What Does Jelly Bean Mean for CyanogenMod?


Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, Jelly Bean is the latest version of Google’s Android OS and picks up where Ice Cream Sandwich left off. Some of us thought Jelly Bean might be Android 5.0, but we were wrong, it’s 4.1 — a small step up from ICS, which is 4.0.

CyanogenMod (or CM, for short) is one of the most popular custom ROMs on the market and supports a huge number of different phones and tablets. Just before this year’s Google I/O the CyanogenMod team put out the Release Candidate of CM9 for 37 devices. Since we were expecting JB at Google I/O, why did the CM team release CM9? Essentially, they just wanted to get it out there. Remember that CM skipped CM8 (which would have been Honeycomb-based). How embarrassing would it have been if they’d have to skip an “official” release of CM9 and jump right to CM10 as well?

When we learned that Jelly Bean would be a “point one” upgrade to ICS the CM team responded that the next version of CyanogenMod would, in fact, be CM10 and that they’d begin working on it as soon as the source code hit the AOSP.

Jelly Bean is in the AOSP, so now what?

Now that Jelly Bean is in the AOSP repository (or “repo” if you want to sound super-geeky) the CM team can start work on CM10 –and probably already has.

According to their post, CM9 took 225 days from when it hit the AOSP to the release of RC1. That’s a very, very long time.

Why did CM9 take so long?

ICS is very different from previous versions of Android. There are a lot of very positive changes nestled snugly among the lines of code. Unfortunately all that change meant that the CM team couldn’t simply “merge” their changes from previous versions with Jelly Bean. They had to start over.

In many places they were able to re-use previous code, other places the code had to be significantly changed. It took time, but it’s almost ready for Grandma to use (that’s their measure of success, apparently).

As an aside, the very first Nightly build of CM9 that I ran was much more stable than some Release Candidates of CM7 that I’ve run. I expect the first Nightly of CM10 to be equally as stable.

Will CM10 take 200+ days to build?

The only timeline the CM team will commit to regarding CM10 is “when it’s ready” — but that doesn’t mean it will be another couple-hundred days before we see a CM10 RC. According to Steve Kondik, Jelly Bean isn’t a whole lot different from ICS, and merging the codebase shouldn’t be that difficult. Famous last words? Perhaps, but something tells me this guy knows what he’s talking about.

One of the CM team, Ricardo Cerquiera, even went as far as shooting a video of CM10 running on an LG Optimus 4X HD, and it’s looking pretty functional to me!

So I’ll go out on a limb: I suspect we’ll see Nightlies of CM10 start to arrive for the “core 37” devices within a month, maybe even before the end of July. What do you get if I’m wrong? The privilege of rubbing it in my face in the comments. To make things interesting, I’d like to hear your predictions in the comments, too!

Image Credit: CyanogenMod

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.