CyanogenMod switches on CyanogenMod 11 nightly builds for dozens of devices

The makers of the one of if not the most popular custom Android ROM is proceeding full steam ahead with its transition to an Android 4.4 codebase. Now it has activated the nightly builds for devices that can support CyanogenMod 11.

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Last week, the CyanogenMod team announced the first CyanogenMod 11 snapshot, CyanogenMod 11 M1. This snapshot, however, was limited only to more recent Nexus devices. The team did promise that it will soon be enabling nightly builds, and now its announcing which supported devices will fall under which CyanogenMod version. This list accounts for all 156 officially supported devices compatible with CyanogenMod 10.0 and higher.

Dozens of devices, including the Galaxy Nexus, will be receiving nightly builds of CyanogenMod 11, which is based on Android 4.4. But even more than that, Android 4.4.1, which has just started rolling out to Nexus devices, is already being merged into the codebase. This means that the next round of nightly builds will soon include the latest maintenance update as well. Unfortunately, this announcement also spells the end of nightly builds for devices running CyanogenMod 9 or older, to give way to CM 10.2 and CM 11.

The list of devices, which you can read from the source link below, is not yet exhaustive nor is it final. Some devices under CyanogenMod 10.2 are expected to move up to CyanogenMod 11 over the next few weeks. Nightlies are, of course, considered to be raw versions, so they should be installed and used with care and a bit of knowledge of the risks involved.

SOURCE: CyanogenMod

OmniROM announces OpenDelta OTA updater

Given how young the OmniROM custom ROM project is, it’s bound to be updated far more frequently along its journey towards more stable releases. To keep those updates easy on both the user and the network, the OmniROM devs have worked on an over the air delta updater that tries to keep ROM update sizes to be as small as possible.

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As if the initial process of getting a custom Android ROM flashed on a device isn’t harrowing enough, one has to sometimes rinse and repeat when an updated image is released. Several tools have thus been developed to make the update process less intrusive, mimicking the behavior of normal Android OTA updates. But OmniROM’s OpenDelta takes the convenience once step further by trying to minimize what needs to be downloaded as much as possible.

OpenDelta is an open source tool that automatically builds and delivers OTA updates of OmniROM builds. It’s key differentiating factor is that, when possible, it uses deltas when creating the updates. This means that it only includes what has changed between the current and the next version, leaving out those that have not been touched. Depending on the situation, this could drastically reduce the file size of the update that needs to be downloaded. And in case you’ve missed out on several builds, OpenDelta will gather all the related deltas together and create a new one that doesn’t include duplicated information, so users won’t have to worry about huge downloads in this situation. Early OmniROM adopters can access the OpenDelta features via the About section of the system settings.

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Given OmniROM’s emphasis on community-driven and open work, OpenDelta is being developed as on open source project. Theoretically, any open ROM can make use of the tool, but OmniROM has a preference for TWRP as the officially recommended flashing utility. OpenDelta is still quite young so some bugs might crop up here and there.

SOURCE: OmniROM

OmniROM device roster grows by six

The Android world is definitely not lacking in custom ROMs but a few, like CyanogenMod, Paranoid Android, and AOKP, have risen to become the more popular ones. One new contender, OmniROM, is slowly but surely building up its army by adding six more smartphones to its list of supported devices.

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OmniROM was conceived primarily as a reaction to a change of direction that took place within CyanogenMod. With the core team incorporating itself into Cyanogen, Inc., many in the ROM community felt the need to have an even more community-driven endeavor. Thus, OmniROM was born and was led by popular Android developers such as Super Su’s Chainfire, TWRP’s Dees_Troy, and Focal’s XplodedWild.

Last week, OmniROM announced the start of nightly builds based on Android 4.4 KitKat. Those builds covered a good number of devices already, including the Nexus 4, 5, and all version of the Nexus 7, the OPPO Find 5, Samsung Galaxy S, S II, S III, Note, and Note II, among others. Now the team is revealing new builds for more devices. Joining the ranks is the OPPO N1, which, somewhat ironically, runs CyanogenMod, the Sony Xperia T, Z, and ZL, as well as the HTC One, both the international version and the model from AT&T.

