Much of Android's development is done out in the open, which is how several Android developers noticed that a recent commit to the Android Open Source Project master tree would break many of your favorite root apps. This is the result of a newly implemented security feature, rather than an active effort to lock things down on Google's part. Nevertheless, it could result in some inconvenience, so developer Chainfire has taken to his Google+ page to detail what will happen if the change is not reverted before the release of a future version of Android.
The various families of custom ROMs are in an arms race... in a really nice way. Each one is trying to one-up the others with new features and improvements on stock Android, with some genuinely spectacular results in some cases. The latest beta builds of Paranoid Android include some particularly useful features, most notably a revamped Quick Settings menu. The PA version of the drop-down icon grid allows for multiple functions for each square and on the fly rearranging.
Earlier this week, Samsung officially started the rollout of the Galaxy Note 3's update to Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Appearing first for those in Poland through KIES, the update matched what had been leaked shortly before the rollout began.
Just a few days later, Samsung has uploaded the official kernel source files to its Open Source Release Center.
Interestingly, the manufacturer told developer Chainfire just yesterday "we only publish open source code of official version," responding to a request for access to the files.
Privacy is important. In an age where, more than ever before, we are constantly exposing ourselves (no, not that way!) through social media, online services, and government security / surveillance directives, being a little concerned with your own privacy is totally normal. I get it.
But when a $170 encrypted wireless keyboard starts getting huge amounts of press even though encrypted wireless keyboards and mice have been around for years (and much cheaper, to boot), it's becoming clear that companies are getting smart to cashing in on consumers' growing privacy fears.
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.
Rarely does the first leaked firmware update for a flagship phone end up being exactly what rolls out to users, but that appears to be the case for the recently leaked KitKat ROM for the Note 3. Android 4.4.2 (N9005XXUENA6) is appearing in Poland through Kies right now, and the version number matches the leak from this weekend.
Samsung made a few notable tweaks in KitKat for the Note 3, just like it did for the ROM for the Galaxy S4 leaked a few days earlier.
If you've got a Qualcomm-powered, international Galaxy Note 3 and an appreciation for up-to-date software, you might want to check out the latest official leaked ROM from SamMobile. They've posted a purported test build for the KitKat 4.4.2 update of the Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005 (that's the Snapdragon 800 model with LTE bands). This leak comes just two days after the Android 4.4 build for the Galaxy S4.
Changes include all the usual KitKat goodies, plus a tweaked TouchWiz visual theme (with white battery, service, Wifi, clock, etc.
Each month, Google updates Android's platform distribution numbers according to devices that have accessed the Play Store in a seven-day period. January's updated pie chart has just hit, and things seem to be following a fairly predictable pattern.
KitKat, which was positioned at 1.1% last month, has eked out an additional 0.3% to reach 1.4%. Gingerbread, meanwhile, fell from 24.1% to 21.2%, continuing its gradual decline. Jelly Bean (including API levels 16-18) has actually grown to 59.1%, up from 54.5%, as manufacturers work to catch up to Android's latest and greatest.
OTA updates are usually a good thing, but first impressions can be misleading. The just leaked Android 4.4 KitKat build for the Galaxy S4 seems good, but some behind-the-scenes changes broke SuperSU, making root access difficult. Ever the go-getter, Chainfire already has it sorted out.
The new flashable ZIP file is available from Chainfire's site – version number 1.89. CF-Auto-Root has also been updated to include the new SuperSU. This has been successfully tested with the leaked ROM on the GT-i9505, but should also be fine on other devices you need to get root on.