The holidays just arrived early for folks who like to tinker with Android, as Google has posted the source code of its latest version of the mobile OS, code-named Ice Cream Sandwich, for public consumption.
According to Google, the version posted is 4.0.1, which is what will be shipping on the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Inside the release, developers will also find “the full history of the Android source code tree, which naturally includes all the source code for the Honeycomb releases“. Google’s announcement goes on to say that “since Honeycomb was a little incomplete, we want everyone to focus on Ice Cream Sandwich. So we haven’t created any tags that correspond to the Honeycomb releases (even though the changes are present in the history).”
Google’s release of the source code was far from inevitable. Despite the stated openness of the Android platform, the company decided against publicly circulating the source code of Honeycomb (until now). The release of Android 4.0 may indicate that Google is re-affirming its commitment to openness, although some more cynical commenters believe the release is due only to the pressure currently on Google from government regulators.
Whatever the case, good things are already happening. The crew behind CyanogenMod have already announced that they’ll be bringing Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to multiple smartphones in January 2012.
You can download the source code here.