The Case of Made-up Android OS Versions

The Case of Made-up Android OS VersionsEveryone who owns an Android phone or is looking to buy one is always eagerly awaiting news of a new version of Google’s mobile operating system. Everyone’s on the lookout for the latest features and improvements, basically on the premise of getting more out of their respective smartphones or other mobile devices. That’s why it is particularly perplexing and frustrating when tech sites report “confirmed” new Android versions and then it all turns out to be a hoax.

The Anatomy of a Hoax

Recently, one Android-centric tech site — Android and Me — reported about a certain Android version 4.2, supposedly an update to the current Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. This should coincide with the announcement of a new Nexus phone by LG as well as an official announcement about the upcoming version at a subsequent Google event. Of course, all of this was given the disclaimer tag of “rumors” so everything’s still salvageable in the end, but if tech blogs want to be taken seriously, there should be more caution when it comes to reposting such entries.

The site has since retracted its post and issued a statement about the hoax, citing that the staff tries its best to post rumors based on the account of multiple and presumably credible sources. They admitted to their mistake of posting false information, which is a good thing. Additionally, this will ensure that the site will be more careful in the future when it comes to posts of this nature.

It’s reminiscent of the Android 2.4 fiasco we had in February of this year, where sources were said to have confirmed the upcoming release of an “Android 2.4” to supplant version 2.3 Gingerbread. No 2.4 came, and instead users got the incremental 2.3.3 update. It’s just weird considering the amount of press the nonexistent version 2.4 got.

The Rumor Mill

When it comes to assessing rumors, it is important to know the timeframe of the particular subject. For example, web browser Mozilla Firefox went from version 6.0 in mid-August 2011 to version 16.0 in late-August 2012. With regards to the Android 4.2 hoax, it should be noted that Android Jelly Bean was announced a mere few months ago, back in the June Google I/O event. Even now, very few devices are running on Jelly Bean, which makes it more curious for Google to out a new version. The logical next step would be an incremental update.

Rumors will be rumors, and fans will lap up any new information within seconds of them being posted on the Internet, with little regard for the credibility or identity of the sources. Since smartphones have become so integral to a modern man’s life — from personal use to your RingCentral virtual office or business applications — every little update counts, so just imagine the effect that buzz about a full upgrade creates.

So, yes, once in a while we get stuff like made-up versions of the Android mobile operating system grabbing our attention and making us think of all sorts of conclusions. That’s all part and parcel of being a participant in the tech game. Still, it shows how immersed in technology we all are these days. From the hardcore user with multiple smartphones and tablets to the casual observer, we are all connected and affected by tech — especially the Android community that’s so used to seeing incremental upgrades and quite a large number of smartphone releases year after year.