With the recent release of Android 4.4 KitKat, and the fanfare surrounding the Nexus 5's announcement and subsequent shipping, you could be forgiven for feeling glum because you aren't the owner of a current flagship device that has the latest iteration of Android.
Although, if you happen to be a custodian of Sony's previous flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z, you can shrug off any pangs of envy because an enterprising developer by the name of Pabx is offering an unofficial way of updating to the latest Android build. The 4.4 KitKat build is pure Android AOSP, with no bloat-ware additions. Whilst the build isn't classed as the finished article, there are relatively few bugs for such an early build and is labelled as 'Stable'.
Before we get to the nitty gritty of installing the 4.4 KitKat build, what is AOSP I hear you ask? Is it the same as AOKP? and what exactly is CyanogenMod? Here's a brief explanation on the differences between them:
AOSP stands for Android Open Source Project, headed by Google, It's pure Android, without customizations.
CYANOGENMOD (CM) is based on AOSP with their own customizations. It was a team of collaborative developers, founded by Steve Kondik but has now become a corporation in its own right, and is in partnership with Oppo, bringing CyanogenMod to the masses via the soon to be released Oppo N1.
AOKP stands for Android Open Kang Project. It's based on CYANOGENMOD with their own customizations and consists of a team of developers that have an affinity towards unicorns.
Back to the Rom, Pabx has listed the following items as working correctly in the build:
Camera + Movie recording
Telephone calls / SMS
OMX video (HW accelerated playback)
Automatic display brightness
No screen on delay
Known issues include a problem with Calendar being unable to sync with Google on a fresh 4.4 installation, although after rebooting the device twice, the issue should correct itself. Pabx has found the Gapps installation to be at fault for this error. The second error occurs after selecting the Mobile network manually, whereby the 'Please Wait' dialogue will display infinitely, Pabx advises users to hit the Home button to make the dialogue disappear.
No doubt you are chomping at the bit, but please bear in mind that the build doesn't contain a recovery or root solution, and needs to be flashed with fastboot. Here are the installation instructions :
- Extract the archive (unzip pabx_aosp_yuga*.zip)
- adb reboot-bootloader
- fastboot flash boot boot.img ; fastboot flash system system.img
- If this is an initial installation, also run: fastboot flash userdata userdata.img # NOTE: THIS WILL WIPE YOUR /data - only do this on first-install
- fastboot reboot
The build doesn't include Gapps (Google Apps), so this means you have to either install them manually or use Pabx's .tgz file which can be downloaded from here and run the following command via fastboot :
- Run 'adb push gapps_4.4_yuga_1.tgz /sdcard/'
- adb reboot
The phone should now reboot twice, once to install the Gapps and then once more to finish off the installation.
Roman MÄ›Å¡Å¥an, who goes by the username mestanr at the XDA, has posted a useful YouTube video demonstrating Pabx's Android 4.4 Rom working on the Sony Xperia Z.
As always, when flashing Roms, the buck stops with you, so take extra care to read the instructions, and if you are in any doubt, stop what you are doing and make sure you are going down the correct path. As the saying goes " it's better to be safe than sorry". On that cautionary note, I present the link to Pabx's thread at the XDA forums where you can access the download link as well as asking for advice with the installation.
Let us know how it goes in the comments or on our Google Plus page.