The spirit of the community (AOSP 2.3 source is out!)

Android 2.3 was announced a few days ago. The previous day, CyanogenMod 6.1, the most popular community mod was released, based on Froyo (2.2). And today, just a short two weeks after the announcement, the source code for the latest version of Android is being released!

The release marks the end of the 2.x era, with Google, most definitely, working hard on the 3.x series aimed for release in the first quarter of 2011 and — hopefully — taking the fight with iOS up a notch. Just an hour ago cyanogen posted this on twitter:

If you need me, I’ll be locked in my room for the next 3 days. #gingerbread

I feel that right now that’s precisely what makes Android sell, and by extension the popularity and characteristics of such projects give many clues on the demographics of those buying Android devices.

In other words, the ‘magic’ of the platform is its rapid evolution and by extension its community (a community that is largely technology oriented), something not to be found in HTC’s or Samsung’s wanna-be iPhone devices (or their mediocre software), Sony Ericsson’s lifestyle apps or Motorola’s ‘macho’ Droid phone and its seriously bad Motoblur. These are commercial parts of a nascent platform that — until now — enthuse few outside the technology community.

Stuff like CyanogenMod are exciting because they evolve extremely fast and at the same time let your imagination run wild with features that half-baked commercial Android ‘flavours’ couldn’t never have. A combination — and even the ‘controlled’, sterile in a way, yet amazingly polished environments like iOS lacks.

And this is, sadly, something that most major Android device manufacturers don’t get, judging by the effort they put in locking their products down, the amount of crapware they bundle with them and the restrictions they place to their customers.

By the way, if you’re using a supported device, like e.g. the HTC Desire, I recommend you get rid of Sense right now, get CyanogenMod, or another mod if so you prefer, and turn the damn thing into a usable gadget. You won’t regret it*.

*If you do, I won’t be held responsible for any damage you may cause to your device.

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