New details have been leaked about Google’s forthcoming Android 5.0 smartphone platform and its forthcoming Motorola X flagship smartphone.
According to VR-Zone, Google held back from unveiling the latest version of its smartphone operating system at Google I/O in order to give its hardware partners some extra breathing room.
Sources at the online services and smartphone giant now say the operating system, dubbed “Android Key Lime Pie”, should be released in October.
This has prompted speculation the new operating system release will be announced alongside Google’s rumoured Motorola X smartphone.
The Motorola X is a new smartphone that, according to reports, is being developed within Google’s X division labs and will be manufactured by its wholly-owned smartphone subsidiary, Motorola Mobility.
A key feature of the new operating system will be that it will be optimised to run well on low-end smartphones and tablets using 512 megabytes of RAM or less.
The move for low-end optimisation comes after figures published by SmartCompany reported sales of desktop PCs, notebook computers, tablets and smartphones to emerging countries is expected to hit a billion units next year.
The battle for the low-end smartphone and tablet market is set to intensify, with Mozilla announcing it had signed Apple device assembly firm Foxconn as the latest hardware partner for its forthcoming Firefox OS smartphone platform.
Meanwhile, the tablet market across the Middle East and Africa has grown by a remarkable 184% year-on-year to 2.25 million units per quarter for the first quarter of 2013, according to new IDC figures.
The rapid growth is being primarily driven by education programs, with a growing number of students across the region learning their computing skills on a tablet rather than a traditional desktop PC.
"Growing demand from the commercial segment is expected in the coming years, especially within the education sector," says Victoria Mendes, a research analyst for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC.
"Education projects like 'Fatih' in Turkey, the Supreme Education Council's (SEC) 'e-bag' project in Qatar, and Sheikh Mohammed's 'Smart learning' initiative in the UAE are expected to drive commercial tablet sales in the coming years. The banking sector and the aviation sub-sector are expected to be other key spending industries."
For customers in the region, low-end Android devices are an increasingly an appealing alternative to Apple’s iPads.
"Apple's proprietary operating system, iOS, is expected to continue losing share across the MEA region," says Fouad Charakla, a research manager at IDC.
"However, the rapidly growing demand for the iPad Mini is expected to enable the vendor's volumes to grow at a much faster pace than previously forecast."