This story was originally published and last updated .
Android's been around quite a while at this point (Google's Android turned 12 last year), and even Android phones have been around well over a decade now. And while obviously hardware like the HTC Hero matters in terms of where the platform got its start, and ones like the original Moto DROID mark its real entry into the marketplace in a big way, we think there are phones (and even A tablet) that are less remembered or less appreciated for their impact on the larger ecosystem.
After, when's the last time you thought of the Galaxy S2, or the HTC One M7?
In what is partly an experiment and partly a series, I've been using the Galaxy Nexus as my personal phone exclusively for the last week. It has been a nostalgic experience, as the Galaxy Nexus was the first (good) Android device that I used full-time. And while the sentimental tech-romantic in me would love to tell you all that it's been mostly fine — like my week using the Nexus 5 — I can't. It's actually been pretty rough.
CyanogenMod 13, based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, first arrived in November 2015. It was soon switched to Android 6.0.1, and continued to be the main branch of CyanogenMod until version 14.1 was released one year later. After the CyanogenMod community re-organized into LineageOS, the distribution was renamed to LineageOS 13.
As the Pixel phone announcement draws near, it seems that, if not going away entirely, Google's Nexus brand will at the very least be undergoing some major changes. Google intends to heavily market its Pixel phones if the last week is any indicator, meaning there really won't be much room for the Nexus phone program to exist in the same way it has in the last few years. Nexus may live on, but it will undoubtedly be in a capacity different from the more aspirational efforts we've seen Google make with it in devices like the Nexus 6, 5X, and 6P.
The Galaxy Nexus is nearly as old as the Nook Tablet that CyanogenMod resurrected a couple of days ago with CM13, but it won't be getting that fresh of a software update. It'll have to do with a slightly older version of Android, but any third-party development on this forgotten Nexus is a welcome change from the state that Google left it in.
Officially, the Galaxy Nexus was abandoned at Android Jelly Bean 4.3. When KitKat was released in September 2013, two years into the Galaxy Nexus' lifespan, the phone wasn't deemed worthy of the new dessert flavor (allegedly due to the TI chip), but CyanogenMod's team of zealous and reckless developers braved the elements and kept supporting it with CM11 nightlies and snapshots.
Google announced last year that the venerable Galaxy Nexus would not be getting any of that sweet, sweet KitKat action. Well, not officially anyway. Owners were not pleased, but they couldn't properly flood the internet with complaints because their phones were already dead. There have been a few KitKat ROMs that work well enough, but now some developers have created a kernel and GPU driver combo that could keep this device chugging along through the L release.
It's that time of the month again, CyanogenMod ROM fans. In fact it's a bit past that time of the month, reportedly thanks to a heavy workload and the Labor Day weekend, but now that the CM11 monthly update is up to the M10 release, we won't hold it against the CyanogenMod Team. The biggest change to the M build is a brand new bug tracker app, which makes it easy for users to submit anonymized bug reports to CM along with a stacktrace whenever a system app crashes.
There's also a new option to send a scrubbed bug report in the Developer Settings menu.
Typically Christmas day is a slow one for technology news, but apparently the good folks at the Android Open Kang Project have dragged their coding machines in front of the open fire. Today AOKP has posted the first nightly builds of Android 4.4.2, granting deliciously fresh custom ROMs to all the good little girls and boys. And all the bad ones too, I suppose.
The list of initially-supported devices doesn't cover AOKP's official support list yet, but it covers most of the major Nexus devices, Samsung's Galaxy SIII and S4 American and international incarnations, all five major versions of the HTC One, and a handful of Sony devices (because they tend to be pretty open as far as bootloaders and modifications go).
Did you know it's possible to unlock your Nexus 5 bootloader without wiping user data? If your device has already been rooted and relocked for optimal security, then unlocking is just a button tap away thanks to the latest update to BootUnlocker. Support for Google's latest flagship phone was just added with an update to version 1.4 of the app from XDA member segv11. Sadly, both generations of the Nexus 7 from ASUS remain unsupported.
If you haven't heard about BootUnlocker, it's a simple utility app with a single purpose: toggling the locked state of the bootloader on supported Nexus devices.
Google kicked off the Nexus program back in early 2010 with the Nexus One. It was a fine phone for the time, but it's vastly different than the most recent iterations of the Nexus flagship. That's illustrated quite well by this quick GIF.