Ask anybody that spends time in the security circles and they'll tell you that every large software project is bound to have a few long-standing vulnerabilities in the code. Fortunately, there are usually a few people who are paid to close up those holes so you, the customer, don't find yourself the victim of nefarious evildoers someday. Like so many before it, the latest update to Android came with a boatload of changes, at least one of which fixes a potentially dangerous vulnerability that can be used for numerous attacks, including a way to acquire root.
The Android 4.4.3 rollout is in full swing, with the 2013 Wi-Fi Nexus 7 getting its OTA early this morning and a bunch of flavors of GPE devices and various Motos receiving theirs just a few hours ago. Nexus 5 owners with locked bootloaders even started feeling a bit snubbed waiting for their OTA to arrive, but they can now breathe with ease - not only has the OTA indeed begun, but we have the download link and manual flashing instructions right here.
As just announced on Motorola's official blog, the company will begin rolling out Android 4.4.3 KitKat to unlocked Mot X, G, and E owners this week. Motorola has made a point of rapid updates since it was acquired and subsequently sold by Google, with Punit Soni acting as the public face of Motorola's software update team.
This update will be rolling out to unlocked (T-Mobile) Moto X owners, the unlocked Moto G (including the new and old 3G variants, as well as LTE the version), and the Moto E.
An alleged system dump from LG's upcoming Android Wear-powered G Watch has been leaked on Twitter by an account known as upleaks, along with a bootloader animation hosted on YouTube pulled from said dump. Take a look:
This is our first look at the bootloader animation for Android Wear, though obviously there's not much substantive information we can gather from it. It looks nice, so there's that. We haven't delved into the dump ourselves, but feel free to download it from the Mega link in tweet below or in the source links at the bottom of this article.
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.
Yesterday was a relatively big day for Android, at least compared to our regularly scheduled programming - Google sent us a gift in the form of the 4.4.3 update, available immediately via factory images and in AOSP. The problem with factory images, however, is that they require an unlocked bootloader to flash, so many of you opt in to wait for the respective OTAs.
The first such OTA has just arrived - it's for the 2013 Nexus 7 Wi-Fi (not for LTE yet), also known as Razor.
Android 4.4.3 is mostly a bug fix update, but for some reason, Google also opted to include an updated version of the official Google dialer this time. We saw this leak a few times before, and indeed, it's looking pretty much like we expected it to. Let's take a look at how it differs from the old version. Some functions have moved around and it's a lot more blue.
This means you can remount /system as read-write, just as before, change build.prop, push APKs to /system/app, and do whatever you want without rebooting into recovery.
For now, you're safe. But probably not for long. And when the hammer drops, we'll have yet another reason to opt in for a custom ROM or kernel, because nobody can take our freedom, not even the mighty El Goog.
The build numbers are KTU84M for the Nexus 5 and KTU84L for the rest of the Nexus devices. The AOSP branch is kitkat-mr2-release, with the tag most likely named android-4.4.3_r1 expected to arrive shortly.