By Joe Levi | November 12, 2013 7:23 AM
Before anyone gets their hopes up, as of right this instant, the only device that has an official build of Android 4.4 KitKat is Google’s own Nexus 5. That will change as soon as Google releases updates for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10, and as other OEMs begin pushing updates to their flagship devices. HTC has already committed to releasing its updates “within 90 days“. In the meantime, Google has already pushed KitKat into the AOSP, and you know what that means: custom ROMs!
Custom ROMs come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of stability. Some are rock solid, and some may turn your expensive device into a paperweight or interesting conversation piece. Nonetheless, any list ever compiled which attempts to catalog the entirety of custom ROMs available for every single device is going to out-of-date as soon as it’s published. Don’t consider this to be an exhaustive list, rather, think of it as a starting point.
Since KitKat-based custom ROMs are still in their infancy, let’s talk about some of the more notable custom ROMs, and see where they are in their development cycle.
OmniROM is a relative newcomer to the ROMming game, having just arrived a few weeks before KitKat was announced. Most of these ROMs are currently Jelly Bean 4.3, not KitKat 4.4, though the development focus has shifted to the new version of the OS.
Just in case OmniROM is new to you, this is likely to be the team that fills in the gap that was left when CyanogenMod went commercial. You’ll want to keep an eye on them in the future.
As of this writing there are no “officially supported” devices, but according to their website, the OmniROM team is already seeing experimental ROMs being built for “the Galaxy Note N7000, the international Galaxy S III (i9300), the Nexus 4, the Nexus 5, the Nexus 7, the LG Optimus G, the Galaxy S II (i9100G OMAP variant), the Oppo Find 5, Sony Xperia T, and many more to come”.
You can get more information about OmniROM from their website, OmniROM.org
Next up are a set of ROMs from the Paranoid Android team. In their current state they’re not much more than AOSP builds without of the Paranoid goodness baked in. That will change over time, of course, but for now, these are the talented souls who brought KitKat to Nexus phones and tablets before anyone else.
Devices they currently support include (and are limited to) Google’s Nexus 7 (2013 WiFi version), the Nexus 7 (2012 WiFi version), and the Nexus 4 (MAKO). Don’t expect any of your favorite PA features to be present in these builds, they’re reconstructing them. Patience is a virtue.
If you’d like to download the ROMs or PA’s GAPPS package, you can do so at their website: ParanoidAndroid.co
The CyanogenMod team is calling their KitKat builds CM11, and have already seen some pretty good results with early builds for the “Xperia T, HTC One, S4 Mini, Galaxy Tab, Nexus 10, Skyrocket and many more (yes, including the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 (12/13) and Nexus 5)”.
Don’t ask for an ETA on when CM11 will be available for your device. Just don’t. Trust me.
The AOKP team has taken a different approach. Half their team is working on the final milestone for Android 4.3, and the other half is focusing on Android 4.4 in a more “clean” approach than they’ve used in the past. Initial builds will be “nearly barebones” (SIC) with more of the AOKP features that you’ve come to expect being added in “soon” after the first release. Just don’t ask them what “soon” means.
More information on AOKP can be found on their website: AOKP.co
A few new “hobby” ROMs have popped up. A Taste of KitKat and SlimKat for the GSM Galaxy Nexus, Shiny for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, and some other “generic” ROMs for specific devices are floating around, too. Here are a few of those in no particular order:
The new reduced memory requirements of KitKat have led many (myself included) to dream about the day when Android 4.4 will run on even the oldest of hardware. Didn’t the Nexus One have 512MB RAM? Alas, even though devices such as these meet the “minimum” RAM requirements, don’t expect to see KitKt running on them. At least not in any reliable fashion. Sure, I expect there will be more than a few ROMs built just to prove that it can be done, and you’ll probably see a video or two from Pocketnow when that day arrives. However, the reduced memory requirements serve two purposes: to make Android run even faster on high-end devices, and to make Android run reasonably well on low-end devices, especially in emerging markets. Google is not trying to upgrade every device ever made to Android 4.4 KitKat.
Oh well, it was fun to dream while it lasted!
Get to work!
This list, as I mentioned earlier, should serve as a good jumping off point for you to get your feet wet with Android 4.4 KitKat. Here at Pocketnow, we don’t have every device ever made, nor do we have the time or manpower to investigate and report on each ROM for each device. We do, however, have some of the best, most technically savvy readers available (yes, that’s you!).
So now it’s your turn. Go and find out if there is a custom ROM available for your device, then share what you’ve found in the comments below!
If your device is in the list, let us know how it works for you. Which ROM did you go with? Where did you get it? What problems did you run into when you flashed it on your device? What cool features did you find hiding away inside it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
If your device is not in the list, but you’ve managed to find a source for it, make sure you share that with us as well! Be sure you include your device’s name and model number, and the name and URL of the ROM that you found.
Do you want to learn how to flash KitKit on your Android? Perhaps you’d like to see Paranoid Android’s custom ROM running on a Nexus 4? Curious about what all those new features in Android 4.4 are all about? Tune in to Pocketnow Live S02E04 where we talk about the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat. And, last, but certainly not least, check out why we think Android 4.4.1 may be right around the corner.