Google originally said that Ice Cream Sandwich would be open-sourced shortly after the release of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, but the code has actually been made public prior to the release of Google’s latest benchmark phone.
Software engineer and Android Open Source Project member Jean Baptiste Queru just confirmed that Ice Cream Sandwich is being added to the Android source tree. Queru says this is Android 4.0.1, the same version of the software that ships on the Galaxy Nexus. The code is being pushed right now. Download instructions for developers is available here once everything is ready.
Since most of you aren’t developers, here’s a simple explanation of why you should be happy to see this. In order to make the best ROM’s possible, developers need the right code from the AOSP. ROM’s pieced together from the Android SDK are not as good as what can be achieved with the source. So with the proper code, those developers can get to work customizing Ice Cream Sandwich or modifying it to work with your phone long before carriers and manufacturers do (root required). It also means companies like HTC and LG can get to work on those updates that they promised.
Also of note, the source code for Honeycomb is also available today. Google previously chose not to open source Honeycomb in order to prevent people from introducing software for devices that weren’t ready for it, but the AOSP team has finally made the code available. However, Queru still says, “Since Honeycomb was a little incomplete, we want everyone to focus on Ice Cream Sandwich. So, we haven’t created any tags that correspond to the Honeycomb releases (even though the changes are present in the history.)”
That won’t stop developers and ROM modders from doing it anyway. Not everyone is a fan of Ice Cream Sandwich, so don’t be surprised if you start seeing some ROM’s or app releases with elements from Honeycomb instead.
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