The developers of the Paranoid Android just made an announcement that could further endear some users but also estrange others. The team wants to recreate itself in a new image, one that sticks closer to the Android experience as it is found in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).
Custom ROMs seem to be reaching a new phase. There was a time when custom ROMs were popular and favored not only for the freedom that they offer but also for the rapid development of interesting features and risky changes, more than manufacturers would be willing to undertake. Lately, however, there seems to be a trend towards keeping things closer to a vanilla Android experience, with as little changes as possible or necessary.
Paranoid Android seems to be trekking that road as well and is taking advantage of the jump to Android 4.4 to make that transition. That meant that some features could be dropped and the Halo multitasking feature was the first one to have been confirmed to get the boot. Now the team is setting the record straight, explaining to fans and followers what they are aiming to do.
Basically, the custom ROM will be restarting from scratch and will stick closer to what is found in AOSP. The developers will go over everything with a fine-toothed comb to see which should make the cut and which ones will be dropped. Yes, Halo will be gone, but both those that will be reinstated and those that have been removed will undergo surgery to make it fit the new paradigm. Whatever form they end up in, Paranoid Android aims to deliver a simpler, less cluttered, and easier user experience.
The first feature to receive a facelift is Pie. Android 4.4 has changed the face of Android in subtle yet significant ways. It immersive mode has forced Paranoid Android developers to rethink how Pie works. The good news is that Pie will still be in the next ROM release, but it will look different. For one, it has been updated to match KitKat's aesthetics. But it also integrates more deeply with Android's features, particularly Google Now. However, Pie will no longer feature notifications and quick settings.
Interestingly, Paranoid Android is also redefining its target audience. While its is not exactly excluding "crackflashers" and users who love to tinker with Android's innards, the ROM wants to gain more users on the normal range. Paranoid Android wants to deliver a stock Android that can be enjoyed without having to fiddle with dozens of switches and settings.