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Android 4.0 Source.
November 14, 2011 10:01 PM   Subscribe

The source code to Android 4.0 has been released. The new OS, codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich will be coming out on phones soon, but you can download the code today (using git). The popular cyanogen mod distribution should be updated to ICS in a couple months
posted by delmoi (48 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
So, if you're wondering, part of why this is news is because the previous major release, Honeycomb, was not open sourced.
posted by ignignokt at 10:14 PM on November 14, 2011


If for some reason you still want the HC source, it is in the git tree that they released, as it is part of the history if ICS. Apparently they haven't tagged it, but I'm sure someone will figure it out. No real reason to use it with ICS out though.
posted by markr at 10:19 PM on November 14, 2011


Question for those of you who Know Things about Android: How do the different versions of Android compare regarding system requirements? For example, when the cyanogen mod people get ICS working, how is it going to perform on older phones/tablets?
posted by jcreigh at 10:30 PM on November 14, 2011


Google said they're not going to push ICS to the two-year-old Nexus One for performance reasons IIRC, so I would not expect great performance on anything.

Which makes me sad because I have a N1. With that and the way Google has been handling pseudonyms on Google Plus, I think my next phone will be an iPhone - Steve had his foibles but he never gave a damn what identity I wanted to use; if you want to call yourself "Princess Sparklepants" on the net and use Google's services, you risk all of them being turned off along with your G+ account.
posted by egypturnash at 10:38 PM on November 14, 2011


CM ICS on our Nook Color with source will be fun. Existing CM is cool, but not very tablet specific.
posted by dglynn at 10:38 PM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, now we know what egypturnash's sockpuppet account is going to be named....
posted by hippybear at 10:41 PM on November 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


how is it going to perform on older phones/tablets?

I don't think we really know yet. Previous versions have tended to be faster. 2.2 in particular introduced some big internal improvements. I've heard that 4 might be heavier. I wouldn't be surprised if older devices didn't have enough RAM to run it comfortably, and have heard that it requires not only a GPU, but specific features in that GPU, that may be missing from older phones.
posted by markr at 10:41 PM on November 14, 2011


More on older phones: From what I've heard Google are releasing it for the Nexus S, which is essentially a Samsung Galaxy S, but not the Nexus One (essentially an HTC Desire). Smart kids on the internet will probably get it working on Nexus One level hardware but they'll have their work cut out. I saw a comment from a CyanogenMod dev that if Google didn't release an N1 port they'd probably drop support for that level of hardware as there would be too much for them to do.
posted by markr at 10:47 PM on November 14, 2011


With that and the way Google has been handling pseudonyms on Google Plus, I think my next phone will be an iPhone

This doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. It's not like they're punishing N1 users, they're saying the phone isn't up to par. Same thing happens with iOS releases. The G+ thing...well I can understand just having ideological differences with a company, that's part of the reason I don't have an iPhone. That and iTunes.
posted by Roman Graves at 10:48 PM on November 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's not like they're punishing N1 users, they're saying the phone isn't up to par. Same thing happens with iOS releases.

Yup. My poor iPod Touch first gen is trapped forever at iOS 3. Anything higher than that simply won't install on it, because it's been obsoleted out of the upgrade cycle.
posted by hippybear at 10:50 PM on November 14, 2011


For the sparklepantses among us G+ will support pseudonyms
posted by Jpfed at 10:54 PM on November 14, 2011


Any chance we can avoid iPhone v Android here?
posted by markr at 10:54 PM on November 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


Google said they're not going to push ICS to the two-year-old Nexus One for performance reasons IIRC, so I would not expect great performance on anything.
But the whole thing about Android being open source is you can try it yourself. If Cyanogen mod still supports the N1 once they switch to ICS you'll be able to install it yourself.
posted by delmoi at 10:55 PM on November 14, 2011


This doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. It's not like they're punishing N1 users, they're saying the phone isn't up to par. Same thing happens with iOS releases.

Well, of course this happens for just about everything that's upgradeable. The question is, how fast.

The iPhone 3gs was released June 19, 2009. It's running iOS 5. The N1 was released on January 5, 2010 and can't be upgraded to the latest version of Android. It does make sense if you care about such things.
posted by justgary at 11:06 PM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


if you want to call yourself "Princess Sparklepants" on the net and use Google's services, you risk all of them being turned off along with your G+ account.

I'm pretty sure only G+ gets turned off, all the old stuff (gmail, blogger, analytics) will still work
posted by memebake at 12:00 AM on November 15, 2011


how is it going to perform on older phones/tablets?

