Google opens up Android Ice Cream Sandwich source code

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) issued its Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich source code, available for download from its Android Open-Source Project git servers. The release includes the full history of the Android source code tree. "This is actually the source code for version 4.0.1 of Android, which is the specific version that will ship on the Galaxy Nexus, the first Android 4.0 device," writes Google software engineer Jean-Baptiste Queru on the Android Building forum. "In the source tree, you will find a device build target named 'full_maguro' that you can use to build a system image for Galaxy Nexus. Build configurations for other devices will come later. Unfortunately we still don't have our Gerrit code review servers back online. That remains our top priority though, and we hope to have them back soon."

Google courted controversy earlier this year when it restricted access to its Android 3.0 Honeycomb source code because the update was not designed for implementation across smartphones. "We did an internal trick to make the Honeycomb schedule--we took a shortcut, and didn't release it for smartphones," Google SVP of mobile Andy Rubin said during a media Q&A at company's annual I/O developer event in May. "We didn't make it open-source because we didn't want people to wedge it onto phones."

The Ice Cream Sandwich source code includes data on the Honeycomb release. "However, since Honeycomb was a little incomplete, we want everyone to focus on Ice Cream Sandwich," Queru states. "So, we haven't created any tags that correspond to the Honeycomb releases (even though the changes are present in the history.)"

Google officially unveiled Ice Cream Sandwich at an October media event. Android 4.0 delivers the tablet-optimized innovations introduced in Honeycomb to all devices running Android in an effort to reduce platform fragmentation. Google has promised that moving forward, the same version of Android will run across all devices, regardless of screen size.

Android 4.0 includes an evolved user interface making common actions more visible, enabling users to navigate using simplified, more intuitive gestures. A new typeface optimized for high-resolution screens touts enhanced readability and new animations and feedback support for more compelling interactions. Android 4.0 also touts new System Bar virtual buttons bringing instant navigation to Back, Home and Recent Apps, as well as more visual multitasking and more interactive notifications.

For more:
- read this Android Building Google Groups forum thread

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