All in all, this brings the total number of supported devices, both current and in the very near future, to 20. That is still a considerably low number, especially if the ROM wants to step into CyanogenMod’s shoes. But given the same amount of community participation that catapulted CyanogenMod to the top, OmniROM might still manage to reach its goal.

SOURCE: OmniROM (1), (2)
VIA: Android Police

PwnedCast is a custom ROM for Google Chromecast

Owners of the Google Chromecast looking for more exciting things to do with the streaming HDMI dongle might want to set their eyes on this new PwnedCast custom ROM. While it offers just a few advantages over the stock firmware, this could eventually open up the device for more adventurous tinkering and modifications.

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Beyond the hype and novelty of the Chromecast, the things one can do with the device is quite limited, especially without involving some sort of hack or mod. Some rather creative, not to mention diligent, developers have created ways to get around Google’s lockdown of the device, either by allowing streaming of local media or, as in the case of KyoCast, opening up the device to more streaming services beyond the officially sanctioned ones.

But there is already a precedent of Google trying to foil such attempts through firmware updates. Now one way of getting around that is through this custom ROM, creatively named PwnedCast, that is based on the 13300 stock image. The ROM adds some new features that will be of interest to developers and modders, such as SSH/Telnet access, a custom boot image, and a preinstalled KyoCast.

There are a few caveats to the ROM. While it does get around the mandatory Google OTA updates that could potentially close up the device in the future, it does feature its own automatic OTA updates in the background. Luckily, that can be disabled using instructions here but it isn’t as straightforward or easily discoverable. And, of course, it is a custom image, so a bit of risk is to be expected.

VIA: XDA

CyanogenMod 10.2 release marks the end of Android 4.3 era for the custom ROM

CyanogenMod has just announced the availability of CyanogenMod 10.2. Aside from being the latest stable release of the popular custom Android ROM, this also marks a few changes in the development track of the community, particularly the shift in focus to the latest Android 4.4 codebase.

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This stable release comes at the heels of the release candidate announced just last week. For the initial run of builds, CyanogenMod 10.2 will support devices that also received the RC build, including the Nexus 4 and later, HTC One, HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy S, Samsung Captivate, and Acer Iconia Tab A7000. Builds for other officially supported devices will soon follow and there might be unofficial builds for devices who have been dropped from CyanogenMod’s list.

No changelog has been given for this release but those following the ROMs development closely might be familiar with things to expect aside from the bump to Android 4.3. In particular, CyanogenMod 10.2 includes an interesting feature in Privacy Guard that has been added last September. In this release, Privacy Guard will give users access to App ops, allowing them to exercise fine-grained control over the permissions that each and every app uses, be it using the network, sending or receiving SMS, or getting the user’s location.

CyanogenMod is also switching gears and will put most of its muscle into the development of CyanogenMod 11, which is based on Android 4.4 KitKat. This also means that there will no longer be nightly builds based on Ice Cream Sandwich in order to channel its resources into CyanogenMod 11. Of course, there will still be CM 10.2 nightly builds and the community will continue to provide fixes and security patches for the release when necessary.

LegacyXperia puts 2011 Sony Xperia devices on life support via CyanogenMod 11

Aside from giving users a more vanilla and more liberated Android experience, one of the side benefits of CyanogenMod is bringing Android to devices no manufacturer, or even Google, would dare go. In particular, the popular custom ROM has been the savior of many older devices that are relatively capable of running more recent Android versions, such as some of Sony‘s Xperia smartphones from 2011.

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As the name says, LegacyXperia is a project that targets legacy devices, those that manufacturers and carriers have given up on, much to the distress of owners who still find them quite usable. Now there might be some light at the end of that tunnel, provided these owners are willing to take some steps that, ironically, might make the device unusable. Last week, Sony Xperia 2012 models were given a new lease on life via CyanogenMod. Now it’s the older devices’ turn to get reborn.

The LegacyXperia project has quite a roster of supported devices, including the Xperia Arc and Arc S, Xperia Neo and Neo V, Xperia Pro and Mini Pro, Xperia Active, Xperia Mini, and Xperia Ray. These devices, at one point in time, where supported by CyanogenMod directly but have been dropped after CyanogenMod 10. The team is now working on bringing CyanogenMod 11, and thus the latest Android 4.4, to these abandoned smartphones as well.

