Google’s I/O conference brought little in the way of surprise, but still presented aficionados of the Big G with plenty to get excited about. As well as the Nexus 7 tablet, which has seen an uprising in talk of a smaller iPad (a device which, as yet, hasn’t been proved to be in development), Google also announced Android Jelly Bean (4.1), the successor to the rather tasty Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) operating system.
As a result of the conference, many developers have suffered from the so-called "itchy finger," desperate to get their paws on the new OS, and as somebody who likes to dabble with any mobile OS, I’m pleased to reveal that the day has finally arrived.
Jean-Baptiste Queru, the Technical Lead of the Android Open Source Project, has revealed the news that Android 4.1 has been released in AOSP today, under the name "android-4.1.1_r1." For the sake of clarification, the name of the development branch is jb-dev, and anybody looking to sink their teeth into the release is advised to create new clients. Even if you’re working in the master branch, your clients will be a great deal smaller and faster to sync if you create new ones.
At the time of writing, proprietary binaries are available only for the recently barred Galaxy Nexus and the newly-announced Nexus 7 tablet, although the popular Nexus S and Xoom devices will soon join the party.
The release of the source code will certainly unlock new possibilities, although it’s up to the developers to decide exactly what these possibilities may be. The Android community, above any other mobile ecosystem, benefits greatly from its community, with many developers willing to put in additional time in order to enhance the experience for themselves and others. Anybody affiliated with Android (be it a developer or an end-user) should be stoked about this news, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on the Google Groups in order to catch any further developments.
Ice Cream Sandwich may have dragged its heels in making an impression on the Android community, but it appears Google won’t be making the same mistakes again with Jelly Bean.