Just minutes ago we posted about the discovery of an Android 4.4.3 changelog in AOSP and we've already found some interesting information. Among the individual project repositories, there are a few dedicated to Google-supported devices, mostly those in the Nexus family. In particular, we came across new references to an HTC device codenamed "Flounder," and another device belonging to Google with the name "Molly." This is the first time that these names have appeared in AOSP.
This isn't the first time we've heard of Flounder. Just yesterday the name popped up on the Chromium Issue Tracker
where it was also identified with the name Volantis. Google commonly identifies its devices with two codenames: one for the device named after a type of fish, and the mainboard, which lacks a specific pattern (eg. the 2012 Nexus 7 was known as both 'grouper' and 'nakasi').
Image Credit: Myce.com
The connection extends further to a tip we received early this year. A reliable source suggested HTC would be manufacturing a device with the name Volantis. At the time, the information called for for the device to be equipped with an 8.9" display and running stock Android; but it was never clear if the device would join the Nexus, GPE, or Android Silver family. Another likely connection comes to us from Digitimes Research, which posted a rumor in March that Google was possibly planning to ship an 8.9" Nexus tablet that would go into mass production in July. The proposed specs would include a 2k screen resolution and a price point around $299. The appearance of Flounder as an actual device in AOSP is enough to make us feel pretty confident that this rumor has some weight behind it.
f6f0fe7 flounder: fix KGDB port
d9a03bc flounder: take out conservative cpufreq governor a.o. extraneous stuff
091c1c1 flounder: add Power HAL
6090a06 flounder: update kernel prebuilt
Unlike Flounder, this is the first time we're catching sight of the name Molly. While we don't have any outside information to connect any known rumors to this device, there are a lot of good reasons to believe this device is Android TV. To begin with, the KeyguardService service is intentionally disabled by: "Stub out KeyguardService for molly to prevent it". Effectively, this is removing the lockscreen, which certainly wouldn't be done on a phone or tablet. There are also several references to CastV1, PlayReady, stagefrieght, and various other media codecs. Finally, it uses a Marvell SoC, which is popular in set top boxes. While nothing here strictly precludes this device from belonging to another form factor, it seems to be an obvious fit for Android TV.
60f0dd6 molly: keystore: add keystore hal
1dcb7b7 molly: correcting too wide permissions for certain devnodes
eadd23b molly: set permissions for nvhost-msenc
c554447 [molly][drm] Implement rules for Discretix module
787e5e7 Fix the file permission for mbtchar0
fe0c51a Update releasetools.py to support separate prod and test key bootloaders
e610c57 Set BT minor code to SET_TOP_BOX instead of HIFI.
5d64459 molly: Do not init p2p for wlan0 interface
c0626ba Disable throughput hinting for gpu frequency scaler.
81386aa Update kernel
11ab4e9 Update kernel
9d7bca3 Update kernel
bea8097 Update kernel
55591db Update kernel
342aa11 Update kernel
481e0a6 Update kernel:
b904ad3 Update kernel
4d2f31f Update kernel
dc305ba Update kernel
d508d83 Update kernel
5668370 Update kernel
3b7f2db Add the AndroidMediaShell component to the Molly build in klp-dev.
0c56c7d Disable Bluetooth OPP profile on Molly
01ac6f9 Update fih-bootloader that is signed with production keys.
240540b molly: add missing stagefright encoder codecs
588532e molly: add libstagefright_soft_amrnbenc to the build
b98e1d0 keystore: add keystore engine library
a54a8cb Update bootloader to version 1022564
22cefdf [drm] Update discretix libs
40cf35a Update bootloader to version 1014191
15f77cb Update bootloader to version 1014191
591e174 [drm] Update Discretix PlayReady Files
db7ce35 Update bemote firmware to D1TMQ
73cc467 Update bootloader to version 993733
1ae78f3 [molly][drm] Upload Discretix files for PlayReady
9914319 Add cmdline odie_test
f47da7c Update bootloader to 970750
235b979 Update from Nvidia 1.7.2014 drop
a9d2fca Update bootloader to 968589
5922e78 Update DL1 test station kernel.
98d26c5 [molly] Protect against invalid Bemote sample rate.
00c0352 update marvell 8797 firmware
8712b3e Update bootloaders to 948307
f0b7ba7 Update molly build script to remove HubBroker and add CastV1
0ecbd48 Update liboemcrypto
98b702d Remove unused releasetools.py
c8b0884 Update bootloaders for prod and test keys fused devices to 944402
095068b Added setting so that molly BT is on by default
ab79b5e Revert "Special transition bootloader ota for test-key devices, version mollyCC6MM"
64363f7 Go back to bootloader CAVI8
6afcff8 Special transition bootloader ota for test-key devices, version mollyCC6MM
fa4e44a sign.sh : separate pkc and ota signing option
54e24e1 Added setting so that molly wifi is on by default
0504780 Update bemote firmware to CC3LM
63f8569 [libaudio][molly] Restrict access to Bemote mic
ff16454 b/11690622 Stub out KeyguardService for molly to prevent it
ee42e54 Fix build
d19b03c Added recent app switcher overlay in SystemUI
34bae3b Enable double click on home to launch recent app switcher for Molly
be6f9de camera: make the UVC camera the default camera configuration
These are obviously speculations, but the available evidence is fairly compelling. An HTC-made Nexus tablet isn't surprising given previous rumors that the company was interested in retrying its proverbial hand at tablets. The connection to Android TV is a little bit more tenuous, but the timing is too perfect to deny the likelihood. In either case, these little hints give us a good reason to be optimistic about upcoming hardware announcements.
We'll keep combing through the changelog for more exciting tidbits!