Remember back when the Nexus 4’s factory image disappeared from the AOSP shortly after the phone launched? Speculation was quick to suggest that Google was killing the phone’s hidden LTE radio, but when it reappeared months later, unchanged files suggested that wasn’t the case at all, and the mystery remained. Now a similar saga is playing out for the new Nexus 7, and it’s frustrating an AOSP heavyweight to no end.
Android Police got the sense that something was seriously wrong when it came to the new Nexus 7’s software: no factory image had been posted to the AOSP, and a number of comments from the project’s Jean-Baptiste Quéru revealed some heated emotions underlying things. Quéru spoke of lawyers sabotaging the tablet’s launch, and just seemed dejected by everything that was happening, tweeting on Sunday, “I don’t want to go to work tomorrow. I don’t want to be doing that job any more.”
The common thread behind Nexus-series models that have had issues with the availability of images like this – including the old Nexus One – seems to be their shared reliance on Qualcomm chips.
We don’t know precisely what legal problem is at the heart of all this nonsense, but after Android Police posted its theory, Quéru took to Google+ to post what sure reads like a confirmation of the suspicions, as well as his intent to leave the AOSP. From what he says, it sounds like the Adreno GPU in Qualcomm chips is a big source of the troubles. He writes:
“There’s no point being the maintainer of an Operating System that can’t boot to the home screen on its flagship device for lack of GPU support, especially when I’m getting the blame for something that I don’t have authority to fix myself and that I had anticipated and escalated more than 6 months ahead.“