Most people familiar with the Nexus program know that each new Android update usually brings with it a new set of driver "blobs" for each supported phone and tablet in the product line. Even though these proprietary binaries are usually the latest versions when they come out, Google still occasionally receives updates to the drivers even when it's not a good time to issue an OTA. As we've just witnessed from the long lead time on the 4.4.3 release, it can take quite a while before an update is rolled out.
If the Internet had a pantheon of deities, Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds would surely be among them, with a big white beard and a laurel wreath. Torvalds has been a vocal detractor of corporations that don't offer support for Linux, including an especially expressive denouncement of NVIDIA back in 2012. But yesterday, Torvalds gave NVIDIA a thumbs-up - which is two whole fingers away from his previous gesture - for posting an early open-source driver for the Tegra K1.
Back on Halloween, Google promised that proprietary binaries and factory images for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 would arrive shortly after devices received their OTA updates. Even though some OTAs haven't even rolled out yet, as of a few minutes ago, all modern Nexus devices now have Android 4.4 KRT16O factory images and drivers available for download.
This means you can flash stock Android 4.4 onto any supported device, even if an OTA either wasn't available yet or wouldn't work for some reason.
Hot on the heels of its release, the Nexus 5's factory image and drivers (including those from Qualcomm) have already been posted. As usual, the Nexus 5's newly uploaded assets are right in line with the rest of the Nexus family, though no other members of the family have gotten a 4.4 update just yet. Those developers or enthusiasts who want something to play with can hit the appropriate link below to grab the image and/or drivers.
The LTE version of the Nexus 7 2013 just started shipping to the US last week. If a week of running on a stock ROM is entirely too long for you, take heart: even while you read these words, modders and ROM developers are hard at work building all kinds of aftermarket goodies for your unlocked tablet. That's because Google just posted the first full factory image plus binaries for the new model.
Ready for some more Android Open Source Project woes? In addition to the Nexus 7 drama over AOSP builds in the last couple of weeks, it looks like there are some issues with the Nexus 10 as well. Don't worry, the Android 4.3 factory image for the N10 is sitting on the Google Developers page, proud and happy, but the binaries and drivers for some individual components on the tablet seem to be missing, most notably the graphics driver.
It was just the other day when it came out that complications with Qualcomm licensing was keeping Google from posting the binaries and full factory image for the new Nexus 7 tablet. The issue was so irksome that Jean-Baptiste Quéru (JBQ), Google's Android open source manager, decided to leave that post. Well, that must have lit a fire under someone, because Google just posted the image and drivers for the Razor hardware.
I've been using Samsung's Galaxy Note 8.0 for the past week or so, and it is hands-down one of the best tablets I've ever used. The form factor is great, and the S Pen adds some really useful functionality to this little beast. If you're looking for a new tablet in a smaller-than-ten-inches form factor, I readily recommend this one.
And once you've decided to pull the trigger and buy one, you may want a quick and easy way to gain root access, flash a recovery, make a backup, and all that other fun stuff that so many Android users like to do.
The Galaxy Nexus variant on Sprint might actually have a chance of being officially supported by Google in AOSP after all, which would be a big step in the right direction for carrier-branded Nexus devices.
If you remember, neither Verizon's nor Sprint's Galaxy Nexus was supported by the Android Open Source Project at launch, with the Verizon's version joining the program over half a year after its release. Even though the Nexus S 4G is fully supported, Sprint's GNex variant remained absent from the Nexus Binaries page and was therefore completely unsupported by the Android team.