There is still a lot of work to be done as WiFi is marked as buggy and 720p recording and HDMI output are still not working. However, considering how much is already working at this early alpha stage, there is hope that these can get fixed in due time.

VIA: Xperia Blog

Modding The Nexus 5: The Current State of Affairs, Part 2

After my first piece on modding the Nexus 5 I thought I would leave the dust settle on the custom rom section before writing it. So here we are a week later and have things changed much. Well, no and yes. There has been an explosion of roms being developed by smaller names employing some […]

Android 4.4 custom ROM breathes new life into the Nexus One

Google may have promised buttery and svelte performance from Android 4.4 even on low-end devices, but it has left its own old Nexus smartphones to bite the dust. But thanks to a few diligent individuals, the Nexus One might soon be joining in on the chocolaty fun of the latest Android release.

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No matter how much users ask, it is almost unlikely that Google officially port Android 4.4 to significantly older devices. After all, the Galaxy Nexus won’t be getting it, and that smartphone was released in 2011 before the Nexus 4. What chance, then, does the 2010 Nexus One have? But at the same time, with 512 MB of RAM an a 1 GHz processor, it almost sounds like the perfect test case and success story for Android 4.4′s Project Svelte.

Luckily, Android is not so much a closed garden and the Android community is an energetic and determined bunch. A team of developers over at XDA, led by texasice, managed to pull it off. The unofficial ROM, currently called Evervoled, was based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) source code, with a dash of additional features which can all be disabled with a flick of a switch.

Things are not all fine and dandy yet, however, as some things are still in an unusable state. The new Android Runtime (ART) is currently broken and should not be used at all. The graphics drivers aren’t fully operational and both camera and screenshot functionality are practically broken. That said, the rest of the system is reported to be usable for daily use and there is still a bit of hope that these issues can be fixed in due time.

VIA: XDA

How do you customize your Android device?

Friday Debate aa (1)

In this edition of the Friday Debate, we discuss one of the core strengths of Android – the ability to customize the appearance of the operating system in just about any way you like. From widgets and live wallpapers, to icon packs, and custom launchers, it’s easy to give your Android device a full makeover. And even if you prefer the appearance of stock Android or an OEM layout, you can still add a few touches to make it truly your own.

So, how do you customize your Android device? What apps do you use? Launchers, wallpapers, icon packs? What else?

Join us in the discussion, vote in our poll, and sound off in the comments!

Robert Triggs

Android is a pretty good looking and functional OS as it is, but I personally prefer a more minimalistic look. I’m not a massive fan of the cartoony looking default Android icons, instead I much prefer the Tiny White Icon Pack, which has an icon for virtually everything. As well as the different icons and wallpapers, I’m also using a couple of apps to tweak my handset’s appearance.

Nova Launcher is one of my favourite apps, and not just for the extra launcher functions. There are plenty of options for customizing icons, organizing your apps, and changing other aesthetics, such as wallpapers and screen animations. The gestures feature is especially useful, as I’ve assigned my most commonly used apps to simple swipe commands, saving me precious space on my home screen.

Ultimate Custom Widget (UCCW) is also a must have for the vain Android user, with a virtually limitless number of options for customizing the look of your clock, battery life, and weather widgets. If you don’t fancy making your own widgets, there are also thousands of downloadable skins in the play store.

Widget wise I suppose I’m a little boring. I only use UCCW clock and weather widgets, a search bar, and Flipboard for keeping track of the latest news items. But then again I do like to keep my home screens clutter free.

Kevin Nether

If I were to answer this question last year, I would have enough customization that I could write a novel. Now, with constant phone changes, flashing roms, and lack of time, that has changed a bit.

It seems like as of late I’ve become very basic mostly only using one screen.

However, here is my set up.

