Whenever there's a new version of Android on the block, you can bet that custom ROM makers will be some of the first to push it out - for example, the Paranoid Android team had an AOSP build of KitKat available the day after the code was published. This weekend the makers of four of the most prolific custom ROM families out there, CyanogenMod, Android Open Kang Project (AOKP), Paranoid Android, and Omni ROM, have shared their plans for Android 4.4.


First up is CyanogenMod. In a statement posted on the team blog (or is that company blog, now?), a CyanogenMod representative stated that the folks are hard at work on incorporating CM's features into new builds. Nightlies for various models, including the usual Nexus suspects and others like the HTC One, are already being worked on. Publicly available nightly ROMs are expected to be posted by the end of November. In regard to CyanogenMod's wide range of officially supported devices, the blog takes pains to note that KitKat's lower hardware requirements won't mean that older and more low-power devices will be getting new builds. Devices with a Texas Instruments OMAP SoC in particular may not make the jump, though I'd say that the various models of the Galaxy Nexus are probably safe for now.

On to my personal favorite, AOKP. The update to Team Kang's unicorn-speckled page doesn't mention a specific timeline - in fact, they're loath to commit to any sort of ETA. But it does mention that the team has been divided in two: one side will work on perfecting a final milestone (stable) release based on Android 4.3, while the other will be building AOKP 4.4 from the ground up. A reorganized code base means that the first few versions will be "barebones AOSP," and the AOKP team will build the ROM's many features back into the public releases as time progresses. There's no mention of new device support, but it's probable that most of the current official builds will continue, plus new builds for the Nexus 5 and other recently-released, high-profile devices.

Paranoid Android was one of the first organized teams to get fully functional 4.4 builds based on AOSP released, though they didn't include any of the ROM's celebrated UI features. According to this Google+ post, they'll continue to publish these ROMs for the various Nexus devices while slowly adding in their own functionality, making note of the new overlapping features in 4.4. PA notes that they will continue to focus on Nexus devices, with non-Nexus devices that were previously supported given priority over new phones and tablets.

Omni ROM, a relatively new player with a focus on a multi-window UI, has also posted an update for their Android 4.4 intentions. They'll be throwing in a lot of new features on the 4.4 edition, including expanded support for a universal installer, over-the-air updates, more security features, and a user-activated screen recorder. According to the post they're hoping to publish nightly builds for at least some devices in the next few days, though I wouldn't expect those to be feature-complete. Currently the ROM is on track to be released for the Nexus devices, Oppo Find 5, LG Optimus G, and a few others, in addition to currently-supported phones and tablets.

Of course there are independent developers all over the Android community who are pumping out ROMs based on AOSP 4.4 for all kinds of devices. If you're looking for something even more bleeding edge (or you've got a phone or tablet that doesn't get a lot of love from the major players), check the usual portals at XDA, RootzWiki, and the other well-traveled forums out there in Androidland.

Source: CyanogenMod, AOKP, Paranoid Android, Omni ROM

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • sivkai

    Using a Nexus 5 here. As much I love PA, I think I'm gonna stick with stock for a while...

    • Simon Belmont

      Me, too, on my Nexus 5, for now. My backup phone, a (semi-retired) G'Nex, though, I'll be giving these various ROMs a go.

      Best of both worlds, for me. I can toy with the ROMs and, at the same time, enjoy my new Nexus 5 without stability issues.

      • Nexus311

        Same situation here, just with my Nexus S. 4.4 Alpha builds already! CM is going to run pretty well.

        That said, I'm loving my 5. ~3 years is a long time (12/16/2010).

    • Harold Goldner

      Agreed. Keeping my Nexus 7 (2012) stock until the official KitKat update drops; then I'll see where things go.

      • steviecil235

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        • Guest

          That's stupid, just rob a bank instead.

    • Jesse Cohen

      I am keeping the latest 4.3 PA build until a fully featured PA 4.4 build surfaces... I cannot go without PA's features unless I am confident that a stock AOSP build is stable and fast enough to warrant dropping the feature set, even if it is temporary.

      • JJ

        Me too. However I tried 4.4 & loved it. But I immediately missed the PA features. I couldn't stand my UI being so huge, for one. Felt like I was in kindergarten!

        • didibus

          Damn, from all the news I read, I don't feel like anything in 4.4 is that much better than 4.3, but people who tried it say it is, I can't wait to give it a go.

