Google's showing no signs of slowing its pace of Android development, with Android 4.0 appearing on the Galaxy Nexus late in 2011, followed by the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean release that arrived powering the super Nexus 7 in July of 2012.
Two more flavors of Jelly Bean were to follow: Android 4.2 was released on 13 November 2012, and then Android 4.3 arrived on 24 July 2013.
Then on 31 October 2013, Google officially revealed its next minor update, Android 4.4 KitKat, which now clears the road for Android 5.
What is it? The next major upgrade for Android, to follow on from Android 4.4
When is it out? We're thinking mid-2014
What will it cost? Nothing, it'll be a free upgrade
The dessert-themed code name that we assume will begin with L is anyone's guess at this stage. Android 5.0 Lemon Cheesecake or Android 5.0 Lemon Meringue Pie, anyone?
As we wait on official news of that name, as well as the Android 5.0 release date and features, we can start to pull together the latest rumors from around the web.
Android 5.0 release date
Until Android 4.4 was announced we had expected the Android 5.0 release date to be some time in October 2013. We instead saw Android 4.4 KitKat launch on 31 October and in the face of that point release, we think it's now likely that we'll see Android 5.0 shown in mid-2014, quite possibly at Google IO, Google's annual two-day developer conference in San Francisco.
That's a year on from when we had originally expected to see Android 5.0, which was at Google IO 2013, which took place from May 15 to May 17 2013. Given that Google announced Android 4.1 Jelly Bean at 2012's IO conference, it seemed reasonable to expect to see Android 5.0 at the 2013 event.
But on 13 May 2013, we got our confirmation that there would be no serving of Android 5 at Google IO from Sundar Pichai, Google's new head of Android. Pichai told Wired that 2013's IO is "not a time when we have much in the way of launches of new products or a new operating system". Boo! "Both on Android and Chrome, we're going to focus this IO on all the kinds of things we're doing for developers so that they can write better things," he added.
Android 5.0 phones
Rumors of a new Nexus handset started trickling in during the third quarter of 2012, as we reported on 1 October 2012. There was talk that this phone would be sporting Android 5.0 but the handset, which turned out to be the Google Nexus 4, arrived running Android Jelly Bean.
While the Nexus 4 didn't appear with Android 5.0, speculation that we reported on 21 January 2013 suggested that the Motorola X was the Android 5.0-toting handset that would be revealed at Google IO. The Moto X wasn't on show at IO and instead appeared in August 2013, running Android 4.2.2.
We also heard whispers that a new Nexus phone - the Google Nexus 5 - might be blessed with Android 5.0 but when Google officially announced the new handset, it was confirmed that it would arrive sporting Android 4.4 KitKat.
And if rumors that we covered on 30 May were correct, then HTC would have brought us an Android 5.0-powered 'phablet' in the form of the HTC T6. But that device launched in October 2103 as the Android 4.3-powered HTC One Max.
Android 5.0 tablets
The original Nexus 7 tablet was unveiled at Google IO 2012, so we thought it possible that we'd see a refreshed Nexus 7 2 at Google IO 2013. The speculation earlier in the year was that Google would team up with Asus for this, as it did with the original Nexus 7. We expected an upgraded display on the new Nexus 7 tablet, while Digitimes reported that the 2nd generation Nexus 7 would have 3G service and range in price from $149 to $199.
The new Nexus 7 was a no-show at IO, but the Asus-built device was later launched by Google on 24 July 2013, albeit running Android 4.3 rather than 5.
Samsung's Android 5.0 upgrades
Although Samsung is yet to officially confirm its Android 5.0 schedule, a SamMobile source is claiming to know which phones and tablets will be getting the upgrade. According to the source, the devices set to receive the upgrade are the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Note 8.0 and Galaxy Note 10.1. Do note that this claim was made before Google announced Android 4.4, so if it was ever correct, it's probably a lot less correct now.
Android 5.0 features
For 24 hours, it seemed as though the first kinda, sorta confirmed feature for Android 5.0 was a Google Now widget, which briefly appeared in a screenshot on the company's support forum before being taken down. As it was so hurriedly pulled, many people assumed it was slated for the big five-o and accidentally revealed early.
As it happened, the following day, on 13 February 2013, the Google Now widget rolled out to Jelly Bean.
On 28 February 2013, we learned from Android Central that Google is working with the Linux 3.8 kernel, which gave rise to the notion that this kernel might power Android 5. One improvement that the 3.8 kernel brings is lowered RAM usage, which would mean a snappier phone with better multitasking.
We're now expecting that Linux 3.8 kernel to show up in Android 4.4, given that Google's stated aim with KitKat is "to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody".
Android Geeks reported that Google Babble would debut on Android 5.0. Babble was the code name for Google's cross-platform service and app with the aim of unifying its various chat services which include Talk, Hangout, Voice, Messenger, Chat for Google Drive and Chat on Google+.
A screenshot that we were sent from a Google employee on 8 April confirmed that not only was this unified chat service on the way, but that it was called Google Babel not Babble. The service was to come with a bunch of new emoticons and Google+ built-in so you can jump from Babel chat to hangout. A leaked Google memo on 10 April provided a few more juicy details including talk of a new UI and synced conversations between mobile and desktop.
On 10 May, we discovered that Babel would launch as Google Hangouts, and on 15 May we saw it come to life for devices running Android 2.3 and up. So much for it debuting on Android 5.
Following an 18 April tear-down of the Google Glass app MyGlass by Android Police, it looked as though there may be an iOS Games Center-like service coming to Android 5.0.
Android Police found references in the code to functionality that doesn't exist in Glass, which suggested that developers accidentally shipped the full suite of Google Play Services with the Android application package.
The files in the package contained references to real-time and turn-based multiplayer, in-game chat, achievements, leaderboards, invitations and game lobbies.
As expected, we found out more about Google Play Games at Google I/O, but it's not an Android 5.0 feature after all as it has been made available already.
Android 5.0 interface
While this is pure speculation, we're wondering whether Android 5.0 might bring with it a brighter interface, moving away from the Holo Dark theme that came with Android 4.0.
Google Now brought with it a clearer look with cleaner fonts, and screenshots of Google Play 4.0 show Google's app market taking on similar design cues. Is this a hint at a brighter, airier look for Key Lime Pie?
On 6 August 2013, we learned that Google had applied to patent a rather cool piece of functionality whereby an Android user would be able to launch different apps by drawing different patterns on the lock screen.
If this feature makes it into Android 5, we could be able to launch the camera app by drawing one pattern and Twitter by drawing another.