The one thing that is a requirement for me is the T9 appdialer application. I keep that in my dock for quick access. This allows me quick access to all of my applications. I could search and find an application from this tool faster than anyone could via an app drawer. After that requirement is complete, then it’s time to install Nova launcher. I will then install one of the dozens of icon packs that I’ve purchased over the years. Next, install beautiful widgets. I usually use a 4×3 grid lay out, and just install a random clock and weather skin (whatever is in the showcase within their marketplace.). Next – I’ll change the grid layout on Nova. I have different values depending on how I’m feeling, but a lot of times I end up on 9×8. Finally, If i’m feeling froggy, I may put the Google Now widget on my home screen and call it a day.

Links

AppDialer

Nova Launcher

Flatro Icons

HD Plane Icons

Tendere Icons

Joshua Vergara

I’m actually somewhat in the same camp as Kevin. I used to be really into customizing my phone – everything from the launcher to flashing ROMs, etc. That was true for everything I had, including my computer (ArchLinux, anyone?).

However, nowadays I find that if the way a phone is set up means high functionality and is at least elegant enough, then I like it even more. And when you’re working with phones at as fast a pace as I do, you don’t want to take up any time trying to fiddle with how your phone looks. With that in mind, I usually go for a one or two screen setup, as well.

I go for two things depending on how I feel at the time – either full simplicity or full elegance. When it is full simplicity, I have one homescreen (or two, in the case of Google Now for the Nexus 5) and put nothing on there but a nice wallpaper. Many of you have probably seen the mminimalistic superhero wallpapers that I have put on my Moto X and my Galaxy S4.

However, when I want full functionality, I only really put two widgets on that one screen, usually with a black (or other solid color) background. This is because it bothers me when elements of an otherwise good looking wallpaper are covered up. So, solid color background and my two most used widgets – Evernote and Google Play Music. I get easy access to my notes and my tasks while being able to stop or play my music whenever I need.

For the vast majority of my phones, that is basically what I do. Someone once told me that when it comes to navigating a phone, all he requires is everything he needs to be accessible within two or three swipes. I think when you are going to accessibility and functionality, that is a fair way to put it.

Joe Hindy

It depends on my device really. Like Kevin, I could write a novel about all the stuff I had on my HTC EVO 4G, but these days things require a little less tinkering because there are fewer issues to fix. One of these days, when there is an applicable Friday Debate, I’ll tell the story of how I hard bricked my EVO 4G LTE for 6 hours when trying to get S-Off.

On my Nexus 7 2012, I decided to battle against the lag issue by rocking only a single home screen. I use an HD Widgets widget with a clock, current weather, and 5 day forecast. I use this tablet primarily for school so I have educational apps like Wolfram, Andy-86 (a TI-86 calculator emulator), VitalSource Bookshelf (where I can download my text books for offline reading), and others. It’s a pretty simple layout because I use the tablet for only a few things. I do have some fun apps on there, like the Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey app so I can check my team without getting on a computer. I also use the tablet to listen to podcasts and I connect it to a little pod speaker so I can hear it better.

My Note 3 has undergone a few changes. I run a custom kernel and a custom ROM. It’s mostly under the hood changes (removal of Knox, for instance) but my S-Pen does make light saber noises when I pull it out. I got to try Aviate when it was a thing a few weeks ago and loved the layout but a few bugs prevented me from really enjoying it. So I downloaded Nova Launcher, cut it down to 2 home screens and made an Aviate-like set up. My home screen has the same HD Widgets widget as my tablet (clock, weather, forecast) along with a few favorite apps. On the second page are a myriad of categories like Play Games, Time Waster games, root tools, tools, social media, banking, video, and music. I’ve found that even though the layout isn’t as fun, it is a lot more functional. I use the Nox icon pack, ringtones and wallpapers I found on Zedge, and that’s really about it.

I do have Tasker on my Note 3 but not for use on my actual Note 3. I use Tasker along with another app to program custom tasks onto NFC tags. I have a whole bunch of those things ranging from key chains to stickers and little pogs. With Tasker, I can make them do whatever I want and it’s come in handy around the house for various things. My favorite is the NFC tag I keep on my washer and dryer that, when swiped, will set a timer for the length of time it’ll take to wash and dry my cloths.

What do YOU think?

Join us in the comments and vote in our poll.

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