Android 4.4 KitKat comes to Nexus S and Nexus One, unofficially of course

by: Andrew GrushNovember 27, 2013


Despite Google’s decision to leave the Galaxy Nexus out of the KitKat action, it didn’t take long for the developer community to fill in the holes and release reasonably stable ports for the device.

Think that’s impressive? Thanks to the efforts of Android modding community, it’s now possible to get KitKat on both the Nexus S and even the now-ancient Nexus One! Yes really.

Nexus S gets the sweet taste of KitKat

For those interested in testing out KitKat on the Nexus S, you’ll want to turn your attention to the KitKat alpha 3 ROM developed by XDA member cn.fyodor. This ROM is essentially stock Android with few modifications made to it.

According to most of the commenters over at XDA, the ROM is reasonably stable for an alpha build and actually performs relatively well considering the device’s older hardware.

Of course it’s not exactly ‘bug free’. In particular, some of the Google apps are said to not work properly. The device does seem to work fine when it comes to calling, browsing and most other tasks though. While the handset might be able to work as a daily driver if you’re willing to put up with a few glitches, it’s still far from ready for prime-time.


Bringing KitKat to the Nexus One

For those that still have an old Nexus One lying around, developer texasice recently unveiled the new Evervolv KitKat 4.4 ROM for the Nexus One. This customized ROM includes a theme manager and a few other tweaks, though there is a toolbox that allows you to disable the added features to get a near-stock experience.

So how well does the Evervolv ROM run? Most reports suggest it operates fairly well though there are some missing features including no support for video recording, some general camera bugs, and some minor graphic glitches. There’s also a problem that makes ART unusable on the device (causes bootloops).

Another issue is that the ROM takes up a LOT of room! Considering the Nexus One has just 512MB of storage (with microSD for expansion), the ROM removes a few components and requires you to replace the bootloader with BlackRose in order to get Evervolv to work.

Basically you should avoid the Nexus One ROM unless you’re looking for a challenge. That said, after you go through the hassles to get it working, it actually runs rather well — minus some of the broken features.

Wrap Up


As you can tell, neither of these ROMs are exactly ultra-stable but it’s still pretty cool to see that even relatively ancient hardware can in fact run KitKat, even if there are some obvious glitches at this time. Not only does this speak to volumes about Google’s claims that KitKat has been optimized for weaker hardware, it also further proves that if there’s a way, the Android modding community will always find it.

To learn more or even download the Nexus S ROM, you’ll want to click here. For the Evervolv ROM, head here. Keep in mind that things can and do go wrong when it comes to flashing custom ROMs, so proceed at your own risk.

What do you think of the new Nexus S and Nexus One ROMs, impressed?

Image of Nexus One from XDA member elequent.

  • Azeem

    I have come to expect this from the modding community. Great job!

  • Alec G

    If only this asshole on Amazon sent me the nexus s that I paid for not no damn nexus s 4g

  • Grigor Baghdasaryan

    what about galaxy nexus?

    • Nadun Dissanayake

      Im also waiting..

      • Kapil

        Do not wait. The update won’t come. You would better checkout XDA

    • SeraZR™

      There are many 4.4 ROMS for the gnex

      apart from screenshot glitches, all glitches have been fixed ^_^

  • I ran the Alpha for about a day on my Nexus S and it was exceptionally fast. Had a few niggles such as Google Search automatically exiting when accessed from the GEL’s search bar and the odd graphical glitch every now and then but, for the most part, I’d say it’s good enough for daily use. Really, the only reason I decided to ditch it was because all tethering modes are currently broken.

    Oh, and I used the PA 0-day GApps and I didn’t experience any problems with ’em.

  • Cecil

    I’m curious to see if android 4.4 runs better in these devices. Google pretty much just said 4.4 runs good on low end hardware, gave a bunch of techno-jumbo reasons why and expected people to believe it. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • Simon Belmont

    The 2010 B&N Nook Color is getting Android 4.4 support as well (CM11): .

    That is the tablet that refuses to die. Mine is running Android 4.3, right now, MUCH better than it ran the stock Nook Color software with Android 2.2 two years ago.