It happens without fail: Google announces a new Android system update, then releases it to Android Open Source Project (AOSP). And with Android 10, Google has released the new system update to AOSP for modding and tinkering.
Android’s Open-Source Nature
Android is open-source by default, which means that a developer community is responsible for making the platform better than ever.
Though Google provides its own exclusive Android experience for which OEMs must apply for an Android license (or, in Huawei’s case, can have their long-existing Android license revoked), OEMs could potentially choose to “go their own way” and use AOSP — taking barebones Android and carving out their own experience for their customers, similar to the forked Android experience Amazon provides on its Kindle Fire tablets, for example.
For those who don’t want the hassle, they simply “Go Google.” And judging by just how popular Google’s Android experience is worldwide, going Google isn’t a bad decision by any means.
Google’s responsibility toward AOSP
Though Google does its own thing in Android, it can never forget that it leads the AOSP endeavor. This explains why, after every new Android system update release, Mountain View releases the source code to the AOSP community for modifications. Google makes it easy for Pixel phone owners to install custom ROMs, showing its commitment to a platform that belongs to everyone.
There are benefits to Google releasing its source code to AOSP, among them the accountability factor: that is, the AOSP modding community can do security research and discover bugs, software loopholes, vulnerabilities, and potential backdoors (if there are any) and report them. Upon reporting them, Google can fix them and then publish security patches or, as is the case now with Android 10, provide Google Play system updates to fix critical loopholes without waiting weeks for a security patch to fix the problem.
In fact, open-source code is so important to security research and a safe software platform that Huawei, no longer an Android OEM, has created its own mobile platform, HarmonyOS, and made it open-source “to encourage adoption,” the company said in its own press release.
What will AOSP do with Google’s Android 10 source code?
Now that Android 10 is in the hands of the AOSP community, they’ll take the source code and create ROMs (read-only memory) based on Google’s latest system update. Modding involves gaining greater access over one’s Android device(s) to unlock features OEMs have placed within their mobile devices. For example, many OEMs throttle their processor clocked speeds, but gaining superuser access to one’s Android device allows the modder to either unlock and increase the processor’s clocked speed or to slow down the processor clocked speed and save on battery life.
Some custom ROMs change a device’s appearance and allow users to uninstall features they don’t need or want, or battery-guzzling features that reduce battery life.
What can AOSP developers expect in Android 10?
The AOSP community has been anxiously awaiting the release of Google’s next system update. It’s officially here. Android 10 brings a list of new features to the Android experience. For example, Live Caption allows users to have on-screen captions so that, whether hard-of-hearing (HoH) or in a quiet library, they’ll never miss a word.
Smart Reply brings better functionality to message replies. Dark Theme is a favorite that not only provides a cool on-screen look that’s easier on the eyes, but also enhances and improves battery life.
There are greater privacy controls, greater parental controls to limit child phone consumption times (Family Link), and the ability to silence notifications you don’t want or need.
Aside from the usual features, Google has also provided others such as HDR10 and HDR10+ video playback, improvements to high-resolution audio (such as 192 KHz frequency support), AudioPlaybackCapture (which is screen capture for audio), support for multiple electronic SIMs (or multiple eSIMS), and 5G Non-Standalone (5G NSA) support.