Android 5 is going to be exciting, there’s no doubt about that. Google saves the change to a new number for the big things, with both Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich making big alterations to the way we use our Android phones.

We thought it would have been Key Lime Pie that showed off the next level, but on 31 October 2013, Google officially revealed its next minor update, Android 4.4 KitKat, which now clears the road for Android 5.

The dessert-themed code name that we assume will begin with L is anyone’s guess at this stage. Android 5.0 Lemon Cheesecake or Android 5.0 Lemon Meringue Pie, anyone?

As we wait on official news of that name, we’re constantly combing the web to see what’s going to be happening with this L-powered update, so check back to see what we’ve uncovered and the level of likelihood each rumour brings.

Android 5.0 release date

Until Android 4.4 was announced we had expected the Android 5.0 release date to be some time in October 2013. We instead saw Android 4.4 KitKat launch on 31 October, so now we’re expecting to see Android 5.0 shown off in mid-2014, quite possibly at Google IO, Google’s annual two-day developer conference in San Francisco.

That’s a year on from when we had originally expected to see Android 5.0, which was at Google IO 2013, which took place from May 15 to May 17 2013. Given that Google announced Android 4.1 Jelly Bean at 2012′s IO conference, we’re now desperate for the next iteration of the code.

Sundar Pichai, Google’s new head of Android told Wired that 2013′s IO was “not a time when we have much in the way of launches of new products or a new operating system”,” which makes us wonder when the new software will be coming.

Our take: Android updates are still coming too slowly for our liking, as while each 0.1-numbered upgrade is good, it’s not enough to make us want the native experience.

We’re expecting Google to make Android 5 rather special indeed, which means it can only wait a maximum of 6-7 months after KitKat was announced to show it off – so mid-2014 has to happen, in our opinion.

Android 5.0 phones

The first handset to run Android 5 will either be a Nexus phone or tablet, and given the timing of the announcement we think it might be the latter. The Google Nexus 5 launched Android 4.4 at the tail end of next year, and we reckon the Nexus 10 (2014) will appear soon – meaning a tablet launch for the new OS.

HTC looks like the front runner to bring this tablet to the market, so we’re thinking that this could happen mid-2014, which puts it firmly on course to be made soon.

Will it be known as a Nexus? The scheme is reportedly under threat, although in no way confirmed by Google. It does have the Play Editions of its devices, so we could see Android 5 side-launched on other devices – but we can’t see that happening.

Google IO 2012
Androids out in force at Google IO 2012

Samsung’s Android 5.0 upgrades

Although Samsung is yet to officially confirm its Android 5.0 schedule, a SamMobile source is claiming to know which phones and tablets will be getting the upgrade. According to the source, the devices set to receive the upgrade are the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Note 8.0 and Galaxy Note 10.1. Do note that this claim was made before Google announced Android 4.4, so if it was ever correct, it’s probably a lot less correct now.

Samsung Galaxy S4
As you’d expect, the S4 will be getting an Android update, but to which version?

Android 5.0 features

Android Geeks reported that Google Babble would debut on Android 5.0. Babble was the code name for Google’s cross-platform service and app with the aim of unifying its various chat services which include Talk, Hangout, Voice, Messenger, Chat for Google Drive and Chat on Google+.

A screenshot that we were sent from a Google employee on 8 April confirmed that not only was this unified chat service on the way, but that it was called Google Babel not Babble. On 10 May, we discovered that Babel would launch as Google Hangouts, and on 15 May we saw it come to life for devices running Android 2.3 and up. So much for it debuting on Android 5.

Google Babel
We’ve been fishing for info on Babel

A more recent idea is that Google’s next version of Android will have more fitness smarts built in – and this is an idea we think has legs, if you’ll pardon the sort-of pun.

Apple is set to go big in this area with the iWatch and iOS 8, and other brands, such as Samsung and LG, are making strides too.

The idea is future versions of Android will allow the software to harness “fitness data from sensors on your Android device.”

These could be built into future Android phones and tablets, but it’s also likely that the API will play nicely with Android-based smartwatches and even Google Glass.

Some have speculated that Android 5.0 will be actually Chrome OS, Google’s high power operating system for its Chromebooks – that it would use Android for low- to mid-level handsets and put Chrome on the high end.

However, this makes little sense given the effort that would be needed for app integration, so like Microsoft and Windows Phone the mobile OS will very likely continue as is.

Android 5.0 interface

While this is pure speculation, we’re wondering whether Android 5.0 might bring with it a brighter interface, moving away from the Holo Dark theme that came with Android 4.0.

Google Play 4
Google Play is lightening up [image credit: DroidLife]

On 6 August 2013, we learned that Google had applied to patent a rather cool piece of functionality whereby an Android user would be able to launch different apps by drawing different patterns on the lock screen.

If this feature makes it into Android 5, we could be able to launch the camera app by drawing one pattern and Twitter by drawing another.