Wednesday, February 13, 2013

They May Be Geeks But They're My Geeks



I didn't have anything really going on today, but my attention was centered around an update within Android. I tasked myself this morning with keeping an eye out for what can essentially be called the changelog which highlights these enhancements. Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew, to my betterment. 

When someone imagines a changelog, they think of an application on their mobile device. When the app updates, the developer posts a changelog which is a record of updates. Bloggers swarm over these updates like vultures, I know, I'm one of them, and post an article about these changes. 

These changes are not typical within Android. When Android posts it's latest version, it does so in an open source repository called Github. In there you can see the commits and changes made by the development team at Google. To an untrained eye like mine, it's hard to spot any changes. One has to read line by line according to the date of that commit to see what's new. 

In a change from 4.2.1 to 4.2.2, there are only really going to be bug fixes and minor changes. Usually developers save big updates for a 5.0, which potentially will be announced this summer at Google I/O. They will likely either jump to version 4.3 or 5.0 and call it Key Lime Pie. The version we're in for a good first half of the year is called Jelly Bean.

Cute names aside, I learned a lot today about how such a massive project can be centralized into one location and just pushed out for the world to enjoy. The problems with implementation comes at either the carrier's end (like Verizon or Sprint) or the OEM (like HTC or Samsung). Each party wants to throw in their own twists to this open source software and as a result, the predominant audience does not see the latest and greatest version of Android. 

That is reserved for those who buy Nexus phones. Nexus phones are Google experience phones sold directly by them or through selected carriers. The Nexus 4 by LG and the Galaxy Nexus are two examples of those phones. They are very plain jane, but enthusiasts seek these phones out because they carry the latest, proper version of plain old vanilla Android.

I am one of those people.

It's really quite fascinating to see the people who sit on the edge of their seats to see what's new in the latest version. I enjoy that I can share that with them at my writing gig at RootzWiki. My article on the update can be found here

Geeks, enjoy.