When it comes to hardware aesthetics, Sony has some of the best industrial design around. The 6.4-inch Xperia Z Ultra is undeniably attractive in its glass and metal casing. The software isn't so appealing, and not just because it's Android 4.2 - Sony's custom interface leaves a lot to be desired. If you'd like to run something closer to AOSP, not to mention a latter version of Android, the indefatigable CyanogenMod team is now offering nightly builds of CM 10.2.
The Moto X already comes with a Nexus-like user experience, but for many users, that just isn't enough. The looks are great and all, but there are just some features that can only be found buried at the end of custom ROMs like treasure at the end of a rainbow that only power users can see. But CyanogenMod fans who happened to pick up a Moto X on AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon, hold up before downloading the recently released nightly builds, as these files are only intended for the unlocked or developer editions.
For many of us, it's not enough just to get our hands on a new handset. We love Android, but we're just not big fans of the changes that manufacturers make to distinguish their phones from one another. Some manufacturer customizations, like Sense 5, are arguably more attractive than Google's own efforts.
In stock Android, capturing a screenshot from your device is as easy as pressing the Power button and the Volume Down button simultaneously. Recording video from the device's screen however can be a little trickier.
Looking, as always, to enhance the stock Android experience with awesome new touches, the CyanogenMod team (specifically Koushik Dutta) is working on integrating screen recording through an easy Volume Up + Power combination.
With that simple key combination, users will be able to record their device's screen, with audio and touch indicators thrown in for added utility.
Since CyanogenMod became Cyanogen Inc., we've been anticipating a quick and easy CM Installer that would make flashing to the "CyanogenMod experience" fast, simple, and less "hideous" than the current process.
The CM team is currently canvassing G+ for usability testers, with the stated goal of taking the process of installing third-party ROMs (specifically CyanogenMod) and streamlining it, making it less intimidating and more accessible to more users.
After running through the installation process for myself, I can confirm that it does just that.
The CyanogenMod team has already granted official ROM support for the LTE version of Samsung's diminutive Galaxy S4 Mini, and now the international 3G variant gets a chance. The first build for the S4 Mini 3G was posted to Get.CM on Friday night, but if you're waiting for a bleeding-edge build, you're going to be disappointed. It's CyanogenMod 10.1, based on Android 4.2, which is what the S4 Mini runs under TouchWiz.
The CyanogenMod cLock home and lock screen widget is capable of displaying the time, the weather, upcoming calendar events, and more. It's highly configurable, as you would expect considering the ROM it's associated with, and thanks to popular demand, it's now available in the Play Store as a standalone app. Only now it goes by its original name - Chronus.
Verizon is the only major carrier in the US who offers the HTC One with Android 4.2, but that doesn't mean squat if you intend to flash a custom ROM on it anyway. Sense 5 is fast, attractive, and stable - but it isn't for everyone. The app drawer could use some work, and the launcher isn't exactly the easiest to customize. Besides, the available options pale in comparison to what CyanogenMod offers out of the box.
CM stable users, it's time to update your ROM – the final build of 10.1.3 is rolling out to get.cm right now. We saw the last version bump to the stable channel back in July with 10.1.2, and this update brings about "numerous bug fixes, new devices, and privacy guard" according to Cyanogen Inc. community manager Abhisek "ciwrl" Devkota.
Chinese manufacturer Oppo has been teasing its N1 flagship for some time, and the phone finally became official this morning. At 5.9 inches it sits squarely in the "phablet" category, though there are certainly enough other hardware highlights to turn a few heads. The most interesting is probably the 13MP camera, which sits on a case-mounted hinge and rotates to serve as both the rear and front cameras. It's a design seen before in some laptops and earlier camera phones, but this is the first time we've seen it on a modern smartphone.