Google releases Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich source code - Update
Google has released the source code to Android 4.0 – also known as Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) – as it promised when it launched the newest version of the mobile operating system. Google's Jean-Baptiste Queru, Software engineer on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), announced on the Android Building Google Group that the source code was being pushed to the repositories. He noted that what is actually being pushed is the source code for Android 4.0.1 as that is the specific version of Android that will ship in the coming weeks on the ICS-enabled Galaxy Nexus smartphone.
Although the repositories will also contain the source code of Android 3.x, Honeycomb, it will be scattered through the history of the various files. Honeycomb was not released as open source because, according to Google, the company took numerous shortcuts in the development of the tablet version of Android. The Google developers are not globally tagging (marking in the history) the 3.x releases of Android in the repository. Queru said: "since Honeycomb was a little incomplete, we want everyone to focus on Ice Cream Sandwich", though he later backed off on this position slightly saying he was considering tagging some of the 3.2.x release in the frameworks to help developers.
Android 4.0 has been designed to re-unify the fragmented Android tablet and phone support with one version of the operating system addressing both form factors. Other improvements in ICS include new APIs for spelling, social network support, and access to the calendar. Support for sharing data using NFC or using Wi-Fi Direct is also included.
The ICS source code release currently builds for the Galaxy Nexus, but other devices are expected to be added to the official repositories in the coming weeks, and third party developers can begin creating custom ROMs for their selected devices now. The availability of the source code before any device has been released is a considerable improvement on previous source code releases and hopefully sets the pattern for future revisions and editions of Android.
General instructions for downloading the source tree are available and, according to Queru, the checkout command for ICS should be
repo init -u https://android.googlesource.com/platform/manifest \
At the time of writing, the code is still be being synchronised on the servers at Google and the developers ask for patience while the process completes.
Update - Jean-Baptiste Queru has announced that Google's servers are now synchronised and developers can now sync and download Ice Cream Sandwich from them freely.