While Google changes different aspects of Android with each new version, there's one thing all releases have in common: as soon as they go stable, they're uploaded to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) for everyone to look at and work with. That's no different for Android 11, as the company has just finished uploading the new OS version's source code.
The first Developer Preview for Android 11 landed in February of this year, and Google has continued to iterate and add new features across several more Developer Previews and Betas. As revealed earlier this summer at the start of Google's "11 weeks of Android" promotion, the stable version of Android 11 has arrived, ready for public consumption and rolling out to Google Pixel devices.
We already know which first few phones are receiving support for the brand-new Android 10-based LineageOS 17.1, but now, the open-source project has released a full changelog and shared why it has decided to make it an x.1 release. The new software is packed with additions such as a partial screenshot functionality, the spiritual successor to the CyanogenMod Theme Engine, Lineage Recovery, and many smaller changes.
It has been a mere four months since Google unveiled the Pixel 4, and it's already time to be on the lookout for Pixel 5 leaks. Over in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), a Googler has added a seemingly innocuous comment that confirms what we already expected: Google is working on a Pixel 5.
A new, even lower-power mode may be coming to Android phones in the future. XDA Developers' Mishaal Rahman spotted a commit made to the AOSP (Android's source code), which adds a new "ultra-low power state" to future versions of Android, and circumstantial details indicate it might be destined for an upcoming Pixel phone.
Google just released a new browser tool for developers that enjoy mucking about with AOSP (Android Open Source Project) test builds. It's called the Android Flash Tool, and it works almost entirely inside your browser, allowing you to quickly and easily pull down AOSP images and flash them to your phone. With it, developers can check app compatibility with AOSP changes, and folks mucking about in the Android source code can see their tweaks on a real device. Although it's pretty snazzy, it doesn't look like it will be any use to the root-and-ROM crowd (yet).
Sony has managed to gain a lot of fans among developers thanks to its Open Devices program. It's an initiative that brings Android Open Source Project (AOSP) builds to some of the company's devices and allows developers to adapt and change the code. It also makes it easier to unlock the bootloader and install custom ROMs. Sony has announced that the latest phone to become part of the Open Devices program is the Xperia 5.
While many people are enjoying — or lamenting — the upgrade to Android 10, there are some out there that are just as interested in the final source code. With each major release of Android, a huge code drop is made to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) with everything a developer needs to build the latest version of the OS. As of this morning, the code is now fully available and ready for consumption.
Google's efforts to bring RCS to the world haven't been as inspiring as many of us had hoped, largely due to slow adoption by carriers and some self-serving behavior on the part of certain OEMs (cough). However, some of this can also be attributed to limits in Android itself. To use RCS today, you have no choice in app selection — you're stuck using apps provided by your phone's OEM, be it Google, Samsung, LG, or another partner. Earlier this year, it looked like Google had added code to Android Q that would enable third party apps to support RCS, but that was disputed shortly after.