The nice thing about owning a Nexus device is that it's the first thing to get all the fancy new custom ROMs. Various indie developers have been tweaking AOSP for Nexus phones and tablets (and other devices) since Lollipop launched, and CyanogenMod started publishing nightlies just a few weeks ago. Now there's another option among the high-profile Android ROM teams: Paranoid Android. Alpha builds of the Lollipop version were just published to the download site.
The first beta of Paranoid Android 4.6 has been made available for download and it includes a feature the team has been working on for some time. Dynamic System Bars (DSB) allows the status and navigation bars to match the action bar color in apps. If you've ever used the Tinted Status bar mod for Xposed, this is a similar idea.
The CyanDelta Updater app now has support for Paranoid Android, so users of that ROM can join the likes of their CyanogenMod or OmniROM running peers in avoiding that beefy ROM update each night. Keeping up with the nightly Joneses typically requires downloading a sizable update daily, but CyanDelta addresses this situation by only pulling down delta files, which contain just the part of each update that has actually changed. The premise is simple: why download an entire ROM each day if you can simply get what's new?
Well folks, this is it: the final build of Paranoid Android is ready, just in time for Google I/O to show us a new version of the OS. Turn out the lights, the party's over. The fat lady is singing. We'll go quietly into that... what? This is isn't the last Paranoid Android build? It's just feature-complete and stable, and development on the custom ROM will continue? Ah. Well, carry on then.
Android 4.4.3 hit Nexus devices last week, and now the Paranoid Android folks are hard at work packing the latest version of KitKat into their custom ROM. Today they're ready to show off the fruits of their labor in the form of the first release candidate for Paranoid Android 4.4.
This release includes not only the goodies found in 4.4.3 but a few other niceties as well. Users will get to experience changes made to Hover.
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.
One of the nicest things about CyanogenMod (from a cosmetic perspective, anyway) is support for hundreds and hundreds of community-baked themes on the Play Store and elsewhere. As opposed to a launcher theme or icon set, these themes are system-wide, and they can completely change the look of your phone or tablet in a few seconds. Custom ROMs often bake in a compatible theme system (see AOKP), and now the popular Paranoid Android family has done so as well.
The Paranoid Android family of custom ROMs has a history of adding interesting custom user interface elements, but since re-starting with KitKat, the developers have been trying out some new ideas. One of the first new features for the revamped PA is called Hover, and it's basically a complete rethinking of the Halo idea. Hover is a short-lived visual overlay that temporarily replaces the notification bar with a richer and more useful version, including expandable alerts and floating windows.
The Paranoid Android team is in the process of rebuilding the ROM from the ground up with new features and new takes on existing ones. Peek is a new feature designed to make checking your notifications more convenient. All you have to do is pick up the phone – sound familiar?