        • Hugo Oskarsson

          Yeah! I used instagram on a friends phone and it was so ugly!!!

    • Rita V. Jefferies

      my step-dad recently bought an almost new Mitsubishi i-MiEV by working off of a home computer... website here>>> W­W­W.F­B­3­9.C­O­M

  • Roberto Giunta

    There are quite some features that I miss from using stock:

    - Changing from notifications to quick setting by swiping to te left/right
    - Volume controls where I can control the 3/4 volumes seperately and not only the "master volume control".
    - Other toggles in the quick settings (torch, NFC and a few others)
    - Power menu options to boot into the bootloader, recovery or simply restart
    - Kill All button in the multitasking view
    - More targets in the home button navigation ring (I don't like "Home button launcher")
    - Automatically expand lockscreen widgets

    And a few others I can't think of right now. But otherwise, stock is pretty good and fast, more or less bug free, IMHO.

    • simp1istic

      The annoying kill all button actually caused me to leave PA.

      • Roberto Giunta

        I used PacRom on my S2 and there was the option to disable the button (it even had to be activated, it was disabled by default).

        • simp1istic

          That's a much better option IMO.

          • JJ

            Yes, choice would be better

        • A.M

          yea I'm running Kit kat 4.4 Alpha 2 on S2

      • Melad360

        same here! it pissed me off so much. i switched to carbon rom and never looked back.

      • JJ

        Lol, the kill all button is one of the main things that keep me with PA. Also the hybrid mode and per app layout and resolution.

        • simp1istic

          In what situation would you ever need to use that button

          • JJ

            Need to or want/like to? No one "needs" any of this stuff. I use it when i want to stop or get rid of the apps in my recent apps. For me, it beats swiping 1 by 1.

          • simp1istic

            Why would you ever empty your recent apps list though? It kind of defeats the purpose of having a recent apps list.

          • JJ

            No it doesn't defeat the purpose. Stock would have no reason to offer the ability to swipe them off manually if that were the case. To answer your question, because I like to start it from scratch sometimes, or have apps start from scratch by my choice instead of waiting for Android to decide to have that happen. The same reason people rake leaves instead of waiting for the wind to blow them away.

          • PhilNelwyn

            Except fallen leaves are undesired and useless... If that's what you think of the recent apps list, then you don't get its purpose.
            Stock offers the ability to swipe an app off in case it's misbehaving, not having this possibility would be a flaw, but you're not supposed to kill all apps this way, that actually defeats the purpose of the recent apps list.

            That said, if you want/like to do it, that's your choice.

          • abobobilly

            For people with low RAM devices, its a very useful feature. Apps in your recent apps list when swiped off from the list, will also clear some memory (killing the apps still in memory).

          • Guillaume ‘XpLoDWilD’

            Believe me that if your device needs memory, it will find it. Apps in the Recents list aren't necessarily active/still cached.

          • abobobilly

            Not all of them, yeah. But the whole point was, that it was a very useful feature and you can't ignore it because "some" people think otherwise :)

    • Egnimatic_Foolishness

      I am currently running stock 4.3 right now and have access to a decent amount of these options now. You may want to look into using xposed framework with the appropriate modules. Try this post for guidance http://lifehacker.com/how-to-create-your-own-customized-version-of-android-wi-1440101209

      I've heard that 4.4 isn't officially supported by the developer, but it may still be something you can explore if you would like to remain on stock

      • Roberto Giunta

        I've already read that it's not yet supported. Right now I'll wait and see :)

        • andy_o

          Check out the Gravity Box module, it can do everything you listed. I'm also patiently waitinig for the 4.4 Xposed and GB update.

    • Vignesh

      if you are rooted you can try 'Gravity box' an Xposed module.. it takes care of your first 4 quirks..

      • akshay7394

        All the quirks mentioned, actually. Every single one.

        Root + Xposed + GravityBox will save you, @robertogiunta:disqus!

        • Vignesh

          what exactly did he meant by More targets in home button..?

          • akshay7394

            Where you swipe up on the Home button on the navigation bar to get to the Google app normally, he wants more apps there.

          • murdomeek

            how do you get navigation ring from GB?