I have been running iDroid on a jailbroken first-gen iPhone, a model which is not new, granted, but no slouch, even by modern standards. iDroid is a fork of Android 2.3 and Linux for iPhones. The UI runs very slowly, and the web browser crashes the phone. If Android 2.3 can't run on a four-year old phone, then 4.0 probably will not have an easier time.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:03 AM on November 15, 2011


The first gen iPhone doesn't have nearly enough memory to run Android. Hell, the 3GS doesn't.
posted by markr at 12:16 AM on November 15, 2011


The N1 was released on January 5, 2010 and can't be upgraded to the latest version of Android. It does make sense if you care about such things.

No, there's no official release. I fully expect that there'll be a third-party release. My old S-E X10 Xperia Mini Pro runs Android 2.2, which S-E reckoned was impossible to port. It's slicker than the default 2.1 release.
posted by rodgerd at 12:44 AM on November 15, 2011


What's the upgrade path for tablets like at the moment? My impression is that phone owners are at the mercy of their manufacturers and networks (I had a couple of upgrades pushed to my HTC Legend, but nothing for a few releases now) unless they're supported by cyanogenmod.

Is it the same story for tablets? Are some manufacturers better than others for releasing upgrades, or for support from the modding community?
posted by metaBugs at 2:41 AM on November 15, 2011


Are some manufacturers better than others for releasing upgrades, or for support from the modding community?

The Asus Transformer is best for both. A new one is about to come out though, so it's worth waiting to see what happens with that.
posted by jaduncan at 2:48 AM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Looking forward to trying ICS out on my cheapo phone, assuming 512mb is enough memory. May well end up grabbing one of the many cheap Xperia Plays that are knocking around and ICSing it, too, as Mrs AoK needs a new phone.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:14 AM on November 15, 2011


I suspect the problem might be your Adreno 200 graphics processor, ArmyofKittens - the Nexus S is getting ICS, and that has 512MB of RAM, but a PowerVR GPU.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:27 AM on November 15, 2011


Once there's a critical mass of ancient android handsets out there, lightweight distros or alternate OSs will start appearing, the way they did for old Unix workstations and servers. NetBSD and Linux have extended the life of many a computer well beyond the due-by date.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:33 AM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aye, it's the weediest bit. I know people were planning to attempt the port; lord knows how it'll run, though. I have a full backup of the 2.3 image on there now so I'll throw it on when/if it's done and see what happens!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:35 AM on November 15, 2011


The reason the lack of support for the Nexus S is annoying as hell is because you have a new OS release that is incompatible with a phone whose 2-year contract isn't over yet for their owners. Having software is unsupported with a phone whose contract is not fully paid off yet is seriously messed up.
posted by amuseDetachment at 4:43 AM on November 15, 2011


I love Android but am increasingly annoyed at all the crappy shovelware and lock-downs that the manufacturers keep putting on phones. My HTC Incredible 2 is a wonderful piece of hardware and Gingerbread is great underneath but it's got a crappy HTC shell and a ton of junk Verizon apps. Plus they lock the bootloader, tethering and Wifi hotspots. There are ways around the bootloader so when I have some free time, I'm defiantly putting Cyanogen on it. Not sure if I'll wait until the ICS build comes out or just put 7 on there.
posted by octothorpe at 4:51 AM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The reason the lack of support for the Nexus S is annoying as hell is because you have a new OS release that is incompatible with a phone whose 2-year contract isn't over yet for their owners.

An ICS upgrade for the Nexus S was announced as being weeks away in late October - there's an ICS build on xda-developers at the moment...
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:13 AM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love Android but am increasingly annoyed at all the crappy shovelware and lock-downs that the manufacturers keep putting on phones.

Heartily seconded. I love the freedom that comes with Android, but without the desire/ability to customize the phones yourself they're often terrible. I bought a Samsung Captivate that I now love thanks to the various ROMs I've put on it (mostly one called Mosaic), but when I bought it the thing was a hunk of shit, and virtually impossible to upgrade to 2.2 even once the update was released.
posted by Roman Graves at 5:29 AM on November 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Once there's a critical mass of ancient android handsets out there, lightweight distros or alternate OSs will start appearing, the way they did for old Unix workstations and servers.

I'm not convinced this will happen, but I totally hope it does.
posted by box at 6:09 AM on November 15, 2011


Ice Cream what?
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:27 AM on November 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


box, that's already happening: for one thing there are other mods, apart from cyanogen, which have essentially forked the source of the older Android versions; for another thing, you can already install Debian and Ubuntu inside Android, although not on the bare metal.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:31 AM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


For whatever it's worth, people have gotten ICS to run on a Droid Incredible (which is very similar hardware-wise to a Nexus One) before the source dropped. So far, it boots....and that's about it, although things do appear to be promising so far.

