If you are waiting to get your hands on the latest and greatest of Google’s Nexus Android smartphones and tablets, the last month or so has been both exciting and disappointing.

Google's Hugo Barra announces Google Edition Samsung Galaxy S4
Google announces new Nexus smartphones and tablets when it ships new versions of Android. With every sugary dessert iteration, avid Android fans get flagship devices running unadulterated Android (free of the skins and bloatware from manufacturers and carriers) to satiate their geeky desires.

The only problem? Google hasn’t announced a new version of Android yet. And there is no firm timetable for when it will.

Google had set a pattern of announcing the newest Android versions at its I/O developer conference over the last couple of years. Android developers got lots of goodies from Google this year at I/O (Android Studio and a bevy of monetization tools) but a shiny new version of Android was not among the announcements.

To make up for the missing Android refresh (and the related lack of new Nexus devices), Google has made deals to bring the stock Android user interface to the most popular smartphones currently on the market.

Google announced the availability of a “Google Edition” Samsung Galaxy S4 running the Nexus user interface during the I/O keynote. The well-received HTC One will also come out with a Google Edition Nexus version. Gadget manufacturer LG shipped a white version of the Nexus 4. Both the Nexus S4 and HTC One will be available on the Google Play store on June 26th and will be unlocked and ready to use on T-Mobile or AT&T in the United States. The price will be fairly steep though, with the HTC One selling for $599 and the S4 for $650. In comparison, the Nexus 4 from LG was only $299 when it was released in November 2012.

I was sitting in a room with a Google executive on the Android team shortly after the I/O keynote address. Ostensibly, we were taking about apps. Lots and lots of apps. Yet I couldn’t ignore the elephant in the room.

“So,” I asked, trying to sound casual, “when is the next version of Android coming out?”

The exec smiled. This question was not unexpected. Google did not announce a new version of Android during I/O. Not a new version of Android Jelly Bean or the rumored Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. Nothing.

“When it’s ready,” she said.
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--jeremy