LineageOS is the most-used custom Android ROM around, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for others. Paranoid Android was a popular choice back in the KitKat days, and while the ROM returned in full force with Nougat builds in 2017, there hasn't been much news since. Now the project is back (again), touting Android 10 builds for nine phones so far.
According to a change recently made to Google's Vendor Test Suite (VTS) spotted by our friends at XDA Developers, Google will require that all devices launching with Android 11 support seamless updates. More specifically, the VTS will check that devices running Android 11 and later support virtual A/B partition structures (which allow seamless updates), and fail if that support isn't present. Since devices must pass the VTS to ship with Google's apps, that effectively means that Android manufacturers will have to support seamless updates on devices that launch with Android 11.
Sony has managed to gain a lot of fans among developers thanks to its Open Devices program. It's an initiative that brings Android Open Source Project (AOSP) builds to some of the company's devices and allows developers to adapt and change the code. It also makes it easier to unlock the bootloader and install custom ROMs. Sony has announced that the latest phone to become part of the Open Devices program is the Xperia 5.
The new Xperia 10 and 10 Plus might not be the most interesting phones out there, but Sony has made them a bit more appealing for certain buyers today. These phones are the latest additions to Sony's Open Devices program. So, you can unlock and flash software on your Xperia 10 and 10 Plus without any arduous workarounds.
RCS has taken years to gain widespread network support, and we're still suffering through carrier interoperability issues. The current landscape is nothing if not entirely overcomplicated to navigate, especially for consumers. But the subject may become a bit simpler once Android Q rolls around, as pile of new RCS-specific APIs has popped up in AOSP, presumably bound for the next Android release. These APIs may finally provide third-party apps with the ability to work with RCS on supported carriers.
Popular custom ROM maker Paranoid Android came back from the dead in 2017 and has just announced its long-awaited first Android 9 Pie beta builds, with initial availability for a handful of Xiaomi devices. PA is also changing the way it develops its ROM to include Generic System Images (GSI) which should allow support for a greater number of devices.
For developers wishing to tinker with Sony phones, the Open Devices program is a welcome official point of entry. The Japanese company adds most of its high-profile Android handsets to the list of supported devices after a little while, and the Xperia XZ2 and XZ3 are the latest to join the ranks.
At an event held in the depths of the historic brutalist Barbican Centre in London yesterday, Xiaomi formally announced its entry into the UK market. Numerous devices were introduced on stage, including various smart home products, but the Mi 8 series and Mi Band 3 were the main attractions. Everything here had already been unveiled in China and some of it is already selling in other regions, too.
The Mi 8 Explorer Edition caught our eye previously, largely due to its semi-transparent rear cover with insides made to look like internal components. It's essentially a Mi 8 Pro, and that's the name it's been given in the UK, with no other color options available.
Are you ready for a surprise? Paranoid Android/AOSPA, of long-standing ROM fame, has just pushed out a status update on the project's plans, as well as the first ever Oreo releases for the ROM. Unfortunately for the vast majority of us, they're only available for a handful of Sony phones.