Sometimes, you can harp on a subject so much that you end up beating a dead horse. In our eyes, this is not one of those instances. Enough can’t be said for companies that take Open Source seriously, as well as their responsibility to contribute back to the very community that helps to boost adoption rates for their devices.
Sony Mobile is one of those companies that gets it. They have contributed to the open source community with their DASH code, GPLv2 adherence with their kernel source code releases, and various AOSP projects (Xperia S, Xperia Z). Now, they have added the Xperia Tablet Z to their stable of AOSP projects ahead of its worldwide release.
Sony Mobile announced on their Developer World blog today that the AOSP code for the Tablet Z is now available on their GitHub. While you’re at it, check out their video below for a demo of AOSP on the Tablet Z.
The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is Google giving the entire community (manufacturers, enthusiasts, developers, etc.) the necessary building blocks to bring what many refer to as “stock Android” (more accurately “vanilla Android”) to a device. The inherent problem with this is that the manufacturers are often the roadblock to such endeavors. Too often manufacturers (like HTC, Samsung, etc.) and suppliers (like Qualcomm) all claim that they can’t release certain drivers, and label them as “proprietary” so that no one can use them. Of course, since there’s nothing really “new” under the sun, this just serves to hinder innovation and development. And often times manufacturers will claim it’s the suppliers who are really hindering things, but who is it that chooses the suppliers? I’ll let the obvious rhetorical question be obvious.
In this mix, it’s refreshing to see a mainstream company attempt to shuck all of these trends and actually release the AOSP source for a device, with the Xperia S being the first non-Nexus device to be included in the AOSP device tree. This experiment ended on a positive note, with Sony moving the source for the Xperia S into their own managed GitHub repository. But Sony hasn’t stopped there.
While companies like Samsung, which used to be rather developer-friendly, now moving away from being open to the community, Sony instead is welcoming them with open arms. Their latest flagship device, the Xperia Z, has joined the Xperia S with having its AOSP source files available on their GitHub. They even posted a lot of information over on their Developer World blog, listing SD Card, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, LED light, and sensors working (partially), and they state plans to include NFC in the future. They also have a link to the proprietary Qualcomm binaries needed in order for this to work. You can see the video below, and visit their blog post for more information.
February 19, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Android version 4.2.2 of Jelly Bean has arrived on the Nexus line up’s door step. That can mean only one thing: It is time to cue the onslaught of mainstream technology journalist statements about the “fragmentation” of Android. They proclaim this fragmentation hurts Android, that non standardized hardware and different OEM customized versions of Android will be the downfall of Google’s mobile operating system. These people have perhaps drank a bit too much iKool-Aid.
The different options of Android handsets are what make Android a success. If I want a 5.5 inch phone screen, there is the Samsung Galaxy Note II. If I want a water and dust proof phone, there is the Sony Xperia Z. If I want a phone that I cannot unlock and has some of the most difficult bootloaders to crack, there is almost every Motorola and HTC device. In this episode XDA Developer Producer azrienoch gives us the 5 myths of the custom OEM Android software ecosystem.