The Sony Xperia Z2 is a great device out of the box, but let's not kid around, a certain number of people are going to want to root and flash it if for no reason other than spite. The task requires a good custom ROM to turn to in place of whatever unbearable software the phone shipped with, and fortunately the latest version of CyanogenMod, complete with Android 4.4, is now one such option available to Xperia Z2 owners who just can't bear to let things be.
Android 4.4.3 isn't a huge bump up from the previous incremental release - the biggest change is a new dialer, though there are thousands of adjustments behind the scenes. Even so, the most popular families of custom Android ROMs are quickly adopting the open source code into their bleeding-edge releases. CyanogenMod has already begun the transfer to 4.4.3 with its latest nightly builds.
The newer OmniROM has also started publishing 4.4.3 nightly builds for its supported devices, available on the download page.
There are so many regional and carrier variants of Samsung's Galaxy S4 flagship that even we can hardly keep them straight, but apparently CyanogenMod hasn't released an official ROM for the white bread, vanilla, Exynos-powered original GS4 before now. But lo and behold, a new build for the GT-I9500 GSM model has appeared on the CM download page. It's a test version of CyanogenMod 11 (Android 4.4) if you're interested.
As you may recall, support for Exynos-based hardware has been something of a sticking point for CyanogenMod and other ROM teams.
Sony hardware fans, you've now got at least two more options when it comes to Android-based software. The current Sony flagship, the Xperia Z1, is now officially supported by the CyanogenMod ROM. The first CM 11 (Android 4.4) nightly build was posted to the CyanogenMod download page last night. There's also a new version of CM 11 built specifically for the Xperia Z Ultra Google Play Edition, the AOSP version of Sony's monster phablet on sale in the Play Store.
If you're too impatient to wait for Samsung to get Android 4.4 to your carrier variant of the Galaxy Note 3 (or if you're just tired of TouchWiz), the indefatigable boys and girls of CyanogenMod are here to help. They've just released the first nightly builds of CM 11 (KitKat) for Samsung's plus-sized flagship, with support for the international LTE model (N9005), plus Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint versions.
As it happens, Samsung just started sending out the official 4.4 update for the N9005 earlier this week, so those of you who are on the unlocked version of the phone might want to go for the TouchWiz build of KitKat instead.
Any HTC One owners who spend the day anxiously biting their nails in anticipation of the newest CyanogenMod nightly will be in for a surprise today. The popular ROM has unified several versions of the device under one heading. The AT&T, T-Mobile, and unlocked versions of the One are now on a single m7 ROM.
HTC One GSM (m7) unified builds - m7ul, m7att, m7tmo are all just 'm7' starting tonight.
It's been almost exactly one month since the CyanogenMod team published its first build of Android 4.4 for Nexus devices, and now the second M or "snapshot" release is rolling out. This time CyanogenMod 11 is going out to a much wider subset of the officially-supported device list, with most of the big players in the Nexus, Galaxy S4, and HTC One lines getting M builds, among many others. You can check to see if your device has a CM11 M2 ROM available at the download page.
Typically Christmas day is a slow one for technology news, but apparently the good folks at the Android Open Kang Project have dragged their coding machines in front of the open fire. Today AOKP has posted the first nightly builds of Android 4.4.2, granting deliciously fresh custom ROMs to all the good little girls and boys. And all the bad ones too, I suppose.
The list of initially-supported devices doesn't cover AOKP's official support list yet, but it covers most of the major Nexus devices, Samsung's Galaxy SIII and S4 American and international incarnations, all five major versions of the HTC One, and a handful of Sony devices (because they tend to be pretty open as far as bootloaders and modifications go).
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.