          • akshay7394

            Huh? GB never had a nav bar, let alone a nav ring

    • Colin Kealty

      My biggest complaint with stock is how the quicktoggles work, like tapping wifi opens the settings page, and long holding toggles, i don't like that :/

      • David Becker


  • The dude abides

    I hope the Note 3 gets any AOSP ROM soon... It's killing me the wait

    • Harit Singh

      me too, ive been considering selling the note and getting the G2 or Nexus 5 for a while now

  • A Black UI is the best UI

    Awesome news that Omni, AOKP and PA are prepping for 4.4 since the work they do is great and innovative. Couldn't care less about the other shit roms mentioned since they don't do anything useful anyway.

    Although i'll be staying with Slimroms for now since its lighter and less bloated plus 4.4 builds are already available for several devices.

    • squiddy20

      "Couldn't care less about the other shit roms mentioned since they don't do anything useful anyway." Since you obviously can't count, there was only one other "shit ROM" mentioned, idiot. And in case you didn't know, CM has been around the longest. I'm sure their organization structure served as the basis for AOKP, PA, and Omni.

      • A Black UI is the best UI

        If I remember correctly AOKP, PA and Omni didn't go corporate and go and bash and attack the very community that made them who they are which cm did so they aren't anything special just another asshole company in the sea of asshole companies.

        • squiddy20

          Looked at another way, those "other" ROMs take basically all the tweaks CM has done, slap their own stuff on top and call it theirs. Of course CM would seem like it has "the least amount of features". That is no different than Samsung taking stock Android and throwing Touchwiz/Nature UI on top of it. From my limited understanding, without CM there (arguably) would be no AOKP, PA, etc., just as without stock Android, there'd be no Touchwiz/Nature UI, Sense, or even the Kindle Fire.
          CM has essentially become the backbone of the backbone, with AOKP, PA, etc reaping the benefits (if they are indeed based off of CM). What I mean by this is, Google does it's thing with stock Android. CM takes stock Android and builds their features into their ROM. Then, AOKP et. al. take CM and build their own stuff on top of all that. Again, why wouldn't CM look bland in comparison?

          • JJ

            No, PA is not based on CM.

          • didibus

            Are they based of CM? It seems I've never found anyone know that for sure. I mean, AOKP says they will redo all the code a fresh from AOSP 4.4, that does not sound like they are waiting for CM 4.4

          • squiddy20

            I'm not sure. That's why I put in parentheses "if they are indeed based off of CM".

          • AndroidUser00110001

            Their code base is not based off CM. AOKP, PA and whoever else use the device tress from CM to build their ROMs for non Nexus devices. CM is usually first for new devices...

        • didibus

          As long as they keep compatibility with Stock Android, meaning apps remain fully cross compatible and Google services and apps keep working on it and that they keep their code fully open source I don't see the problem.

          I'm not sure how they plan to make money quite yet though, but if they keep there open source mentality, it might be for the best. If they find a way to make the installation simpler, other roms might even be able to fork that part of the code into their roms. It be a great thing.

          I do understand though that, some of the contributors were burned, because they will not be making any money from CM, even though they had contributed in its success.

  • http://www.baronsofbullshit.com/ seriosbrad

    Sounds like it will be slow going to bring our favorite ROMS back up to snuff with the features we have grown to know. But that's ok, I am patient. Swag power.

  • Ambroos

    Meanwhile I've been using a perfectly stable and fully functional AOSP 4.4 for a week now :P Gotta love Sony's commitment to driver releases! The 4.2 ones were so complete they pretty much work without adjustments on 4.4.

    • A mí no me pagan por opinar

      On which phone? Xperia Z?
      The thing with unlocked bootloaders and no MIUI for the Xperia Z1 makes at sometimes wish to have a Z :P

      • Ambroos

        Yep, on the Z. Forgot to mention it. I was quite surprised, two days after the source code release we had a fully functional build. It was a bit irregular with ondemand but after switching to the msm-dvcs scheduler everything is butter.

  • http://ishq-e-mustafa.blogspot.com/ Abdulmusawwir Qadri Barkaati

    Galaxy Nexus?

  • Mystery Man

    Note 3? ._.

  • Jadephyre

    So, now that we know that, it's time for Google to hoof it and release the binaries.
    I don't even want the factory images anymore, just the binaries will be enough, then someone can build a pre-rooted ROM that can be flashed from CWM (no, I don't use Twerp, don't even try to get me to switch).

  • dylan84

    AOKP is working on a stable 4.3 release...my One X hasn't even had a 4.3 nightly release yet. Guess its one of the devices they're hinting at being dead.

