Android 4.4 KitKat on the Nexus 4 (direct port)

I own a Nexus 4. KitKat was released, and I was grateful that I wouldn’t have to wait very long to receive my OTA update.

Then I found out that an Android 4.4 release for the Nexus 4 wasn’t due “for a few weeks” according to Google. How could I possibly survive that torturous waiting time, while being tantalized by Nexus 5 reviews on my Feedly pages?

I’m not good at waiting. There was no way I was going to. So, sacrificing a (teeny) bit of sleep and homework time, I decided to go ahead and get a taste of KitKat myself.

I was initially going to use an AOSP version of the ROM, released by Paranoid Android. Then I read something in the comments about there being a direct port. After a quick Google search, I found a page on XDA about installing a fully functional version of KitKat ported from the Nexus 5. I decided to use that instead.

I followed the instructions on the forum, and everything was installed safely. Unlike the AOSP version, I didn’t even have to install a GApps package since it was a full port.

From the XDA website:

Install Guide

1. Use latest CWM Recovery
2. Make a Nandroid Backup
3. Wipe Data/Factory Reset + Dalvik Cache
4. Install the Rom
5.Reboot
6. Install Super User v1.65 ( http://download.chainfire.eu/351/Sup…erSU-v1.65.zip )
7. Reboot

For the actual files, go to the forum and follow the latest links from there.

So far, everything seems to be working: Settings, Google Now, Launcher, Camera, Maps…

My experience with KitKat has been a pleasant one. I will not be going over the features in detail because I explained most of them in a previous post, but basically, the “holo blue” system color has been replaced with white, and black backgrounds now have more transparency. This subtle difference meant a lot to me. Being an iOS user until last year, I always felt that Android was too robotic. I understand that this was part of the underlying UI themes (with the holo colors), but I still wasn’t a very big fan of it. I loved the functionality and full customization abilities, but something in the visual components were missing.

KitKat made everything more natural and more… human I guess? There are no more black bars on the top and bottom of the screen to distract you; the buttons blend into the background. I mean, see how much better the app drawer icon is. Gone are the solid colors and sharp contrast between the wallpaper. Being semi-transparent, it has a softer feel to it. The blue -> white color change also makes a difference. It’s really these tiny improvements that make it a better experience, I think.

kitkatwallpaper

The menu that pops up when you long press the home screen has also changed. The new menu makes much more sense (especially putting the widgets in here, instead of in the app drawer).

kitkathome

That was just some quick things that instantly came to my mind the moment I entered the home screen. I will follow up with updates if I notice anything new worth mentioning.

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