Google announced on Monday that the company was releasing Android 4.1 Jelly Bean to the open source community, a step that usually indicates the company is getting close to officially shipping the next major release of the mobile operating system. Jean-Baptiste Queru, technical lead for the open source side of Android, made the announcement on the company’s developer forums.
Google officially announced Jelly Bean at the company’s I/O developer conference in June. This version of Android is aimed at both tablets and smartphones, and it was the featured OS for Google’s new Nexus 7 tablet that was also unveiled at the conference.
To that end, Mr. Queru noted that, “Proprietary binaries are available for Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus. Nexus S and Xoom will follow.”
Jelly Bean will be an important release for Google as the company works to make a dent in the world of tablets with the Nexus 7. Jelly Bean could also bring Android’s voice command infrastructure up to par with Apple’s Siri. As such, it’s the first version of Android that The Mac Observer considers all that interesting—you’re mileage will certainly vary.
In the meanwhile, BetaNews noted that this step is the first in the process of releasing an OS to general availability. It’s the open source framework that the company’s many OEMs use to adapt the OS to their own hardware.