Whenever a new version of Android is released, there are a select few who receive a timely update directly from Google. For everyone else, getting the latest and greatest version of Android means installing a custom ROM on their rooted devices. This weekend, we got word from the 4 most popular custom ROM developers on the status of their respective KitKat builds.
CyanogenMod took to the company's blog page to discuss the process of CM 11. As we reported previously, the source code for CM 11 has been out in the wild for a week or so now. Since then, the team has been hard at work making the code play nicely for a wide variety of devices. The developers have been particularly focused on incorporating CyanogenMod features into KitKat in the cleanest way possible. The company expects to have the first public nightlies available by the end of November. Unfortunately, CyanogenMod stated that just because KitKat can run on lower-end hardware does not necessarily mean that the company will be releasing builds for these devices. Specifically, devices sporting the Texas Instruments OMAP SoC processor will likely not see an update.
Over at Team Kang's blog, the AOKP team is painting a slightly different picture. Instead of working on incorporating the ROM's unique features immediately, the company is planning on releasing a bare-bones version of the ROM initially. This means that at first glance, the ROM will appear to be exactly like AOSP. The developers then plan to incorporate their features gradually into newer builds, making sure that the ROM remains stable and usable.
The Paranoid Android team has actually already achieved what AOKP has been trying to do. They have already released an Android 4.4 KitKat ROM without any unique features for select devices. Their Google+ page has indicated that they will be taking the same approach as AOKP by adding in their custom features gradually. While they also stated that Nexus devices are the top priority, previously supported devices will be taken care of before any new ones are added.
For those of you who haven't heard of Omni ROM, it is a custom ROM focussing on implementing a multi-window UI. While the Omni ROM team only released their initial build last month, they jumped onto their blog to tell us that they are planning on using KitKat as an opportunity to incorporate many more unique features. These features include a universal installer as well as a system to make OTA updates from the team easier to install. They are planning on releasing nightly builds within the next few days, but are likely to be simple and unstable. The ROM is incredibly promising for all devices, but will be focusing on Nexi and other high-end devices for now.
Most of these developers have stated that they are in fact committed to still providing a stable Android 4.3 ROM as they move their focuses to 4.4. From what we've seen so far, we wouldn't be at all surprised if custom ROM developers get a stable version of KitKat out to devices before Google even updates their Nexus line.