The folks at CyanogenMod work fast. It was only two days ago that the AOSP code was updated with October's security fixes (following Google's promise to issue monthly security updates to Android) and now these changes have been merged into the custom ROM's code and are stable enough to deserve a "snapshot" label instead of the nightly status.
This isn't the first 12.1 stable(ish) release from CyanogenMod. The title goes to last month's snapshot which brought Android 5.1.1 to many of CM's supported devices. But this new build should be even more stable and reliable than that thanks to the new fixes.
The CyanogenMod team continues to develop builds for new phones, and today we get support for two budget-oriented options that are popular with the unlocked crowd. The Moto E 2015, a phone with a relatively small screen and a tiny price, and the Huawei Mate 2, a phone with a relatively enormous screen and a price that's still pretty small, both have CyanogenMod 12.1 (Android 5.1) ROMs waiting for them on the official download site.
You knew this was coming sooner or later. Android Auto has been viewed as a mostly closed system, if not by nature of the software itself (which is technically open source) then by the fact that it's an extension of Android running on a big chunk of metal installed in your car. But some intrepid developers over on enthusiast forum AVIC411 have discovered a way to boot software directly from the SD card slot on Pioneer's NEX series of aftermarket Android Auto head units. That paves the way for custom ROMs in your car, or at least your car's entertainment system.
If you've been waiting for a more stable version of the CyanogenMod ROM to become available before upgrading to Android 5.0, now's your chance. Snapshot builds of CM 12 are now rolling off of the build server and onto the CyanogenMod download page, going in their usual alphabetical order by codename. These are the first snapshot versions of CyanogenMod 12, and according to members of the CM 12 team, they'll also be the last.
Snapshots are among the more stable releases of the community ROM, more so than the monthly "M" builds (which are pretty reliable themselves, at least compared to one-off efforts you might see on standard user forums).
Despite the continuing tense relationship between Cyanogen and OnePlus, the former seems to be making new partnerships all the time, particularly with low-cost phone suppliers in emerging markets. The latest to run the company's custom build of Android is a carrier phone from Indonesian company Smartfren, the Andromax Q. Despite having a name that sounds like some kind of multi-gendered Replicant, it will be Indonesia's first phone running Cyanogen "OS."
The specs on the Andromax Q are decidedly low-end - here in the states it would probably cost $100-150 off-contract, and it will sell for 1.3 million Rupiah (about $97 USD) from Smartfren.
Sony is continuing its odd support for modifications and software based on Android's open source core. Today they're releasing a collection of flashable recovery partitions for some phones - technically these count as "custom" recoveries, but they're based on AOSP, and therefore pretty close to what you'd find on Nexus devices. Sony's intro video does state that the recovery can restore data, flash custom ROMs, and boot to multiple ROMs, something that most stock recoveries can't handle.
The new recovery is available on the Xperia Z1, Xperia Z1 Compact, Xperia Z Ultra, Xperia T2 Ultra, Xperia T3, Xperia M2, and Xperia E3, all of which need to be unlocked at the bootloader level and running the latest "generic" software from Sony.
Here's a mildly interesting story discovered by one member of the CyanogenMod Reddit board. Apparently the state congress of Indiana uses a custom setup to allow its state senators and representatives to submit votes. A Nexus 7 running the CyanogenMod custom ROM is permanently attached to each congressperson's desk, connected to the building's intranet system using a custom Ethernet adaptor (to avoid problems from an overcrowded Wi-Fi connection - there are 150 senators who vote at once), and hooked into SmartVote software from Propylon.
The Nexus Player is (so far) the only consumer device available that runs Android TV, which means a considerable portion of the people who own one are serious Android fans. It follows that they're prime candidates for ROM flashing (not to mention Android Police readership), so they'll be happy to know that they can now install CyanogenMod on their set-top box. CM 12.1 (based on Android 5.1) is now available in nightly form for the Nexus Player.
A custom ROM for a set-top box makes a little less sense than it does for a phone; Android TV is intended to be a rather encapsulated media-focused experience, with limited expansion via apps only.
Surprisingly, we haven't asked this one more than once! Actually, I don't think we've ever asked it exactly like this, and it'll be an interesting one to watch. We did, however, ask you about six months ago whether your device was rooted. A full 63% were in the "yes" camp - let's see how this poll's results compare.
So, this week's question: are you running a custom ROM on your phone? For those of you with OnePlus Ones (or Yus, or N1s), if you are running an unmodified Cyanogen OS build or Oxygen OS - be it a nightly or a stable release - please answer "no." The reasoning here is as follows: a custom ROM's generally accepted definition is firmware that your device did not ship with or upgrade to on an officially sanctioned path.