JBQ quits AOSP over 2013 Nexus 7 factory image controversy

As any Nexus-tinkerer knows, a factory image is a great way to start fresh or recover from a botched flashing session that may have had just one too many mods in it. However, 2013 Nexus 7 owners may have realized that since the device launched two weeks ago, there have been no factory images or binaries posted for their shiny new device. Qualcomm’s failure to cooperate with this effort has ultimately frustrated one of the Android community’s key figures to the point of quitting AOSP.

On the day of the exciting breakfast with Sundar Pichai, the internet was abuzz with the news of Android 4.3, the new Nexus, the Chromecast, and the sound of my wallet getting emptier as Google’s got thicker. However, not everyone was happy, and especially one Googler in particular:

That feeling when lawyers sabotage the launch you spent 6 months working on? I haz it. Sad sad sad sad sad sad.

If you weren’t aware, Jean-Baptiste Quéru (also known as JBQ) was the head of AOSP and definitely a guy to keep tabs on when a new version of Android was going to go live. Perhaps as internet-popular as Matias Duarte, JBQ always lent a helping hand when he could and really made the Android development scene a good place to be. Lately, however, things just haven’t been right.

After two weeks passed without any word on the factory images, someone asked yesterday in a Google Group about the factory images, and JBQ responded saying there is no ETA and they might not ever be released.

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When further inquired of the reasoning by Android Police founder Artem Russakovskii, JBQ pointed to the Nexus 4 factory image debacle, which was eventually sorted out. He also mentioned the Nexus One never having a factory image, which is when things started to make sense.

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What do all three of these devices have in common? Chipsets made by Qualcomm. Every other Nexus device has a different chipset maker and none of those had problems (except for a brief stint where the Nexus 10 didn’t have a factory image). Even the ill-fated Nexus Q has a factory image. (Image courtesy of Android Police)

Unfortunately, this has frustrated JBQ to the point of leaving AOSP. It’s not yet clear if he will be leaving Google entirely, but he confirmed that he was leaving AOSP this morning on Google+. His post also confirmed that it was Qualcomm’s Adreno GPU that was the issue.

It is indeed a sad day for Android and the development community. JBQ will be missed.

However, if you need a factory image for your Nexus 7, the community still has your back. On XDA you can find rooted factory images that you would flash just like the normal images from Google. If you would like to do it yourself, a redditor describes how he made his:

Made backups with TWRP and converted the system archive it creates into a bootloader flashable img. There’s already a post on XDA with imgs. I think the only difference is those are pre-rooted.

Of course, these methods aren’t the official way to do it, but it’s the best we have right now. In the same vein, there shouldn’t be any worry for custom ROMs. While you aren’t able to build a working ROM for the new Nexus 7 straight from AOSP, ROM makers will be able to copy the needed files over into their own custom builds.]]>

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