Aside from the introduction of the Nexus 7, the big reveal out of Google I/O was the announcement of Jelly Bean. The update promised to bring speed to the Android OS with Project Butter, resulting in smooth 60fps animations and transitions, as well as some smaller tweaks. Now Google has officially released the Jelly Bean source code, merging it into the current AOSP codebase.
The hacked and completely fan-made Android-based ROM known as CyanogenMod has reached a massive 2 million installs this week, reminding us that it is far and away the most successful Android 3rd party system of all time. This update comes only a few months after CyanogenMod reached 1 million installs, the Google mobile OS-based hack growing now as what appears to be an exponential rate. The install rate is tracked by the CyanogenMod team's own CM stat tracker which shows also that the last 24 hours have had an additional 11,294 installs as well.
This week we're getting our first real glimpse of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on the unique "phablet" family with the AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note. This software has not come through traditional means, instead being pushed by hackers and excited developers wishing to bypass the process Samsung and AT&T must go through before they can update their devices officially. Have a look below at our hands-on with the device running this new tasty treat packed with Ice Cream Sandwich goodness and, barring the fear that grips you when you think of hacking, grab it for yourself!
There have been a couple of Ice Cream Sandwich leaks for the GSM version of the Samsung Galaxy Note, but they were strictly beta releases with some functionality buggy, broken, or missing. ICS updates for the Note have been promised for Q2, and we might be close to a release seeing as how a ROM was just leaked for the AT&T version of the Note.
What you're about to see is a video of a person using the international edition of the Samsung Galaxy S II with what SamMobile blog says is the first build of Ice Cream Sandwich made for the device by Samsung - what you'll notice here is not just that the device has the newest version of Android on it, but that Samsung's own custom user interface has been fully integrated. When we first saw the TouchWiz that's closest to what you're about to see, it was way back at the start of 2011 at Mobile World Congress (and the famous CTIA Philip Berne event) with the launch of the original Galaxy S II (aka the one you see here), then again in a slightly updated version here in the USA. What this represents is Samsung's continued reliance on said user interface to differentiate their products from the competition.
When you've got the opportunity to improve upon the most advanced version of a software made by one of the biggest tech companies in the entire world, you do it, and that's just what the team responsible for MIUI is doing with Google's Ice Cream Sandwich. MIUI is a ROM, aka the clothing and brains of your device, and outside the one device they've developed across the sea, the only way you can get it on your device is to hack it. What the news is today is that there's a new version in the works, one made specifically for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and like its predecessors, it'll both take all the best bits of the operating system and re-arranges them for a lovely dessert that's without compare.
The development community can make any phone live long past its manufacturer support timeline. For the HTC HD2, which features plenty of hardware to make it a stand-out device even in today's market, the fact that it wouldn't be able to be upgraded to Windows Phone 7 rubbed a lot of owners the wrong way. But, thanks to the development community, Windows Phone 7 hasn't been a complete stranger to the device. And now, thanks to Dark Forces Team (DFT) a true-to-life Windows Phone 7 ROM is available for the HD2.
Let me talk to you for a moment about a couple of the odder things that happened today, and this is outside the story you're going to hear about in the special "The Daily Slash" section you all know and love. First, there's a lot of ports, ROMS, and hacks flying around the smartphone world on a day-to-day, but today there was a rather important one surfacing: Android to iPhone. Like two rival gangs having a child together. No violence between them yet, but someone DID get shot today - a Galaxy Tab. In response, Angry Birds released 45 new levels, and someone records a UFO on an HTC EVO 4G. TRON throws a card into the hat with their 3rd giant trailer, iPhone's GLASSGATE ramps up, and all Apple handhelds grow a little tail. All this and more, today, on THE DAILY SLASH!
Since Microsoft and HTC basically confirmed that they were abandoning the HD2 in the move to Windows Phone 7, the developer community has instead turned their attention to getting a solid Android build on the 4.3-inch smartphone. Last we saw, Froyo was working on the HD2 but with some conspicuous issues; now, a new ROM promises an almost 100-percent functional experience, suitable for daily use.