As many of you are aware, Sony’s Xperia S was recently made a target device in AOSP, which essentially turned it into a pseudo-Nexus device. It wasn’t an official target, but it was a decent option for those willing to tinker around. It was a big move for Sony and Google, and a step in the right direction for Android and manufacturers. It was great while it lasted, but unfortunately, today the plug was pulled and the Xperia S is no longer in AOSP.
There’s been a bit of speculation over why this happened, with Sony responding saying that Google doesn’t have the time and resources to devote to a non-Nexus device. Believable, but there does seem to be more to the issue. Sony hasn’t released binaries for specific parts of the Xperia S, so it’s pretty unusable in its current state. That’s as good a reason as any to pull it from AOSP. The good news, though, is that Sony intends on keeping the project alive on Sony’s GitHub space. So if you’re content to tinker with 4.1, you’re still in luck! To be fair, 4.1 is more than most devices have seen so far, so that’s not a bad deal.
Sony has done a better job than many at embracing the developer and enthusiast communities, and this brief endeavor was no exception. It’s sad to see it end, but there’s more than likely some other factors at play here that are keeping Sony from releasing those necessary binary files. Regardless, I’m hopeful that this won’t be the last non-Nexus device to follow in the Xperia S footsteps.