Twitter co-founder Biz Stone’s new and mysterious startup called Jelly still isn’t saying what it’s up to, but it has announced funding. According to details posted to the official company blog this morning, the team has raised a Series A from a notable lineup of investors in a round led by Spark Capital, with additional investment from SV Angel, and a group of angels that includes Square CEO Jack Dorsey;Reid Hoffman; Bono (what!), Evan Williams and Jason Goldman via Obvious; Al Gore; Emmy-winning director Greg Yaitanes; and Afghan entrepreneur Roya Mahboob.
As a part of the funding, Spark General Partner Bijan Sabet now joins Jelly’s board of directors.
The company explains that it chose the angels for their diversity of experience, something that’s important to Jelly’s team as well as to its product, whatever that may be:
“We chose angels like Al Gore, a Partner at KPCB and Chairman and Co-founder of Generation Investment Management, Greg Yaitanes, a Hollywood director, and Roya Mahboob, an entrepreneur doing amazing work for women in Afghanistan partly because they work in divergent fields. Knowledge diversity is something we prize highly and is also something that will be represented in our product.”
The post also revealed that the Jelly product is only in the early prototyping phases right now, which is one reason why the company has yet to reveal product details to the general public.
The additional funding – no amount was provided – will be used for hiring and development, as is par for the course.
Jelly has already been busy on the hiring front as of late however, having recently hired former Twitter engineering manager and Fluther co-founder Ben Finkel as Jelly’s co-founder and CTO, as well as Kevin Thau, the man responsible for Twitter’s new app, Twitter music.
Though details as to what Jelly is up to are scarce, earlier hints seem to point to some sort of “social good” intention with the service, like perhaps offering a way for users to connect to social causes and show off their contributions. Stone recently explained that “People are basically good—when provided a tool that helps them do good in the world, they prove it.”
Philanthropy and volunteering don’t have many central homes on today’s web, as TechCrunch previously noted in a discussion about Jelly’s possible plans – save for something like Causes, which works on top of Facebook’s open graph, having never taken off as a standalone service of its own. In fact, social media-based activism has been under fire for years as being a poor substitute for real-world action. Liking and sharing and posting and re-tweeting does not necessarily have the desired impact on effecting change, though it may raise awareness.
Today’s announcement from Jelly still gives no hints as to how it plans to help people “do good in the world,” only noting that the proliferation of mobile devices is a big factor in its plans. “As mobile devices have taken an increasingly central role in our lives, humanity has grown more connected than ever—herein lies massive opportunity.”
Google has published its monthly numbers for Android version adoption, with Jelly Bean climbing 3.4 percent to 28.4 percent of active devices, while Ice Cream Sandwich fell 1.8 percent to 27.5 percent.
After dropping beneath the 40 percent mark last month, Gingerbread slid even further to 38.5 percent. Meanwhile, Froyo and Eclair came in at 3.7 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively, and Donut held on at 0.1 percent.
In April, Google changed the way it reports this data, taking snapshots for devices where the user intentionally visits the Google Play Store during a given period instead of just checking in to Google servers. While the move is meant to help the figures more accurately represent users who are “most engaged in the Android and Google Play ecosystem”, it leaves out data from regions, such as China, that use alternative app stores. The Chinese market has been flooded with low-end Android handsets, many of which are forked from the official versions, so actual worldwide Android adoption would likely look quite different from the numbers Google comes up with.
Gingerbread, which was released in December 2010, still makes up the largest portion of Android devices on Google Play, but Jelly Bean, which first hit the market in June 2012, is set to overtake it in a few months if the current trend continues.
A new version of Android is likely to arrive at Google’s I/O developer conference, which takes place later this month. Current rumors suggest that the update will be another version of Jelly Bean (presumably version 4.3) instead of Android 5.0, also known as Key Lime Pie.
Image credit: Purestock
Though we still haven’t gotten a peek of the LTE-capable Galaxy Note 8.0, it would appear that the 3G version is currently making its way through the Federal Communications Commission for final approval before retail availability.
The Galaxy Note 8.0 was announced back at MWC, and Samsung mentioned that the tablet would be available in the second quarter of this year. The WiFi-enabled version already passed through the FCC a couple of months ago.
