First, the bad news.
After considerable discussion, the team has decided to drop support for a number of devices which they felt could no longer be maintained to the same level as the other supported devices:
- HTC Incredible (inc)
- HTC Desire (bravo)
- HTC Evo 4G (supersonic)
- Amazon Kindle Fire (otter)
Roman notes a number of problems for these devices, chief among them that none of the AOKP developers actually owns any of them. Up until this point, AOKP has been releasing builds for these devices “blind”, with no indication of how (or if) the builds worked outside of users reporting their experience.
A secondary concern for the team is that these devices are beginning to show their age in terms of hardware. All of these devices are packing around 512 MB of RAM and a 1 GHz processor, which is considerably below the standard for modern Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) devices.
That being said, there are other devices with similar specifications (such as the Samsung Captivate and Fascinate) which are retaining their AOKP support, which goes to show how much of a difference actually having the hardware on hand makes for the development team.
With the bad news out of the way, Roman then announced the team’s plans for bringing AOKP inline with Google’s latest build of Android, Jelly Bean (JB).
In the immediate future, the team hopes to release Milestone 6 as soon as this weekend, which will be the culmination of many improvements and bug fixes over the last 3 months since the last “stable” AOKP release. Milestone 6 will be the final AOKP release based on ICS, and after a short break to get their bearings with all the new changes, the following release will be based on JB.
Interestingly, the AOKP team plans on starting over from scratch for their JB series of ROMs (rather than attempting to merge the JB changes into their existing ICS codebase). It is the team’s belief that, since they are now a more experienced group of developers, a clean start will be more beneficial to the project.
This potentially means the first AOKP JB releases may be a bit unstable, but that is all part of developing a community ROM.
Roman closed his announcement by sharing some very impressive figures. Nearly 50,000 devices are currently running AOKP, and almost 120,000 are running an AOKP derived ROM. Incredibly, these figures only include devices running AOKP build 39 (released June 15th) or above, so there are likely many more devices which simply aren’t reporting in as they are still running the latest stable build.
It’s never good to see viable hardware fall off to the wayside; the Incredible and Evo have long been favorites of the Android development community, and their appearance on an end of life list for a custom ROM is something of a changing of the guards.
Still, as AOKP moves on to JB, some devices will simply have to be trimmed so the team doesn’t overextend themselves. As JB is tested on more devices, it’s entirely possible even more will have to be removed due to hardware and logistical concerns. AOKP is still a small team, and some concessions will need to be made.
The most important part of the announcement is the fact that AOKP is growing rapidly and has a clear plan to deliver JB to its users in the very near future, which is absolutely a good thing.