Here’s some good news to the Sony loyalists out there: the company adds more lines of code to the Android Open Source Project than any other manufacturer, according to Jean-Baptiste Queru, a Google engineer who oversees the merging of millions of lines of code to AOSP.
This is why, according to Queru, Sony was able to distribute Ice Cream Sandwich to its aging Sony Tablet S less than five months after the code was released: they already had a head start with all their contributions. Sure, other manufacturers like Asus and Acer have already updated their slates to ICS, but Sony’s contributions allowed them to do more with their existing hardware.
The realization is also reassuring to Sony Ericsson phone owners who are eagerly awaiting an update from Sony to Ice Cream Sandwich. They have released beta software for the arc and arc S, the Play, the ray and others, to ensure the highest level of performance and app compatibility. One of our major concerns with the excellent Xperia S was that it shipped with Gingerbread.
But Queru also underscores how damaging carrier intervention in the whole process can be; while the WiFi version of Google’s “developer tablet” Motorola Xoom was updated to Ice Cream Sandwich around the same time as the initial (failed) Nexus S rollout, the 3G-based version is still sitting in limbo waiting for carrier approval.
Says Queru: “The part that blows my mind is that some variants of the Google-engineered flagship devices still haven’t received Ice Cream Sandwich (or are stuck with older versions of Ice Cream Sandwich) because of delays introduced by operator approvals. I’m very glad that Google is back in the business of selling phones directly without any middlemen to interfere, and I’ll be even happier when I see that program expanded to more countries.”
Amen to that.