Unfortunately, we still don’t have word from Samsung or carrier partners on retail availability, but seeing as the FCC is a crucial part of the certification process, we’re at least a step closer to the GalNote 8.0.
In terms of specs, the smaller Galaxy Note tablet is meant to compete directly with the iPad mini, sporting an Exynos 4 Quad processor clocked at 1.6GHz, Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, and TouchWiz of course.
You’ll also see an 8-inch 1280
Google updated its Platform Versions Web page for Android on Tuesday, and it would appear that the second latest version has peaked. Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) are still growing but Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) may never pass the 30 percent mark. Meanwhile, Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) is still on over 45 percent of devices.
Breaking down the numbers more specifically, 13.6 percent of Android users are now using Jelly Bean, 29.0 percent are using ICS, 1.3 percent are on Honeycomb, 45.6 are stuck with Gingerbread, and 8.1 percent tragically still have Froyo. Here’s how the current Android landscape looks like in graph and table form:
Last month, Android hit a bunch of new milestones: Jelly Bean finally passed 10 percent share of the droid’s pie, Gingerbread fell below the 50 percent mark, and Froyo dipped below 10 percent. Compared to then, Android 4.2 has budged a minor 0.2 percentage points (from 1.2 percent to 1.4 percent) and Android 4.1 has gained a solid 3.2 percentage points (from 5.9 percent to 9.0 percent).
Android 4.0 has stagnated, dropping 0.1 percentage points to 29.0 percent, suggesting it may not ever cross the 30 percent mark. Android 2.3 meanwhile is down 2.0 percentage points (from 47.6 percent to 45.6 percent) and Android 2.2 fell 0.9 percentage points (from 9.0 percent to 8.1 percent). The bigger picture is still the same though: Gingerbread (released December 2010) is first, ICS (October 2011) is second, the latest and greatest Jelly Beans (June 2012 and November 2012) are third, and Froyo (May 2010) is fourth.
If ICS has indeed peaked, and we should know this for sure in the next month or two, Jelly Bean will rather quickly move up into second place. We would estimate that this will happen before the end of 2013, though Gingerbread will probably remain in first throughout.
There are of course already rumors that Key Lime Pie will be out this spring. Depending on what devices launch with it, the landscape could change yet again. Either way, we’ll be watching closely.
Image credit: Daudzegier
There are bugs, and there are pretty embarrassing and ridiculous mess-ups. This one was is a screwup straight from Mountain View, and it’s a very real problem. If you’re trying to add your friend’s birthday with a new event to their contact entry under “People,” and you use an Android device with Jelly Bean 4.2, and they’re born in December…you’re crap out of luck, because Google decided to leave December out completely. For all the years.
Oops. The issue was apparently reported two days ago and we might be getting Android Jelly Bean 4.2.1 before we know it. Because, well, December is indeed coming, whether Google wants it to or not.
Android 4.2 forgot to include December in its month picker. Seriously, it skips from November to January. code.google.com/p/android/issu…
Mike Rundle (@flyosity) November 18, 2012
Don’t worry, Google Calendar is fine, and you won’t be able to skip appointments and blame it on your phone.
How does something like this make its way into a production environment? I mean, Google is a huge company, and I’m sure that the Android team alone has a massive fleet of QA testers. Are they simply grinches? The latest version of Android, 4.2, has only been in the wild for four days now, so it’s not surprising that not many people have noticed it yet.
On a very real note, this, in essence, could affect any and all apps that rely on the Android date picker, but that’s not yet confirmed. The reported issue itself has been “reviewed” by someone at Google, but there is no timing yet on when a fix will be shipped. The good thing about Android is that the update process is fairly seamless. I’ve talked to teams at companies in the past on oopsies that slipped out into the wild, but never something like this on an operating system.
That’s right, there will be no claiming of “that’s a feature, not a bug” on this one, folks.
Still though, would Apple ship something like that? Apparently they did, according to our commenters. Best comment on Facebook so far was from Dillon Brice with: “It’s their way of avoiding the Mayan Apocalypse. Well played Google.”
We’ve reached out to Google for comment, and will let you know when we hear something on when this might be fixed.
[GoogleGrinch+ Photo credit: Flickr]