As many of you know I have the Verizon Galaxy Nexus which is a great phone, but it is definitely starting to feel it’s age. The phone has gone from ICS to Jelly Bean, but it stopped there.
In the latest Android release, KitKat, Google ended support for the 2 year old device. This shocked many people (myself included) since KitKat was designed with lower-speced devices in mind. The Galaxy Nexus, with a full GB of RAM seemed like it was going to see yet another update, but that did not happen. Now I know that the reason for that was because the company who made the processor in the phone doesn’t support it anymore and couldn’t provide updates for it. Still, with the power and resources Google has, I would have expected the phone to receive one last update.
Either way, there are still loyal developers who quickly started producing KitKat ROMs for the Galaxy Nexus. These developers even had KitKat on the Galaxy Nexus before Google pushed it to the Nexus 4. While at first they were buggy and unstable, they still provided a nice look into what was to come.
Now these unofficial ROMs are nearly stable, and they have saved the Galaxy Nexus. With KitKat’s many performance optimizations, this phone feels like new again. What really saves the Gnex is not KitKat, but ART (Android Runtime). This makes the phone absolutely fly. I’ve used the Nexus 5, and it’s performance can’t be beat by anything at all, but the Gnex can probably rival the 2012 Nexus 7 in general performance (a.k.a. not playing games). Now my aging phone doesn’t feel so old.
Personally I’m running unofficial CyanogenMod 11 by Euroskank with an Mpokang custom kernel. You can download them below along with a link to the gapps.