Android Central

Eagle-eyed Google Play Store-goers will have noticed something mildly interesting in this screenshot from the Google IO 2012 Android app listing. It's the stock Android 4.x launcher, but what's that at the top? A redesigned Google Search bar? Sure looks like it. It's a transparent square in Google's screenshot, as opposed to the white-bordered dealie that we know from the Galaxy Nexus.

To be clear, this isn't merely a redesigned widget -- in ICS, the Google search bar is part of the launcher itself​, meaning that the change must also be of the launcher. Sure, it'd be easy to mock up this sort of image using a custom launcher, or even Photoshop, but remember this is a screenshot from Google, from an official Google app listing.

This naturally leads to some speculation that the image comes from a future version of Android, perhaps Jelly Bean. And when you consider the image's source and subject matter, it's easy to connect the dots and conclude that we might see a new version of Android (albeit one with only minor visual changes) at next week's Google IO conference in San Francisco. There's already been plenty of speculation that we'll see Jelly Bean next week, and that it'll be Android 4.1.

Also of interest, is the time in this pic -- 25:10. Obviously that's not a real time. Some have speculated it's a reference to a date -- October 25 -- but we don't think it's likely that Google would tease an announcement so far out. 

So perhaps this is our first look at the next version of Android, or maybe Google's just trolling the blogosphere. If you've got any theories, let us know what you think down in the comments.

Source: Google Play Store


Reader comments

Slightly redesigned Android launcher sneaks out in screenshot from Google


really? Jelly Bean? I don't even have ICS on my Galaxy S2. They said that ICS is on 7% on android devices and there are already pushing jelly bean. this is crazy!

I feel your pain because I had a droid x that barely got gingerbread. But, don't put all of the blame on google. They are doing what they need to do to compete against the next gen of OSs. Android needs new features in order to stay on top. As far as updates go, it's more of your carrier's fault for not updating your phone. Samsung already updated the international version of the GSII to ICS a few months ago. If the carriers didn't hold the updates in headlocks, many more phones would have ICS already.

The microphone icon in the search box in that picture is the same as the speech to text microphone icon in the Chrome beta. Just open a new tab and tap the address bar when it says "search or type url."

Now there are two questions:

1. Will Chrome replace the stock browser (probably yes); and

2. Have I been beta testing something more than Chrome for Android when I use speech to text in the Chrome beta? Each time Chrome updates, I've had to re-enable "personalized recognition" in settings. A policy window always pops up. Hmm.

Things I noticed:

- The People app is slightly different (the back extends farther).

- Google used Voice as the example for texting, which is odd.

- Chrome is the default browser.

Isn't this obvoius? 25:10 is a pointer to JellyBean. 2 = B, 5 = E, 10 = J. All can be found in JellyBEan ;-)

Is there any sort of code in that wallpaper? It kinda looks like the Microsoft triangle code deals they pushed instead of QR codes. Anyone have a reader to scan it?

It's internet data source type that currently your phone is connected (or trying to connect) which let you assume potential speed you currently have. You might be confused since some phone manufacture tend to simplify it to generation cellcular network phone is correctly connected (xG)


E - EDGE (aka faster GPRS)


3G or U - UMTS (standard data transmition via 3G network... yes, thats true name of 3G)
H - HSDPA (or it's mutation)


L(not sure if they even use that) or LTE or 4G - LTE

I'm guessing it's HSDPA, the form of 3G used by non-CDMA service providers.
EDIT: Great, everybody decided to post their replies while I was writing mine! :)

You should not expect huge revamps after ICS for at least few versions, same as Gingerbread didn't change much since 2.1 in UI. Some people say iOS is boring because they don't UI much, in general you should do that or if you really want leave same same structure, user should used to interface not relearn it every update. Windows with a lot longer history didn't change UI structure until Win7 with OS X-ish dock since Win95

Awesome, just when most widgets started adapting and changing their widget themes to look like ICS, Google changes the color again. Why can we not have a standard size and color for widgets? I am so tired of the muti-color and sizes of widgets on my home screens.

So now I'll be able to dream about Jelly Bean on my Galaxy Tab 10.1, since it appears it'll be forever for them to provide ICS for it.

Am I the only one pissed about the gradual elimination of the search button? Voice Actions is the best voice operated system out there (even better for me recently since I found out how to update calendar events - eat that Siri!), and now I have to press 2 buttons to engage Voice Search? Ugh...

I sure hope the Jellybean update is bluetooth supported...that's the only shortcoming.

I'm right there with you. I hate the fact too that the search bar is integrated into the launcher and on every screen! Also don't like the move to get rid of the menu button or the push for onscreen buttons. Overall, not impressed with ICS. It feels like death by a thousand cuts the more I look at it. :(

Hate to burst your bubble, guys, but have you considered that this could just be a Chrome-specific search widget?

All I could notice that was different was the dock at the bottom looks taller, but maybe it's because I'm used to ICS on a nexus S and it may be shorter there.

If it was only a widget, it'd be under the search bar (the bar is persistent in ICS, rather than being a widget itself).

This is actually a look at the whole announcement for what to expect from Jelly Bean. A redesigned search bar and a new wallpaper. I'm just upset that I will be waiting 2 years to get them....

Calm down everyone, a quick look at Roman's Google+ reveals that's just his homescreen.

We already know the wallpaper is made in the Pattrn app, and now there's this. Could be something to the search bar, but I've seen something quite similar in one of the launchers (Go, I think). No reason a Google employee couldn't run a custom launcher as long as it retained the stock look and feel.

Not saying there is nothing to see here, but no reason to get excited just yet, as it is most likely just a slightly customized homescreen that Roman used.

Only odd thing to me is the time...

The only change to the google search bar that would really interest me is if they made it optional. I'm not holding my breath for that, so I've been using the Avid launcher instead.

If you check out the other "screenshots" you will notice that room 10 is shown to have Android related business and has 25 +1s on the discussion of Android apps in Google Play. Maybe in that room there will be important things shown since before apps it is the 'What's new in Android' chat. We will have to wait and see...