Many manufacturers are busy getting their Android 4.4 KitKat firmware ready for release, with most expected to update devices in early 2014. Meanwhile, developers are hard at work rolling out custom ROMs in record time. Here’s a rundown of the latest developments in aftermarket firmware.
CyanogenMod 11 Unofficial ROMs
CyanogenMod 11 is officially in progress with nightlies released for several high-end devices. The CM source code is also available for the tech savvy to try their hand at creating their own custom builds.
Notably, Android 4.4 KitKat was released with the "Project Svelte" optimization, which allows for compatibility with a host of devices, including those with as little as 512MB RAM. Developers at the XDA Forums have taken the opportunity to create CyanongenMod-based ROMs for a number of mid-range to low-end Samsung smartphones including the Galaxy Ace, the Galaxy Fit, the Galaxy Mini and the Galaxy Gio. Remarkably, the Galaxy Ace is the only device of the four to feature 512 MB of RAM; the Galaxy Fit, Galaxy Mini and Galaxy Gio include 280 MB, 384 MB and 278 MB, respectively. This shows an extraordinary range for the compatibility of Project Svelte. However, it is unlikely that Samsung will provide Android 4.4 support for these devices as they are all over two years old.
Those interested in trying out any of these CyanogenMod ROMs should keep in mind that unofficial builds are prone to instability, regardless of each device's specs. Keep in mind that warranties may be voided. Backing up your device is recommended.
Download unofficial CyanogenMod 11 for Samsung Galaxy Ace here.
Download unofficial CyanogenMod 11 for Samsung Galaxy Fit here.
Download unofficial CyanogenMod 11 for Samsung Galaxy Mini here.
Download unofficial CyanogenMod 11 for Samsung Galaxy Gio here.
AKOP KitKat For High-End Devices
Meanwhile, AKOP has released its first nightly builds for Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Not long ago, Google released two updates for Android 4.4 within days of one another, making the most recent KitKat version Android 4.4.2. The build includes improvements to the camera app, as well as bug fixes and performance enhancements. Many expect Google will keep its new operating system at version 4.4.2 for some time; therefore, in addition to OEMs, custom ROM teams are also working with this build.
Last week AKOP announced that Android 4.4.2 nightlies were available for a host of the most current devices, including: the Nexus 5, Nexus 4, Nexus 10, Nexus 7 (2013), Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S 3 (Verizon, ATT, TMO, USC), Galaxy S 4 (Verizon, Sprint, TMO, USC), Galaxy Note 2 (ATT, TMO, LTE-Intl.), HTC One (ATT, Sprint, Verizon, TMO, Intl.), Xperia Z, ZL, Xperia T and Xperia V. AKOP is among those teams providing Android 4.4 support for the Galaxy Nexus, which is no longer receiving support from Google as it has passed its 18-months update cycle.
AKOP notes that devices require a full data wipe before a custom ROM can be installed.
Download AKOP KitKat for the above-mentioned devices here.
Android AOSPA4+ ROM For Nexus Devices
Paranoid Android reports that it is a little behind in its ROM development; however, the team has still managed to release its AOSPA4+ ROM for the Nexus family: Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (all models), Nexus 10 and Galaxy Nexus. Currently, some PA specific features such as Halo, Pie and Hybrid engine are not available on the ROM, but the team indicates that may change at some point.
Paranoid Android provides a change log for the ROM, which details a host of features, including built-in SuperSu; advanced power menu; enhanced volume buttons; enhanced volume controls; global immersive mode toggle; notification LED light controls; actionable status bar date/time; keyguard quick unlock; disable full screen keyboard; basic file browser; exposed Google's native app privacy controls; recent/clear all button combo; screenshot delete added to screenshot notification; optional lock screen transparency; optional status bar battery icons and quick settings 2.0.
Paranoid Android notes that a factory reset is required if users are updating from Android 4.3, stock Android 4.4 or another ROM.
Download Paranoid Android AOSPA4+ ROM for the above-mentioned devices here.
Download compatible GApps files here.
Will you be installing any of these Android 4.4 KitKat custom ROMs? Let us know in the comments below.
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Fionna Agomuoh is a Technology Reporter for the International Business Times, a vegan foodie, and a lover of Electric Dance Music.