Two weeks ago Google released Android 4.0’s source code to manufacturers and anyone else equipped with the skillset to tinker with it. Ever since it became available, hackers have been slaving away, trying to make the software available to the public. Now they’ve finally cracked it.The first unofficial version of Android has been released by hackers for selected mobiles. According to a ZDnet report, it uses a CyanogenMod project build that works on CM9, which is the source code Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich works on. Currently the software is compatible on two phones: an alpha version that works on Samsung’s Nexus S and a beta version that’ll run on Samsung’s Galaxy S.
According to programmer Koushik ‘Koush’ Dutta, “CyanogenMod 9 Alpha 11 for Nexus S is definitely worth checking out.” Dutta claims the software is pretty mature, saying it is “usable as a daily driver.”
Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich is one of the biggest upgrades to the promising OS yet, fusing the functionality of tablet software with the everyday practicality of its mobile platform. Beneficial perks include an advanced task manager, enhanced interface and an optimised browser.
Read: Google’s Incredible Android Ice Cream Sandwich
The first phone to officially run the coveted OS is Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus which at present isn’t available in most countries, including the United States and Australia. Fortunately the source code was released early, giving hackers the opportunity to make the OS available as soon as possible, and for mobiles that otherwise would not be supported.
One of the great things about Google is that it is an open platform. Essentially, it allows different phone manufacturers to showcase some of their personality by customising the software. This explains why Android on an HTC phone looks completely different to the same version on a Samsung phone.
Unfortunately, the same creative freedom fragments the platform, as not every manufacturer will develop an Ice Cream Sandwich update for their entire smartphone portfolio, leaving some smartphones to run an older version of Android.
Most manufacturers have been vocal about their plans to bring the new OS to their current smartphones, including Sony Ericsson, HTC, Samsung and most recently, LG.
If your mobile won’t be one of the lucky models to benefit from the update, keep an eye out for unofficial builds of Ice Cream Sandwich designed for your phone. Unofficial versions of the build will be available for Samsung’s Galaxy SII, HTC’s Sensation, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X10 within the next few months. As more hackers exercise their skills, more smartphones will be supported.