With Android being the great big bag of open source love (usually!) that it is, we always knew this would happen, but it is worth noting anyway.
Google has now made Android 4.0.3 available as part of the Android Open Source Project, according to the Google’s Jean-Baptiste Queru.
From a straight AOSP, it works on Galaxy Nexus (the ones sold with mysid and yakju builds), on Motorola Xoom (US variants), and on Nexus S (all variants). Proprietary binaries will soon be available for those devices at the usual location.
The fact that the built works on the big devices is also worth noting, with both smartphones and tablets alike able to take advantage of the move to release the source code.
The release of the Android 4.0.3 source code means that developers and general code-writing types can now set about building custom ROMs based on the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system. That is a pretty big thing if you are waiting for the likes of CyanogenMod to give you a way out of the often despised skins that carriers and device manufacturers insist on adding to Android.
Android 4.0.3 is the newest of Google’s latest and greatest release of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich. Bringing both the tablet and smartphone versions of Android together into one release, Ice Cream Sandwich is seen as a chance for Google’s Android to really compete with Apple’s iOS in the user interface stakes. Until now, Android has been seen as the geekier option of the two, with the user interface and experience lacking a certain fineness. Google seems to have succeeded in changing that with Ice Cream Sandwich.
Now we wait and see what the independent replacement ROM creators make of this latest build of Ice Cream Sandwich, with their ROMs giving people an option above and beyond that their carriers or manufacturers are willing to offer.
Obviously Google’s fans will point to the release of this source code when ridiculing Apple for its refusal to do the same. The war between the open source advocates and Apple will just not go away, and don’t expect to any time soon.