    • http://twitter.com/rohanXm Rohan Mathur

      I just haven't had time to push out a build for it :-) I still own it though so it will hopefully make a return in 4.4 :-) p.s. I'm the maintainer

      • dylan84

        Hell yeah Rohan! Was wondering what had happened to you, hadn't seen you in the One XL section on XDA lately...glad to know you're going to get back into working on a release!

  • supremekizzle

    LG G2??????

    • Anon

      The G2 will be second place to the N5.

  • Kcls

    Literally the only thing I can't deal with in stock android is the inability to customize the quick settings. I have CarbonRom on my Nexus 4 right now, and even with the hundreds of features, I think the only one I really truly use is that customization.

    • Bakaouji

      Agreed. I've installed Quick Toggles and it doesn't hurt that much anymore, but I still miss CM quick settings.

    • David Kokel

      Have a look at Battery Widget Reborn (BETA) (the beta version's for free). It features customizable quick settings in the notifications area.

  • duse

    Haven't used ROMs since I started buying Nexus devices and it's been very nice, no more wasting hours and hours of my weekends and evenings flashing, wiping data, setting things up, tweaking, etc. It's nice to just buy the phone, set it up once, and be done with it. However, I do find myself occasionally wishing I could change something here or there - increase max speaker volume, disable pattern lock while at home, add extra quick settings tiles, etc. So should I consider rooting and using Xposed w/GravityBox? Can GB do the first two things I mentioned? Does this prevent OTA updates working in the future?

    • Gandalf_Teh_Gray

      Tasker could help with that lock pin.

      • duse

        Not bad, but it looks like both Tasker and Delayed Lock are only able to disable the lockscreen entirely, rather than just disable the pattern to go back to a normal slide lockscreen.

        • Gandalf_Teh_Gray

          I'm sure someone could help you set what you want up. I'm not great at writing codes for it. Try here. :https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!forum/tasker

          • duse

            Thanks. I really think disabling pattern will require root somehow, but I'll continue looking into it.

    • Robert Bray

      Look up "Delayed Lock"

  • dan

    € 99.99 Android 4.2 Galaxy S4, good function + lowest price + fast delivery + best service = our best choice: http://u.x2009.net/z

  • Bendichi

    Holy crap, read the title as "CyanogenMod, AOKP, Paranoid Android, And Omni ROM Developers Give Up On Their KitKat 4.4 Plans". Crisis averted!

  • hyperbolic

    Great review Jeremiah!

  • Bloodflame87

    Ever since I got my N7(2013), I've been using my N4 a lot less, aside from the usual calls and texts. I'm keeping my N7 on PA 4.3 while playing around with KitKat on the N4. I must say, I'm in love with the Google Experience launcher. Hoping Nova and/or Apex can build off of it. I'd be more excited about that than custom ROM's at this point. Sure, there are crucial ROM features that I miss right now, but they'll be back soon enough. Looks like some great days/weeks/months ahead for Android :)

  • Ano Niem

    Thanks to Xposed my constantly brainstorming about going custom rom on my Nexus 7 Flo was put to an end. With module Gravitybox you have the more important options you have with custom rom. With Xtheme Engine and a Xtheme (pitchblack) my Android is almost totally black (menu's, Play Store, etc.) such as the Real Dark Slim with Slim Bean. And with the extra functions of Greenify with Xposed my already great batterytime became even much better (get control over the too much Google bloat).

    The developper of Xposed will start updating to 4.4 compatibility when his Nexus 5 arrives November 22. For me woth the wait. Stock Android although fast, stable and battery friendly is too basic and should have more options such as custom roms. Without Xposed I would have definately have gone custom, but I am glad I now don't have to.

    With Xposed no problems with official OTA also. OTA will overwrite a settings file and Xposed and modules just stop to load. At this point I would check the Xposed and modules threads about compatibilty and updates.

  • Matthew Fry

    It is a weird world we live in when ROM builders are faster out the door for releasing to Nexus devices than Google is.

  • Random!

    Since it seems quite a few of you Android Police writers have bought the Nexus 5, I think it would be really cool if all of you guys could try out the major custom ROMs in your old Nexus 4s and each write an article saying which ROM you like the most, eventually citing notable things (both good and bad) about the other ROMs. If you all end up liking the same thing, it could be a joint article.

  • wilflare

    starving for better custom ROM support on my Galaxy Note 3 :/