Earlier in the year, we saw a team of developers launch a crowdfunding campaign for a whole new operating system for the Nexus line of devices, dubbed CopperheadOS. Unlike the usual custom ROMs and such, CopperheadOS is a new approach to Android, and is focused around offering the user more security than anything else. CopperheadOS is built from the same Android Open Source Project code that a lot of custom ROMs are built from, but has a lot of under-the-hood changes that make it a lot more secure, such as the hardened C library it uses, as well as a completely different kernel that offers much better security and protection from zero-day vulnerabilities than the standard Linux kernel. With the launch of the Pixel and Pixel XL, fans of CopperheadOS and other similar projects will be interested to hear if this new hardware will be supported.
In the case of the 5.0-inch Pixel, the answer is yes. According to a recent tweet from CopperheadOS on Twitter, "theoretical" support could be a possibility. Obviously, the team is looking for volunteers to get the devices into their hands first, and with a price tag starting at $649, this is perhaps a steep ask, but Open Source projects like CopperheadOS don't get anywhere without the help of the community. Whether or not users will give these developers a helping hand is up to them, but it would be nice to see such an alternative on the Pixel and hopefully the Pixel XL in the future. CopperheadOS is currently available for the Nexus 5, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6 and Nexus 6P, but users have been reporting some issues with the ROM and LTE data. With a different app store, and little integration with Google – compared to "standard" Android – CopperheadOS will no doubt remain something of a novelty for Nexus and now Pixel owners, but it's part of what makes the Pixel and Nexus devices so attractive. Verizon owners will no doubt feel left out here, as there's little chance of an unlocked bootloader happening for the Pixel or Pixel XL on Big Red, but it's nice to see the community already getting involved with this new generation of products from Google.