Showing its support for developers and love for stock Android, Sony has created an AOSP project for its latest flagship – the Xperia Z. The Xperia S started the trend of AOSP project from Sony, and the Z takes it a step further.
The AOSP project will be maintained by two senior developers at Sony, Johan Redestig and Bjorn Andersson. The AOSP project is Sony’s way to supporting the open source community, and allowing developers to run stock Android on their handset.
Below is a video of AOSP running on the Xperia Z -:
Currently, AOSP on the Xperia Z is still not good enough for day-to-day use because of the reliance on some binaries that Sony is not allowed to share. In its current form, Sony has managed to get SD-Card, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Notification LED and partial sensors to work under AOSP on the Xperia Z. While the radio and camera also work, they require some binaries that Sony cannot share with the general public.
The good news is that going forward Sony will work on replacing the binaries with their open-source drivers and make the NFC binaries available as well. If you are a developer, you can help Sony in making the Xperia Z supported by AOSP by contributing your own code. Head over to the AOSP for Xperia Z project on Github for the issues list, and to get yourself familiar with the code.
AOSP stands for Android Open Source Project, and is what the Nexus 4, Galaxy Nexus and other Nexus devices from Google run when combined with a few proprietary binaries. AOSP always contains the latest version of Android, which in this case is Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The Xperia Z runs on Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean out-of-the-box.
Yesterday, Google rolled out the Android 4.2.1 update for the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 10. The minor bump in the Android OS version does not bring any major changes except for fixing the missing December month in the People’s app.
Today, Google has pushed Android 4.2.1 to AOSP for developers to base their ROMs on the latest version of Android. While its nice to see Google fixing the December update so soon, the company should have tried to fix other issues present in Android 4.2. as well.
Android 4.2 is one of the most buggiest release ever from Google. The update is plagued with lots of bugs and stability issues including random reboots, poor performance on Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus and much more.
Google has now also started rolling out the Android 4.2.1 update for the Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 7. The update was initially only available for the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 10.
Yesterday, Google released the Nexus 4 in quite a few countries of the world, pushed the Android 4.2 OTA update for the Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 7, released the updated binaries and Android 4.2 factory images for all the devices, and lastly, pushed the latest version of Android to AOSP.
Google’s lead AOSP engineer – Jean Baptiste Quèru – also announced that beginning with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, Google will be ending support for the Nexus S and the Motorola XOOM. This means that both these devices will not be getting any future updates from Google including the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update. This should not really come as a surprise since both these devices have been in the market for nearly 2 years or more. Even then, both these devices are actually running a much more newer version of Android compared to majority of the Android devices out there.
The surprising news, however, is the lack of support for the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 7 3G variant in AOSP. It was initially presumed that the Nexus 4 lacks LTE so that it could be AOSP-compliant, but it looks like Google is yet to convince Qualcomm to open-source its secret sauce! Or, Google might be facing some issues with open-sourcing the GSM stacks used in the Nexus 4 or the Nexus 7 3G variant.
Hopefully, whatever the issue be, Google will be able to solve it and support the Nexus 4 in AOSP.
The Android engineers over at Google must be having a busy day today. After rolling out the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OTA update for the Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 7, and releasing the new Nexii devices, Google has also released the factory images of Android 4.2 for the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10.
The company along pushed Android 4.2 Jelly Bean to AOSP. This means that developers can start working on integrating Android 4.2 in their ROMs.
There is a bad news, though. Android 4.2 Jelly Bean will not be available for the Nexus S and the Motorola XOOM. Both these devices will remain on Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, and will not be supported henceforth in future AOSP releases.
Apart from all this, Google has also made the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean SDK and NDK available for download for app developers. Last, but not the least, Google also updated the Device Art Generator to add support for the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10.
Recently, Samsung has received a lot of criticism from the Android modding community and developers for the relatively closed source nature of its Exynos platform. The Exynos platform powers all the high-end products from Samsung including the Galaxy S3 and the Note 2, and the closed source nature of the platform hinders development for these devices.
After a lot of complaints and negative feedback, Samsung promised that it is looking into the situation of open-sourcing its Exynos platform.
Today, the company announced via its Twitter account that it will be open-sourcing the “integrated source code” of its Exynos 4 family of processors by the end of 2012. The company will also setup a git server which will be available to the public by November 2012.
Don’t jump to any conclusions and start praising Samsung here. The company will only be open-sourcing the source code for its OrigenBoard development board. The problem is that CyanogenMod developers still need the source code for other parts of the phone such as the Yamaha audio chip on the Galaxy S2, the Camera on the S3 and more to get a stable AOSP ROM on the S3 and the S2.
Until and unless Samsung open-sources or release AOSP compatible binaries for other closed source parts used on its handsets, getting a stable AOSP ROM on Exynos powered Samsung devices is going to be quite a challenge for developers.
A few weeks ago, Android Open Source Project (AOSP) Technical Leader, Jean-Baptiste Queru, decided to conduct an experiment of adding support for the Xperia S in AOSP. This is the first time that efforts are being made to include support for a non-Nexus device in AOSP.
The CyanogenMod team and other developers immediately started helping Jean with in this experiment. Today, Sony is also extending their help to the CM team, JBQ and his experiment by releasing all the closed sourced binaries of the Xperia S to public. In addition to all the binaries (drivers), Sony is also assigning one of its lead software engineers, Björn Andersson, to lead this project from the Japanese company’s side.