I believe the N1 folks have also gotten ICS to boot on their hardware, and have made more progress getting it to actually do useful things.
posted by schmod at 6:34 AM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I remember correctly, the HTC Incredible was one of a very small number of HTC phones to come with a locked bootloader. After the negative reaction, they said all phones after that would have unlocked/unlockable bootloaders. And, IIRC, most but not all of the major Android makers did the same about the same time.
posted by K.P. at 6:45 AM on November 15, 2011


K.P.: "If I remember correctly, the HTC Incredible was one of a very small number of HTC phones to come with a locked bootloader"

Fortunately, unlocking it is basically a one-click process if you've got a PC handy.
posted by schmod at 6:50 AM on November 15, 2011


The iPhone 3gs was released June 19, 2009. It's running iOS 5. The N1 was released on January 5, 2010 and can't be upgraded to the latest version of Android. It does make sense if you care about such things.

That's mainly because Apple is still selling new 3GS phones. Can you imagine people buying a two year old phone with a two year contract? Crazy. And Apple is going to have a real hard time porting iOS 6 to those phones.
posted by smackfu at 6:52 AM on November 15, 2011


The iPhone 3gs was released June 19, 2009. It's running iOS 5. The N1 was released on January 5, 2010 and can't be upgraded to the latest version of Android. It does make sense if you care about such things.

Not only that, the 3rd generation iPod Touch was released on September 9, 2009, and it got a crippled iOS 4 and didn't get iOS 5. Granted the Android software upgrade situation is pretty bad, but Apple could also do a lot better.
posted by zixyer at 7:10 AM on November 15, 2011


The iPhone 3gs was released June 19, 2009. It's running iOS 5. The N1 was released on January 5, 2010 and can't be upgraded to the latest version of Android. It does make sense if you care about such things.

It's running a pared-back, limited version of iOS 5. That sort of crippled functionality can't be said to be a full install.
posted by kafziel at 9:12 AM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Plus they lock the bootloader, tethering and Wifi hotspots.

Well, wierdly enough Sony-Ericsson went from being one of the worst for that to one of the best with the 2011 Xperias.
posted by rodgerd at 11:15 AM on November 15, 2011


The reason the lack of support for the Nexus S is annoying as hell is because you have a new OS release that is incompatible with a phone whose 2-year contract isn't over yet for their owners. Having software is unsupported with a phone whose contract is not fully paid off yet is seriously messed up.

While I can sort of see the logic in this, I am somewhat conflicted in my sympathies. I don't think the release of ICS will mean that older phones that can't run it are unsupported (that's a manufacturer thing anyway). If the phone doesn't do what you want it to when you buy it, then you bought the wrong phone. Of course, if it stops functioning, for some upgrade-related reason, then that's a whole 'nother matter.

So why is there such a premium placed on future proofing phones? Sure, everyone want the latest and greatest bits and pieces, and it's nice when upgrades turn up, but are you really buying a phone *and* upgrades for its OS for the next couple of years, guaranteed, when you buy a phone? I don't remember seeing that on the box. I'm a bit of a smartphone newbie, though, so I could be wrong.
posted by Sparx at 11:49 AM on November 15, 2011


"how is it going to perform on older phones/tablets?"

Frankly, it is an OS designed not only for a different performance spec, but also for a different phone design than most Android smartphones currently on the market.

Specifically... bigger, wider display screens, with virtual keyboards, and front and rear-mounted cameras for videoconferencing.

If you don't have a phone that fits that design, then most of the real benefits of ICS are going to be lost on you, really.
posted by markkraft at 12:34 PM on November 15, 2011


That's mainly because Apple is still selling new 3GS phones.

Where by selling you actually mean giving away free with a new contract.

Can you imagine people buying a two year old phone with a two year contract? Crazy. And Apple is going to have a real hard time porting iOS 6 to those phones.

People that go for the free phone probably aren't interested in upgrading the OS. They're more interested in free. Considering that just a few years ago I had to pay 99 bucks for a crappy razr dumb phone, I'd say getting a 3GS for free is a considerable upgrade.

It's running a pared-back, limited version of iOS 5. That sort of crippled functionality can't be said to be a full install.

No it can't, but it's more than getting nothing, right? The idea that a two year old phone is going to get the latest and greatest is fantasy, so pointing that out seems obvious. There's no front facing camera on the 3GS, so no face time. No siri. But my favorite part of iOS 5 is the notification center, and the 3GS does get that:

And then there is the new stuff. Notifications are a dream come true. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using the new options with the camera. I’ve actually been setting and adhering to Reminders I set on my phone. Photo Stream has worked as it should. Syncing has been headache free.

