As if it wasn't already news, Apple announ...Android 5.1 is officially launching today. While the latest version already made its debut on a few Android One phones, the rest of us have been (impatiently) waiting for our chance to check it out on some Nexus hardware. We're still looking for OTA packages and factory images, but it looks like Google is already busy uploading the source code to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).
Update, January 4th: Um, Google? Those mildly creepy spam posts are back, once again making the Android bug tracker nearly unusable with hundreds of flooded messages. Perhaps you'd like to consider putting a permanent block on the single phone number that's appearing on every post... unless you really do need a "Love Marriage Specialist in Jaipur."
Update, December 30th: It looks like Google has cleared all of the spam bug reports from the system.
Now that most of the critical issues have been worked out of Android 5.0 Lollipop, most of the releases are going to center around cleaning up less pressing oversights and taking care of bugs. However, it seems that we're still not quite through with the device-specific fixes as an update is now rolling out to the 2012 Nexus 7 (Wi-Fi), codenamed Grouper. No official changelog has been posted, but Al Sutton has compiled a list from the AOSP commits, giving us a pretty good insight into what's new.
Sony hasn't always been the best at updating its phones, but the company does have a commitment to AOSP unlike most others. It contributes a lot of code to Android, and developers are encouraged to tinker with unlocked devices. In fact, Sony has just announced support for AOSP on the Xperia E3 and Xperia T3, meaning all Qualcomm-based phones from 2014 can run pure Android with very little hassle.
Android 5.0.1 began rolling out to devices and AOSP just a few days ago, and now we've got a changelog from Al Sutton to give us some insight into what has changed. This is the first version bump since the Android 5.0 landed, putting an end to the initial stage of build releases, which are often used to fix hardware specific issues and catastrophic bugs. There are still some fixes for individual devices, but some of the bigger bugs have been squashed, as well.
There have been whispers about an impending update to Android 5.0.1 for a little while now, and it looks like Google has begun pushing the new release to AOSP now.
The build being pushed right now is LRX22C. We've heard that Android 5.0.1 will also be coming to Android Wear, a possibility corroborated by Derek Ross, who points out dramatically improved battery life for Google's wearables. The update is also supposed to fix a variety of issues with the initial 5.0 builds, but in the absence of factory images or OTAs (for now), all we can do is wait for the push to complete and look around for any goodies.
Sony's back to its AOSP tricks, working to release some functional (if not exactly ideal) versions of the latest release of Android based on open-source code. This time they've quickly put together Android Open Source Project builds for the flagships of the last two years: the Xperia Z1, Z2, and Z3. You can see the bone-stock builds running in the video below.
As always with Sony's developer promotions, these builds aren't intended for end users - they aren't provided with any kind of promise for reliability or functionality.
No release of Android feels complete until it's sitting in AOSP. The time has come and Google is now uploading Lollipop to the Android Open Source Project. That's every line of code, every resource, and every config file – the result of a year of work by Google's crack team of developers. Given the likely size of this release and everything we've seen in the past, this code dump could take several hours to complete.
Ever since we first took a look at Motorola's Nexus 6 (and subsequently saw it leaked and finally announced) there's been a question about that blue and white icon in the dock. We learned directly from Google that it would be a new app called Messenger, that sounds like it will - for all intents and purposes - replace the AOSP messaging app that used to appear on stock devices.
Sony's relationship with "pure" Android is an interesting one. As a company they generally make it easy to root or otherwise modify their phones or tablets, with a few notable qualifiers. The AOSP for Xperia project, which provides the basic tools for building standard Android ROMs on popular devices, is also one way that Sony stays relevant for those who buy phones with the intent to add aftermarket software. Today it gets two new flagship options, the older Xperia Z1 and Z2.