According to Sony, thanks to the binaries and the AOSP code, the Xperia S will now be able to boot up to the home screen without any issues. However, this does not mean that the Xperia S can run AOSP Android builds without any issues. The experiment is still in infancy with a lot of work still to be done. There is still no guarantee that the Xperia S will ever get proper support from AOSP and this experiment will be a success, but it is still good to see the whole of the Android community come together and work on this exciting experiment.
Good news for all Android ROM developers out there. Google has released the source code of Jelly Bean in AOSP under the branch ‘jb-dev’. Considering that the OTA update for Jelly Bean is still not out, it is nice to see Google release the source code before that. Also, the Jelly Bean version pushed to AOSP is slightly newer than the preview build that Google had released back at I/O 2012 – Android 4.1.1 vs 4.1.
The release of source code means that owners of Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S and XOOM can create a stock Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean build right from AOSP, and install it on their phone. Most importantly, source code will allow developers to work on Jelly Bean based custom ROMs. The CM team has already confirmed that CM10 will be based on Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean, and will support all the devices that ran Ice Cream Sandwich. The CM team also stated today that CM10 nightlies will not start rolling out immediately. They will start rolling out once the CM team manages to merge all the changes in Jelly Bean properly, without breaking anything.
Last week, Google confirmed that the Nexus S 4G is now fully supported in AOSP. Today, Google has posted all the binaries for the “toro” Galaxy Nexus a.k.a the CDMA variant of the handset. This puts the CDMA variant of the Galaxy Nexus at the same level of support in AOSP as the GSM version.This does not mean that Verizon will roll-out OTA updates quicker for the phone. Instead, users can always compile a build themselves from AOSP and install it on their phone.
The CyanogenMod team has finally released the first Release Candidate (RC1) of CM9 for a bunch of devices. The CM team had been rolling out CM9 nightlies for quite a few months now, but it was only recently that the team did a code freeze so as to prepare for a stable CM9 release.
It has been exactly 225 days (and counting) that Android 4.0 hit AOSP and the CM team began work on the next major version of the most popular custom ROM in the world. Unlike CM7 though, the CM team had to drop support for a lot of devices because they lacked the horsepower to run Ice Cream Sandwich smoothly. While CM7.2 supported more than 80+ devices, CM9 RC1 supports around 50 Android devices. There are quite a few more devices for which CM9 nightlies are available, but the code did not pass the CM team’s quality check and thus no RC build were released for them.
If there is a release candidate version of CM9 available for your Android device, go ahead and flash it now. If you encounter any bugs, you can report them over at the official issue tracker. The RC1 builds for different devices can be downloaded from get.cm.
CM9 brings with it quite a lot of new features and tweaks over stock Android 4.0.4, including performance improvements, new lockscreen music control, navigation bar customization for Galaxy Nexus owners, better battery life, toggle widgets in the notification bar and much more.
Just in case you didn’t know, Android is built atop the Linux kernel. A few patches here, a few branches there, pepper in some code, and Android was created. Unfortunately a lot of the patches were never sent upstream, this means some of the hard work done by the engineers at Google never made it out of the phones and into desktop or server hardware. The Android Mainlining Project aims to solve this.
Greg Kroah-Hartman, head of the Linux Driver Project, has created a new project with 3 major goals in mind.
To allow a developer to use the latest released version of the Linux kernel to run an Android system, without requiring patches to their kernel.
To make it possible to develop drivers and board support features against either an Android kernel release or a kernel.org kernel release, with little or no modifications or conditional code.
To reduce or eliminate the burden of maintaining independent patches from release to release for Android kernel developers.
This means all the Android-specific code that was purposely left out of kernel releases, will now be easier to implement and merge with the development branch of the 3.3 kernel. Systems like Android’s logging, low memory kills and wakelock power management will be branched-in, allowing for more hardware access to third party boards and systems with memory or power restraints.
In an e-mail to the Embedded Linux Kernel mailing-list, Tim Bird, Architecture Group Chair, CE Workgroup of the Linux Foundation, states that the project was born after discussion and re-evaluation code from Android. With a current stable kernel of 3.19, mainline at 3.2-rc7, there are only a few dot-releases before the project aims to be completed.
Numerous volunteers have signed up for the project, and many have started to contribute patches and code for smooth integration. Without support from Google and AOSP, it’s highly unlikely that both kernels will ever reach parity, but this is quite an excellent start in order to bridge the gap and create a unified kernel that will benefit all users.
Surprise Surprise! Google has just pushed the much-awaited Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich source code to AOSP. Rumors earlier suggested that the ICS code will hit AOSP on the same as the Galaxy Nexus becomes available to the public i.e. on November 17th. Notion Ink’s CEO – Shravan – also said the same the thing in a blog post.
However, Google gave all the ROM developers a big surprise by pushing the code to AOSP, before the Galaxy Nexus retail availability.
What does this mean to us, normal Android handset users, you ask? Well, thanks to the ICS code going public, developers can now start working on bringing Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich based ROMs to your handsets, provided the handset is capable of running it. The team behind CyanogenMod (CM) – one of the most popular AOSP based custom ROM – will also start working on releasing CM9, based on Ice Cream Sandwich, for the handsets supported by them.
Users should expect some to see some alpha builds of Ice Cream Sandwich ROMs popping up on XDA forums in a few days, or maybe hours? Interested Android developers can get the procedure to sync the Ice Cream Sandwich source code from here.