A historically strong source claimed Friday night that the version of Android after Ice Cream Sandwich not only has an early name but might be the actual significant update. Google is reportedly keeping its tradition of naming after desserts and would call it Jelly Bean. No timing was given for This is my next, but with ICS not yet shipped, Jelly Bean might not show until the Google I/O conference in the spring.
The tip also set surprisingly low expectations for the release. All the purported "game-changing stuff" that Google wanted in ICS has now been moved off to the later release. Google has so far kept its promises about ICS modest and has primairly mentioned unifying the code base phone and tablet experience. Other than head tracking in the camera app and a possible iPhone-style tray of always-available apps, little else has been spotted, officially or otherwise.
A shift in priorities could hurt Android smartphone and tablet designers. Some have been pinning their hopes for Android tablets on ICS having major feature additions, but a mild update could leave them in a similar state as they are today. Virtually no Android tablet creator has shipped more than a million tablets a quarter and won't necessarily see meaningful increases in the next few months even as iPad sales advance.
Google typically gives a small amount of insight into its long-term roadmap and, with ICS due as soon as October, could provide a more formal clue as to when Jelly Bean will be ready.