Though I was not expecting this release to arrive this early, Google has taken a bold step to release the source code of their new born baby, the Ice Cream Sandwich. What this means is that we will begin to see the ICS ported to numerous devices unofficially. The release also contains Honeycomb’s source code but developers are advised to focus on Android 4.0 since Honeycomb was incomplete.
In the words of Jean-Baptiste M. “JBQ” Queru – (a Google Software Engineer):
This is actually the source code for version 4.0.1 of Android, which is the specific version that will ship on the Galaxy Nexus, the first Android 4.0 device. In the source tree, you will find a device build target named “full_maguro” that you can use to build a system image for Galaxy Nexus. Build configurations for other devices will come later.
He further stated:
This release includes the full history of the Android source code tree, which naturally includes all the source code for the Honeycomb releases. However, 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.)
This is the first time that Google will be releasing the tablet version of the Android OS. It is also commendable that this is coming before the availability of the first ICS device. With this, third party developers will begin to build custom ROMs.