It's not unusual to see slightly customized builds of Android rolling out to Nexus devices shortly after the release of a new version. It certainly happened a few times with KitKat, and it looks like Lollipop is on track to do the same. As the rush of factory images and OTAs roll out, AOSP is also receiving commits for the new device-specific builds; and Al Sutton was quick to put out changelogs for each version.
Early yesterday, Google began pushing the complete source code for Android 5.0 Lollipop to AOSP. The code drop was so large that the operation continued to run through the night and into the following day. But, it is finally done. For those that are determined to compile their own build of Android, it's a good time to get your downloads started. However, for the rest of us that are just interested in a more detailed list of changes than what Google has already shown to us, we can turn to the developer changelog generated by Al Sutton of Funky Android.
A couple of days ago, AOSP was graced with a series of freshly created "l-preview" branches and a massive push of brand new code. As we know now, quite a bit of that code push wasn't truly representative of the L developer preview. (Very sneaky, Google.) Most of the truly new updates belonged to GPL-licensed projects, which Google is obligated to release in a timely fashion. The remaining projects with "l-preview" branches were filled with a recent snapshot from the Master branch.
An unexpected treat came zooming out of Google HQ today as Android 4.4.4 OTAs and factory images have started rolling out for Nexus devices. The updates have already been posted to AOSP and Al Sutton quickly followed up with a list of the changes. Since 4.4.3 is only 2 weeks old, and I/O is merely a week away, we had a feeling this was just a security update, and it looks like that's all it is.
Unless you blacked out all of the news from yesterday to avoid a deluge of stories about what has been happening in Cupertino, you probably caught wind that there's a brand new update to Android. Whether you're manually installing the latest OTA or going all out with the factory images, you might be interested to know what is actually different. Thanks to Al Sutton, we've got a brand new changelog compiled from the list of code commits submitted to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).
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.
With most versions of Android, we're not used to seeing a changelog until a few hours after the AOSP code has been fully uploaded and somebody has had time to generate a comprehensive list. Imagine our surprise when such a list for KitKat 4.4.3 was discovered simply lying around on Google's servers. The file, named KK-MR2_changelist.txt, is located amidst Android's platform documentation. This is something of a first, since we'll actually learn about what's to come before the code is even available.
In the last several weeks, word of an upcoming Android 4.4.3 release started spreading around, for the most part based on sightings of new build numbers in server logs and bug reports, along with this tip by @LlabTooFeR. Of course, with so many 4.4.3 mentions, it's no surprise that these are actually legitimate and not creations of random trolls.
According to a source familiar with the situation, Android 4.4.3 is, unsurprisingly, going to be a pure bug-fixer release.
Update: Google has finally provided clarification on the recent Search update. Going forward, Google Now will shoot you an alert if it detects a traffic incident along your drive, and as you can see clearly in the image below, the app is pulling this information via Waze.
Developers have certainly made great use of the Alpha and Beta distribution channels in the Play Store since they became available last summer. There was one glaring oversight: developers could only write a single block of text for the "What's New" section. This often led to changelogs that left beta testers in the dark about changes or confusing regular users with promises of new features and fixes that hadn't yet materialized in the stable channel.