It's been months now since Android 4.4 KitKat was officially unveiled, yet users' craze is showing no signs of fading away. And craze is by no means and overstatement, as we've hardly ever seen as strong an interest in a new version of Android. So much so, that we actually suspect the sugary name of the latest version has played its role of promoting the new update quite well.
But it's not all branding. Android 4.4 KitKat brings more optimizations than ever, the brilliant new Dialer with smart caller ID, immersive mode, screen recording and a moderate visual update, and quite a few more
. It's a version of Android that's truly worth having, and yet, at least for now, it remains the exclusive privilege of some Nexus devices (and since earlier today – the Moto X). This is where the custom Android ROM-building community comes in, often offering the newest update for devices that would otherwise have to wait for a long, long time to get one. If ever.
Now, KitKat is still fairly new, and unfortunately, the custom ROMs that have been updated with Android 4.4 are both considered to be in the 'nightlies' phase, but the list of supported devices has grown a whole lot these past two months.
Do keep in mind that these are considered 'unstable' and we haven't had the chance to test how stable each and everyone of them is. Suffices to say, however, that your device is pretty unlikely to melt down, and it's usually plenty easy to revert back to your stock firmware, should you end up not liking the less-refined nature of custom Android ROMs.
Last update: 02/04/2014
Custom ROMs updated for Android 4.4 KitKat
Custom ROMs updated for Android 4.4 KitKat
1. CyanogenMod, derived from Android 4.4 KitKat
As you may know, CyanogenMod Inc. is now a company, so it makes perfect sense that it's on the wave of tech with their CyanogenMod 11, derived from Android 4.4 KitKat. As with any other ROM in this list, it's considered unstable, yet kinks are getting fixed pretty much daily (or nightly). The list of supported devices is pretty respectable, as is to be expected now that the nascent company has taken to the stage. It includes devices from Samsung, LG, HTC, Google, Sony and Motorola. Check out the full list here
2. OmniROM, derived from Android 4.4 KitKat
OmniROM is a great up-and-coming team of developers, and already, their list of supported devices for their latest, Android 4.4 KitKat-derived update, is impressive. That's not at all surprising, seeing as there are quite a few ex-CyanogenMod developers on the team. The OmniROM team has a pretty brave view: nightlies should offer the same kind of stability as a ROM that has been tagged for release. We'll keep an eye out for OmniROM, and so should you!
The list of supported devices includes ones from Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG, Asus, Oppo and Google. Check out the full list
3. SlimKat, derived from Android 4.4 KitKat
The folks behind SlimROMs have won themselves quite the following, and deservedly so. Their ROMs may not be the most feature-packed, but they offer a sometimes enviable performance, and are especially good for older devices. SlimKat, their ROM derived from the Android 4.4 KitKat source, is up for grabs on a number of devices already, and the team has switched away from nightlies towards a weekly update schedule. Phones from Samsung, LG, HTC and Google can be found on the support list, available here
4. RastaKat, derived from Android 4.4 KitKat
RasbeanJelly is a custom ROM that has been around longer than most. These are usually no-frills ROMs without the plethora of needless fluff, and they just work. RastaKat is, as you can guess, the name of the devs' ROM, derived from the KitKat image. Like the rest, it's in a nightly phase, and it's currently only listing Nexus devices in its support page. You can see the full list here
5. Purity ROM, derived from Android 4.4 KitKat
Purity ROM is yet another amazing piece of work, and though support currently only covers some Nexus devices, it's actually on our watch list. Older versions of the ROM allowed for some pretty great visual customizations, and we can't wait until some of these become part of their new Android 4.4. KitKat-based build.The list of supported Nexus devices can be found here
6. Cataclysm ROM, derived from Android 4.4 KitKat
Cataclysm ROM is a relatively new ROM, one that we become aware just a few months ago. Its age, however, does its developers no justice, as this has proven to be a seductively polished piece of work, one that we've gone back to every now and then.
Like some other solutions currently available, the Android 4.4. KitKat-derived version of Cataclysm is currently only available for Nexus devices, but we can't wait for that to change. We know of no centralized host for all Cataclysm builds, so you may have to do a manual search for your particular Nexus device. Here's the XDA-developers thread for the Nexus 5
7. ParanoidAndroid, derived from Android 4.4 KitKat
Bar CyanogenMod, the ParanoidAndroid custom ROM project has been among the most critically-acclaimed ones out there. Often referred to as the most innovative in terms of the feature-set its ROMs offer, the PA team does not disappoint with an entirely redesigned Halo that fits the new modernistic KitKat look. ParanoidAndroid is currently up to Beta 4, and is available for all Nexus devices from the Samsung Galaxy Nexus onwards.Check out the full list of supported devices
8. Android Open Kang Project, derived from Android 4.4 KitKat
Despite losing a key team member to Cyanogen Inc., the Android Open Kang Project is still going strong, and the adventurous, flash-happy Android dev community is the better for it. AOKP has finally made the jump to Android 4.4 KitKat, and as usual brings a whole bunch of goodies, but without overdoing it. It's no surprise that a number of ROMs already on this list are at least partially based on AOKP.
There's currently support for Nexus devices, including the Galaxy S3 and S4, HTC One, and several Sony Xperia models. Browse the full list here
9. Carbon, derived from Android 4.4 KitKat
Carbon is another custom project that seeks to bring together various features from different custom ROMs, and it has done so to a great effect. Unlike some other, heavier projects, Carbon manages to strike an acceptable balance, and it isn't overburdened by endless features, but it's far from lacking such, either.
KitKat derived Carbon is available for a number of devices already, including Google's Nexus line. Full list of supported devices can be seen here
10. P.A.C. All In One, derived from Android 4.4 KitKat
We mentioned Carbon's effort to bring together various features from differing custom ROMs, but there's another master at that -- P.A.C. All In One. PAC does an awesome job of bringing a mind-boggling number of features into a single ROM from sources including CyanogenMod, AOKP and ParanoidAndroid.
KitKat nightlies have started for select devices (like the Nexus line), and you can check out whether your particular device is already supported here
11. crDROID, derived from Android 4.4 KitKat
crDROID does things a little differently. At its core, its CyanogenMod, but with some notable tweaks. Focus has always been on smooth operation, so the number of extra toggles and options is kept down to a sane number. This is why it's a great daily driver.
crDROID is currently available for the Nexus range, select HTC and Samsung phones, and more. Since it has no centralized website, you can start by looking at crDROID's Nexus 5 xda-developers thread
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