phone in Nov/Dec but to be selfish I want it now!
Nikesh Girnatwar
Nikesh Girnatwar November is gud month.... And dnt surprise its comes from LG...
Keith Windiddy
Keith Windiddy it is a good idea b/c older devices can catch up w/o much problems
John Dalisay
John Dalisay No. too many JELLY BEANS! Just name it something else before the name JELLY BEAN gets a bit confusing and be spoiled
Carl Dale
Carl Dale sort out of behind devices!

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