In summary, I can’t complain. This was not the experience I was expecting after hearing about all of the horror stories from iPhone 3G owners upgrading to iOS 4. In fact, the experience has been so good that I am thinking about passing on the iPhone 4S.


------

but are you really buying a phone *and* upgrades for its OS for the next couple of years, guaranteed, when you buy a phone?

Guaranteed? You're not guaranteed that the company you buy X from will even be around tomorrow, so of course not. But at this point, if you want the longest support possible for your smart phone, without taking matters into your own hands (different type user), the iPhone is your better choice. There's plus and minuses to both platforms (Apple / google-android), but on that front, other than nitpicking (it's limited IOS 5!), I'm not sure where the debate is.
posted by justgary at 1:05 PM on November 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


> That's mainly because Apple is still selling new 3GS phones. Can you imagine people buying a two year old phone with a two year contract? Crazy. And Apple is going to have a real hard time porting iOS 6 to those phones.

As opposed to AT&T and other carriers still selling phone that will never be able to update to ICS ever?

You can go into numerous cell carriers right now and buy an out of date Android phone that you can no longer get software updates for unless you jailbreak it. Seriously, they are selling devices that are pretty much useless in terms of feature update wise and security patches.

Right now every iPhone you can buy new through Apple or cell carrier can be updated to a currently supported version of iOS and receive updates. Not held back because of carriers (apple decides when to issue updates). The 3G, which is not supported by iOS 5, was dropped from AT&T and Apple's sales options a few months before the iOS release. They still have them in stock for warrantied replacements of existing devices, however.

Apple has consistently ensured that each iPhone can run major system versions for three years after it's initial release. Which is much more than any android phone vendor can say so far, since it requires getting google to release the code, the vendors to port / update it for their hardware, and then the carriers to sign off on it. The vendors and carriers, who make no money off the android market place, have no incentive to be able to add new features to old handsets since making it easy to sell more apps to more people (which is what makes good app developers want to publish for your platform) doesn't make them anymore money. What does make them more money is making folks buy new phones when they want new features, and adding on more time to their contracts to extract long term revenue from them.
posted by mrzarquon at 1:41 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


For example, when the cyanogen mod people get ICS working, how is it going to perform on older phones/tablets?

Cyanogen Mods are generally device-specific. If a device doesn't meet the minimum tech specs (or has some other weird thing that would be a PITA to work around) it doesn't get a Cyanogen release.
posted by coolguymichael at 1:44 PM on November 15, 2011


I love Android but am increasingly annoyed at all the crappy shovelware and lock-downs that the manufacturers keep putting on phones.

Buy a Nexus.
posted by coolguymichael at 1:46 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Still no low-latency audio after more than two years, according to the last comment in that thread. It makes for a really pathetic paucity of sound-creation apps on Android, which from a practical standpoint seems like it would be a significant draw for customers. This sort of cements my impression that Android is deeply shitty in the nuts-and-bolts department, which is disappointing because in every other respect it seems like a no-brainer to choose Android over iOS.
posted by invitapriore at 2:23 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Barnes & Noble fights Microsoft's Android patent trolling
I suppose patent trolling is one growth direction to keep the shareholders happy.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:28 PM on November 15, 2011


I suspect the problem might be your Adreno 200 graphics processor, ArmyofKittens - the Nexus S is getting ICS, and that has 512MB of RAM, but a PowerVR GPU.

You realise 2.3 almost entirely fails to take advantage of the GPU, right? 4.0 may have more whizzy bits, but the ability to offload to the GPU likely means even a lower-end GPU will be a net win.

I'm happy that S-E have announced they'll be shipping ICS for the 2011 Xperias, which is a big turn around from their crappy support for the X10s. Given the spec of most of the 2011 generation is a 1GHz CPU alongside an Adreno 205 and 512 MB of RAM, I would expect that to indicate ICS will work nicely on a whole raft of phones.
posted by rodgerd at 12:28 AM on November 16, 2011


You realise 2.3 almost entirely fails to take advantage of the GPU, right? 4.0 may have more whizzy bits, but the ability to offload to the GPU likely means even a lower-end GPU will be a net win.

You'd think, certainly - but on the other hand the Nexus One is not getting an official ICS upgrade. Since the Nexus S and the Nexus One actually have a lot in common, in spec terms, the specific qualities of the Adreno 200 might be an issue - especially in light of the Sony announcement re: phones with the same processor speed and RAM but an Adreno 205 rather than a 200. See markr, above.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:13 AM on November 16, 2011


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