It seems that the Android team often takes hints from separate developers when it comes to their development of Android. Such examples are the "gesture keyboard" (started by Swype), screenshots (was widely available everywhere besides stock android), and data usage stats (made popular through apps such as 3G Watchdog).
So, what are developers doing now, and could they possibly be helping shape the future of Android?
I've noticed a whole ton more gestures.
I'm a launcher lover, and my current is Action Launcher which is extremely heavy on gestures. First off, you can turn folders into 'covers', which lets you cover a folder with an app. Touching the cover (the app icon) opens the app, however swiping up opens the folder. Also, there are 'shutters', which let you swipe up from an app icon to open the corresponding widget.
Other launchers such as Nova Launcher also has support for many gestures, each which can be set to perform an action (from quick launching apps to toggling UI elements such as the dock, and quick dialing a number, just to name a few...).
There is a very good chance that in Jelly Bean 4.3 there will be more of an emphasis on gestures, especially because that's the way Google's 'holo' scheme seems to be going.
Google wants you to become more heavily invested in the Android ecosystem.
It's obvious - Google wants you to stay in Androidland. They are in the process of releasing Google Glass, which is based off Android but is mainly used in conjunction wile connected to an Android phone. People are going to use glass, and to make the most of it they'll need to stick with Android.
Google Now has been a major pull - you now have no reason to go searching for anything. Instead, Google will bring it to you...using their services.
I'm expecting the next version of Android to bring an even more inclusive experience. Google has reportedly been working on a 'Game Center', which would really help users get attached to games and other apps, and again get everybody to use Google's all-inclusive services as opposed to any other ecosystem.
We are going to see the next version of Android on May 15 at Google's annual developer conference, Google I/O. But until then...
What do you think we'll get in Jelly Bean 4.3/Key Lime Pie 5.0? Do you have any ridiculous hopes? Let me know in the comments.