HTC releases Desire Z and Flyer source code

HTC posts downloads of kernel source code for its Desire Z and Incredible S phones, as well as its Flyer tablet, as it fends off complaints that it is not meeting the terms of the GPL

HTC has released source code for some of its most popular Android smartphones and for its newly launched Flyer tablet.

HTC Flyer tablet

HTC has released source code for some of its most popular Android smartphones and for its newly launched Flyer tablet (above). Photo credit: Kent German/CNET News

The Taiwanese device maker posted the 2.6.35 kernel source code for the HTC Desire Z, Incredible S and Flyer tablet over the weekend on its developer pages. The release means that developers can now get to work on porting versions of the Android-based operating system to other HTC devices or creating custom kernels.

The move comes after customers bombarded HTC's Facebook page with complaints that it had not shared the source code for certain devices, including the Evo 4G.

"I am deeply disappointed that you are violating the GNU Public Licence by not releasing the changes that HTC made to the operating system source code for the Evo 4G," wrote Facebook user Gregory Marton. "You cannot simply say you'll eventually release it when it's nicer — that is a violation of your agreement.

"You have shipped the binaries on my phone, you agreed to release the source with all binaries, and I want to see the changes. Please release the HTC modified source code now," Marton added.

The Google-backed Android project releases code for the mobile OS under the GNU General Public Licence (GPL). This requires anybody who changes that code to share it if they "release the modified version to the public in some way".

HTC had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing. The Desire Z went on sale in the UK in November, while the Flyer was released in May.

Also in May, the mobile hardware maker promised to unlock the bootloaders that will allow developers to install unofficial software on some of its phones. However, it noted on 11 July that this was a "complex challenge that requires a new software build and extensive testing". The first bootloaders to be unlocked will be the HTC Sensation 4G and the HTC EVO 3D in the US, beginning in August.

Unlike other tablets in its class, the HTC Flyer runs Android 2.3 rather than the tablet-optimised Honeycomb (3.x) version of the OS. Motorola has already begun rolling out Android 3.2 to its Xoom tablet, and Huawei's MediaPad, which is scheduled for UK launch before the end of 2011, will arrive running the incremental Honeycomb update. On Friday, Google officially announced the Android 3.2 platform alongside an updated software development kit (SDK) for the OS.

The revamped Honeycomb includes a compatibility mode for apps that do not scale well when being used on a tablet instead of a smartphone. It also provides an option to load media files into apps directly from the SD card for devices that support removable storage.

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