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Samsung opens up the Ice Cream Sandwich

Galaxy SII update, with added source

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Samsung has posted the source code for its Ice Cream Sandwich, Android version 4 for the Galaxy SII, opening the way for hackers to create their own Android spin.

The release follows three iterations of Gingerbread (the last incarnation of Android v2) which are also available from Samsung in all their open-source glory, and comes only days after Samsung started updating phones in the field.

As it stands, the ICS source-code release is only suitable for European and Korean markets, though few people downloading the code will intend to run it as it stands.

Android is open source, but manufacturers can still close up parts of the OS related to their specific hardware. Many of the applications which users consider part of Android, such as Google Play (aka the Android Marketplace), Google Maps and Gmail are not open source, and are only available on officially licensed devices.

The chaps over at Android Community note that, as with all Samsung Android releases, this latest 193MB package comes with the company's TouchWiz UI, but that should be easily removed by those who care enough.

Samsung has always been pretty good about opening up Android versions for its phones, and hosts a decent collection of current and past updates for those who want to take a peak at how Android is structured. Samsung doesn't even require an email registration, should one's curiosity be piqued. ®

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