Google open-sources Android 'Jelly Bean' 4.1 for third-party modification

The code for Android's new version is now available to the open-source community, along with proprietary binaries for the Galaxy Nexus smartphone and Nexus 7 tablet

Google has released the source code for Android 'Jelly Bean' 4.1 so that third-party developers can modify it.

Less than two weeks after the official launch of Jelly Bean , Google said on Monday that the version of the mobile operating system was ready for the open source community.

Android Jelly Bean
The code for Android 4.1 'Jelly Bean' is now available to the open-source community. Image credit: Google

"Proprietary binaries are available for Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus. Nexus S and Xoom will follow," Google technical lead Jean-Baptiste Queru wrote in a forum for the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).

The Nexus 7 is the Google-branded tablet that will ship later this month . Google gives the Nexus name to devices that carry the latest stock version of Android and get updates to the system before other devices do — the Galaxy Nexus is the latest smartphone to have been released in this line, while the Nexus S is its predecessor.

In the thread following Queru's post, some people asked when the Nexus devices would get over-the-air (OTA) updates bearing Jelly Bean. However, Queru said this information could not be given on the thread.

However, he did say that the Nexus S and Xoom binaries would be released "to approximately match the timing" of the OTA updates — in other words, no-one will be able to get the code specific to those models and modify it before the official Google versions come out.

Jelly Bean is largely intended to offer smoother usage than its predecessor, Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). However, it also includes several stand-out features, particularly the Google Now personal assistant.