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Just a few clickity-clicks and you'll have that latest Android distro that your carrier denied you

For the masses waiting on their oft laggard Android carrier and OEM to update their device to the latest and greatest version of Google Inc.'s (GOOG) operating system (which is currently Android 4.4 "KitKat") CyanogenMod (aka "CM") has offered an escape route.

While the reach of this replacement firmware package was long limited by complicated installation procedures -- procedures that required a fair degree of user tech savvy as the user navigated through as many as 20 steps (a process CM's authors described as admittedly "brutal") -- as many as 24 million Android users may already have taken the plunge, according to CEO Kirk McMaster (this estimate includes unregistered users; 9 million users went through the trouble of officially registering themselves).

Now that reach is poised to expand dramatically as CM has released -- as promised -- an installer app to grossly simplify this process.  To get started you just grab the CM installer from the Google Play store (the installer was at last approved today), grab the PC client app, and connect your Android tablet or smartphone to the PC.  From there the client takes over, requiring just a few straightforward approval click-throughs.  Behind the scenes the installer app and PC client use scripting to do all that heavy, geeky lifting for you, allowing the tech "n00b" and enthusiast alike to experience CM.

 
The Android device-side app [Image Source: Google Play]

A full list of compatible devices is available here and it looks quite extensive.

CM 11
Experienced users might want to opt to download the early nightly builds of CM 11 (which includes Google's new KitKat improvements) instead of the Jelly Bean-based CM 10 which is included with the easy installer.

The only disappointing news is that the KitKat distributions for CM remain in the beta phase (as CyanogenMod 11).  They're available here for experienced users willing to deal with potential bugs, but for entry-level users who opt for the easy-installer it appears they'll be receiving CM 10, which is based on the Android 4.3.1 ("Jelly Bean") source.

CyanogenMod

Company founder Steve "Cyanogen" Kondik, remarks:

Our goal for the installer has always been to allow more users to experience the benefits of CyanogenMod, without the hassles of technical guides and concerns associated with the process.  I’m especially pleased by the support the community has shown for our initiative and want to thank all those that helped beta test the installer.

In addition to making the latest version of Android available to device owners quicker than U.S. carriers/OEMs, CM also snags security features both from third parties and other parts of Google's development tree (e.g. CM boasted SELinux enforcing improvements, back when they were only available as part of special distributions like KNOX).

It is a notch above other replacement firmwares (generally) in that it allows you to tune the setup to your speakers with DSPManager, and updates itself via over-the-air (OTA) updates, reducing any sort maintenance chores for the user.

Once a hobby project for Mr. Kondik, CyanogenMod is now being developed actively by a small engineering team, and scored $7M USD in a recent round of venture capital funding.

Sources: CyanogenMod on Google Play, CyanogenMod, DroidLife



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RE: orly?
By retrospooty on 11/13/2013 10:42:36 AM , Rating: 2
" most of them only get older versions of CM,"

Not true at all. Even the old Droid 3 (Solana) has CM10.1 which is Android 4.2. Most are at least supporting Android 4.2 or better. Anything any everything from 2012 or newere gets the absolute latest.

What is it that you are expecting? You want to own it, own it and take control. You seem to want someone else to manage it for you. If that is the case buy an iPhone or a Nexus.


RE: orly?
By bug77 on 11/13/2013 11:24:37 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Even the old Droid 3 (Solana) has CM10.1 which is Android 4.2.


Again: nightly builds only. You call that supported, I call it unsupported.


RE: orly?
By retrospooty on 11/13/2013 11:33:02 AM , Rating: 2
It works...

Again, I ask, what is it that you are expecting? If you want to own it, then own it and take control of your device. You seem to want someone else to manage it for you. If that is the case buy an iPhone or a Nexus.


RE: orly?
By kmmatney on 11/14/2013 12:20:02 AM , Rating: 2
I had a nightly kill my Nook HD+ - I recovered eventually but it was a real pain. You should avoid nightlies - or at least wait a week until enough other people say it is OK.


RE: orly?
By retrospooty on 11/14/2013 11:57:46 AM , Rating: 2
An official OEM/Carrier ROM can brick your device. It happens all the time. Nightlies are perfectly safe. Boot to recovery, back up your ROM, wipe it, flash it, if you dont like it , go back to your recovery and restore your original ROM. If that isnt your process, you are doing it wrong.


"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone














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