Project Treble, something that you might read in some of our reviews and comment sections, is an important shift in Android as we know it. One of the pieces of Oreo, Treble was Google's attempt to improve the terrible update situation we see on many third-party phones, especially from Samsung, Asus, and Huawei. So far, only a few manufacturers have implemented it to any noticeable degree, with others outright ignoring it until the last possible minute.
Late last month, Google announced it would block the Play Store and Google Play Services from running on 'uncertified' devices. This was meant to keep OEMs from sideloading the Play Store on devices not approved by Google. The company offered a way for custom ROM users to register their devices, but it was a complicated process, because the registration page didn't actually provide instructions.
Xiaomi promised that the Mi A1 would receive Oreo by the end of 2017, and the company hit a buzzer-beater by rolling out Android 8.0 to the Android One device on December 30th. But the kernel source code was nowhere to be found, a violation of the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2), and an affront to the development and enthusiast community. It's about two-and-a-half months late, but Xiaomi has finally released the Android 8.0 Oreo source code for the Mi A1.
Android OEMs are required to release the kernel source code every time they push a new Android version to a device. It includes any modifications they've made and its what tinkerers then use to build custom ROMs and other mods. Some OEMs are quick to release the code after an update, whereas some drag their heels. In this instance, Samsung has been impeccably fast.
LineageOS, the successor to the ill-fated CyanogenMod project, has already achieved hundreds of thousands of active installs. Many former CM developers have moved to the new project, and just like CyanogenMod, LineageOS is rapidly expanding to more devices. Several new devices are now supported by LineageOS 14.1, including the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, Galaxy Note 8 tablet, and more.
A constant source of consternation among owners of OPPO devices has been the heavily customized ColorOS and especially the slow speed of Android OS updates to it. OPPO has held strong to ColorOS, owing in large part to its reported popularity in Asian markets. Today, in an effort to appease enthusiast owners, OPPO has announced an initiative to support current devices with an AOSP ROM with limited customizations.
OPPO left some clues that they would do something like this, not that it comes as a huge surprise to anyone given the long demands for it. A company rep teased big changes just a month ago in an OPPO forum thread filled with whining about software updates.
Fire OS is a solid operating system if all you need is the ability to consume Amazon content in various forms, but it just doesn't cut it for the nerdier stuff we pickier types get off on. In some ways, it's a shame, because Amazon puts out solid hardware at affordable prices. On the other hand, there's the option to wipe the slate clean, so to speak, and flash something more exciting onto the tablet.
Before this can happen, though, custom ROM developers need to bring their offerings over to each particular model, and before that can happen, Amazon needs to release enough code for them to work with.
If you've been dying to start poking around the Android Wear source code, now is the time! Google just posted 4.4W to AOSP. The active development branches are distributed throughout each project repository as kitkat-wear. This is the location where further patches and minor updates will appear. There is are also tags for android-4.4w_r1 (build KTU84Q), which represent the first official release of the platform.
There aren't any repositories for either Dory (LG G Watch) or Sprat (Samsung Gear Live), but we can't be certain if they will appear in AOSP or if the distribution of device specific source code will be left up to the manufacturers.
One of the darlings of the Android custom ROM world, AOKP, has a new, and pretty incredible, boot animation. Some of you may recall that the AOKP team started soliciting new boot animations from their user community back in December. That contest has now ended, and the winner, Joachim Holler, certainly delivered the goods.
For what it's worth, I was pleasantly surprised at how awesome this looks. Generally, boot animations may not be noteworthy, but they are still the first thing you see when you flash a ROM. For that reason, they can be very important because they can set a good first impression.