By now, Android fans and fanatics alike have seen the next version of Android previewed at Google IO, released as a developer preview for select Nexus devices, and now, the developer preview code is making its way to AOSP trees.
“So let’s get the flood-gates started on CM 12!” – right? No
A new wrinkle, but same old same old
Google’s early release and access is something they have never done before, and it is going to wildly help developer adoption of the new L platform; this is exciting to see happen. However, this doesn’t take away the fact that the code, being a preview, is non-final and likely going to change. No one outside of Google knows how much change this means – it could be minor, or it could be substantial. We could spend the next 3 weeks working on integrating CM features against this new platform, and then have it suddenly change dramatically and break in the final release of “L”. This would boil down to a waste of time.
It is much more prudent to wait for the final source drop and Google’s own development to stabilize. Those of you who ran the preview releases on the Nexus 5 and 7 can likely attest that there are not only bugs, but missing features as well, even something as simple as a ‘clear all’ button on notifications.
Being prudent doesn’t mean staying idle
Now, just because we aren’t switching gears to CM12 right away doesn’t mean we won’t be checking out the code release from today. This opportunity gives us the ability to cost out the level of effort for each CM feature, identify gaps in “L” and possible solutions for them, figure out what CM features can go, and run preliminary assessments on how badly device support will break.
This process will drastically increase our ability to release something full-featured once official, and final, “L” source is made available.
CM11 M8 (Android 4.4.4) release is already tagged and branched and in preparation for release just after the July 4th weekend. Until we get a signal or indication of when “L” will be final, we will continue to treat it as a secondary to closing out bugs and improving features/support for CM 11 and continuing the ‘M-release’ cycle.
But I want it now!
Understandably, there will be a rapid influx of “L” ‘ports’ in the developer community, which will be the gateway for those of you who absolutely cannot wait. From the CM team, we kindly ask that you respect that this is a preview source drop, and not to be rude to (app) developers whose apps fail on the new code-base. And as always, make a back-up before you go off playing.
-The CM Team