The Galaxy Note 8.0 is a pretty capable tablet, though it does have several drawbacks. While the painfully low 1280 by 800 display can't be helped, its default software configuration is far less immutable. If TouchWiz just grinds your gears, you will be happy to know that CyanogenMod nightlies are now available for both the 3G (GT-N5100) and WiFi-only (GT-N5110) versions of the tablet. Sure, anyone who installs them now may be sacrificing stability and other functionality, but that's the price some are willing to pay for stock Android and quicker access to updates.
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.
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.
Last weekend the Big Android BBQ took place in Hurst, Texas. It's a small but energetic little show specifically targeted towards Android developers (and the more rabid enthusiasts - you know who you are). The CyanogenMod team has attended before, but what with the incorporation, this year was a big deal, and the first time that they became an official sponsor. Today an outline of Cyanogen Inc. CTO Steve Kondik's presentation was posted to the web, along with his slides.
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.