Much of Android is open to tinkerers, but Google has gradually closed off more and more of the default functionality. The most awesome aspects of the KitKat dialer - its ability to search for businesses and contacts from within the app - were not included in the open source version. So what's a ROM developer to do? Why, create their own alternative. The OmniROM folks have previously shown off their work, and now the CyanogenMod team has packed similar functionality, albeit seemingly more powerful, into the latest nightlies.
Fans of ROM flashing were a bit perturbed when a Paranoid Android developer announced several weeks ago that PA's Halo multitasking system was dead. The situation was certainly more nuanced than that, but the Paranoid Android Google+ account has finally posted a clarification of what's happening with the next version. The short version is... everything's changing.
Fans of Motorola and ROM flashing will be excited to learn CyanogenMod is giving them what they want. NewCM11 nightly builds of the popular ROM now support a ton of Motorola devices with unified builds. You just have to figure out which phones are which – it's a little tricky.
There is a single ROM for the Falcon, which would be a cool name for a phone. It's actually the Moto G, and it looks like this ROM should work for all variants.
If you're not quite brave enough for nightly builds, but aren't content to wait around for stable ones, CyanogenMod's M builds might be just right. Today you can grab the latest M3 build of CyanogenMod 11 (KitKat) straight from the source. It isn't available on every device quite yet, but it's only a matter of time.
The M builds are "snapshots" of the ROM that are released about every month. There are fewer bugs than nightlies, but the polish from a release candidate or stable build might not be there.
OmniROM is getting a lot of attention from serial ROM flashers, and that lot tends to be pretty flighty – there must be something to this one. Now, the developers have added a new feature that might pique your interest. The latest nightlies of OmniROM include a new app switcher called OmniSwitch. Alternative app switchers are not an entirely new idea, but OmniSwitch looks to have a number of interesting features.
The Android custom ROM community is a relatively small one, but it's about to be shaken up in a big way. Roman Birg, founder and leader of the Android Open Kang Project (better known as AOKP), has been hired by Cyanogen Inc., the company that's now formally developing and promoting the CyanogenMod ROM. The move has been confirmed on AOKP's homepage.
AOKP founder Roman Birg, via Google+
Birg hasn't said what he'll be doing for Cyanogen Inc., though the company has been advertising job openings for software engineers.
The new Xperia Z1s on T-Mobile is almost identical to the international Z1, except for the radio bands and some software tweaks. One thing that definitely isn't the same is the bootloader – it appears that T-Mobile has requested Sony not allow bootloader unlocks on this device. For a company trying to upend the traditional carrier model, this is awfully old-fashioned carrier behavior.