Google releases Android Jelly Bean source code

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Less than two weeks after unveiling the latest version of its Android mobile operating system, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has released the underlying source code for third-party modification.

Google issued Android 4.1 (a.k.a. Jelly Bean) to the Android Open Source Project Monday under the name android-4.1.1_r1. "We recommend that you create new clients, even if you're working in the master branch. It'll make your clients smaller and faster to sync," writes AOSP technical lead Jean-Baptiste Queru in a post to the Android Building group. "Proprietary binaries are available for Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus. Nexus S and Xoom will follow."

Asked when over-the-air Android Jelly Bean software updates will arrive, Queru responded "There are no ETAs for OTAs," adding "From my Open Source seat, I don't have any direct involvement in individual retail updates, so I really can't provide any information about updates to devices." Another post asked about the likelihood that older Android devices might upgrade to Android Jelly Bean, prompting Queru to state "That's fundamentally a question for the carriers and OEMs who support those devices, so I can't answer it."

Google launched Android Jelly Bean at its annual I/O developer conference last month. The update promises a smoother and more responsive UI across the system, highlighted by triple buffering in the graphics pipeline for more consistent rendering as well as synchronized touch to reduce latency. Jelly Bean also brings a revamped homescreen that automatically adapts to fit content and a predictive keyboard.

New developer APIs introduced with Android 4.1 include expandable notifications supporting larger, richer user alerts that can be expanded or collapsed with a pinch; simplified Bluetooth-based data transfer via Android Beam; bi-directional text support; gesture mode for accessibility services; low-level access to platform hardware and software codecs; Wi-Fi Direct service discoverability; and network bandwidth management tools including tethering to a mobile hotspot.

Samsung Electronics has confirmed it will upgrade a number of devices to run Android Jelly Bean, including the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus. The manufacturer has stated it will "soon announce which additional devices are eligible for the Jelly Bean update." Many of Samsung's biggest rivals have not yet made their upgrade plans clear, however.

For more:
- read this Android Build group thread

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