Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich has barely left a mark on the mobile OS scene, and there’s already word of Google’s next Android version. Android 5.0 Jelly Bean is rumored to be released this summer, taking on Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 OS rather than Apple’s strengthening mobile front. The news comes from DigiTimes, citing Taiwanese manufacturers, and with Google’s quickening development pace, a new version of Android for Q2 wouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

What will set Jelly Bean apart is its optimization for tablet PCs, aiming for the netbook and notebook market. This will also be an opportunity for Google to push its Chrome system functions with a dual-operating system design. Brand vendors can either choose to adopt only Android 5.0, or they can add it to Windows 8 devices with the ability to switch between the operating systems without shutting down the computer.

Android’s cross-platform ideas

It’s an interesting strategy around the growing need to support cross-platform software, and as multiple industries clash in the mobile sector, a dual-operating system could fill in some early gaps for Android 5.0. Google already released a netbook to run its Chrome OS, and the recent addition of the Chrome browser to Android’s platform reiterates the search giant’s goals for Chrome’s mobile presence. As Apple and Microsoft tighten their tactics around their own connected devices, Google will need to expand in both hardware and software to maintain Android’s relevance.

But Android’s already a fragmented platform, with the most recent ICS version barely reaching 1 percent of users in the months since release. The mere mention of another Android update drums up more concerns over Google’s staggered roll outs, with growing OEM issues over ICS implementation. Google’s juggling a lot of Android balls right now, and its future is still uncertain. With the Google-Motorola deal now being reviewed by China, Google may soon be able to better control its combined hardware and software efforts to truly compete with Apple and Microsoft, but only time will tell.