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Custom ROMantic: Paranoid Android 4.0 (AOSP Android 4.4) for LG G2

Photo 11-26-2013, 4 36 50 PM

Guys, I relapsed. Hard.

Months ago, I said I was done hacking my smartphones, and for the most part I stand by what I said. But the moment I demoed the superlative hardware of LG G2, I knew drastic measures would need to be taken to rid myself of its ungainly, cartoony software.

Luckily, an intrepid developer based in Thunder Bay, who goes by the name Houstonn, felt my pain, and has been instrumental in bringing a working build of Android 4.4 KitKat to the hardware on which the Nexus 5 is based. Granted, the differences this year are more pronounced — the Optimus G was a spitting image of its Nexus 4 counterpart — so more work was needed to bring the G2 KitKat experience up to snuff, but working with the Paranoid Android team, Houstonn has worked custom ROMagic (OK, I’ll stop).

Photo 11-26-2013, 4 38 22 PM

Though the LG G2 has a locked bootloader by default, rooting the D803 (the Canadian variant) is quite easy. It does require a Windows PC (at least, the one-click version), but the actual process is relatively painless. Once rooted, you need to install a custom recovery — I chose TWRP — using the Loki tool. (Once TWRP is installed, I’d recommend then flashing this version, which has been specifically optimized for the D803). You’ll then need to download the ROM itself, which is being updated daily, as well as the GAPPS files, which include many of the Google Apps and frameworks necessary to access the Play Store.

Paranoid Android is a custom ROM that is available for many devices, and though the G2 version is still in Alpha, it seems to be working quite well. Not only are all the requisite radios working properly — 3G, LTE, WiFi, GPS, NFC, etc. — but the UI feels slick and smooth.

More importantly, the camera works perfectly, and there is even an APK of the LG camera taken from the stock ROM that reproduces many of the excellent features unavailable in AOSP.

Photo 11-26-2013, 4 37 58 PM

Of course, this is a work in progress, and by installing this ROM, though you do benefit from Android 4.4 features like status bar transparency, Immersive Mode, the new dialler, the Google Experience Launcher, there are some lingering performance issues. And, yes, the stock LG G2 4.2.2-based ROM is a mess, but there are some useful features included within it; Knock On, the ability to quickly turn on and off the display by tapping on the screen, is only half included in this PA-based variant. You can turn on the screen by double-tapping, but it’s impossible to do the same when the screen is on.

I’ve also found battery to be a little less reliable than the stock ROM, as the kernel is not yet optimized for the device.

If you’re using an LG G2, and don’t want to wait for an official update to KitKat, Paranoid Android 4.0 looks to be the Android 4.4-based ROM to beat.

Thanks to Houstonn and his team for all his help

  • Ashish Diwakar

    Going paranoid?… huh :)
    well i love to see kitkat

    but this paranoid android 4.0 looks pretty decent to me :)

    • jroc

      It is kitkat. The 4.0 refers to the Paranoid Android version, not the Android version.

    • Ashish Diwakar

      oh yes you are right
      but my comment still differs both :)

    • Lirodon

      The 4.3-based version was 3.99

  • Balls O’Steele

    Can someone suggest a Rom that gets LTE working on a Nexus 4? I’ve seen an alternate radios posted but they all have negative side effects (like shutting down wifi or GPS)

    • Ashish Diwakar

      Cyanogen mod 10.2 LTE enabled

    • ArclightX

      Just pick whatever rom you like, PA, AOKP, CM and flash the hybrid radio on xda seperately through your recovery to enable LTE.

  • Mike

    I also felt like i was done with flashing new roms on my Note2. But the battery life seems to be getting worse and worse with each update.
    The ONLY reason i would flash a new rom now is if it drastically improved battery life.
    (I am a very very heavy user)

  • Ashish Diwakar

    well you should’nt root it now :) lucky you
    #nexus5

  • vn33

    This is one main reason why many (including myself) chooses Android over iOS.
    Custom ROMS FTW !

  • IJustGotaTan

    The Stock LG G2 ROM and UI is actually very good. Stock Android is boring and plain looking. This is one of the few phones I haven’t changed ROMs yet. Just install Xposed and the G2 Module to change things like the messy notification screen and optionally hide navigation icons.

  • ToniCipriani

    The only problem I found with the G2 ROM is on the Bell version, there’s a bug that it won’t save Wi-Fi keys. Fix it LG…

    • IJustGotaTan

      No problem saving wi-fi keys here. I’ve currently got about 15 saved wi-fi networks. This normally gets saved with your google profile so make sure your Google sync settings are good.

    • ToniCipriani

      There’s no way the Wi-Fi key is saved with the Google profile. How would devices that do NOT have any accounts associated save keys then?

      In fact the bug was confirmed by quite a few on XDA, and there’s a workaround but needs rooting. I don’t feel something like this should be fixed like that and LG needs to fix it.

    • IJustGotaTan

      You are incorrect. Before you try to correct useful information try a simple Google search. First hit on “Stored wi-fi google” will show you your answer.

    • IJustGotaTan

      Yes, your wi-fi keys are backed up along with your Google profile. Remember most smartphones have data access even if not connected to wi-fi. Whenever you setup another Android device with your Google credentials, your saved wi-fi access points (for all your saved wi-fi hotspots) and keys are restored so again you are incorrect in saying they are not saved with the Google profile. I looked at the XDA link and do not have the issue being discussed there even though I’m on stock (rooted) Bell firmware. It appears to be a very small number of users (6 users) experiencing that issue so I wouldn’t call this a general bug.

  • geokilla

    Houstonn is an amazing developer. The Optimus G community sorely misses him.

  • Justin Kelly

    If you want the Knock-On to work while shutting the screen off you can download lock screen and Apex Launcher from the play store and set the double tap behavior to the lock screen main process. It’s not ideal by any means as you lose Google’s new launcher but you at least get to keep knock on functionality while playing around with this new ROM

  • Laer

    *Moderated* The author was miss guided and foolish to write that rooting was dead this summer. I called him on it then and I get an I told you so now.

    Rooting is better and more essential to usability then it ever has been. If you think otherwise your head is in the sand.

    • Daniel Bader

      Ah, yes, Miss Guided. I am not she, but she is beautiful.

    • IJustGotaTan

      I root every phone I get. It allows me to easily bring over application data with Titanium Backup including game high scores, and application setups. As long as you know what you’re doing, root access is very useful.

  • Adam Watts

    Damn. I’ve been having a hard time deciding between the G2 and the Nexus 5… I was almost decided on the 5. I really didn’t like the cartoony interface of the G2 and that notification slider is an ugly mess.
    But now, this may have just swung me towards the G2. I really want the better battery life and camera, minus the LG android modifications.

    • Adam Watts

      Also, please keep us posted as you continue to use this ROM. I’m pretty sure now that this is the direction I’m going to go. But I’ll wait until the ROM is more mature.

    • Ugslick

      I would say the G2 is better, even with stock software. You can root and do some mods to change the looks (mostly the icons and the notification panel that need modification), other than that the stock ROM is very very good.

    • Adam Watts

      Ah good to know.
      I’m also toying with the idea of getting an HTC One and loading the GPE rom on it. Pure google, and it’s supported. I’ve always had mixed results from 3rd party roms.

    • Ugslick

      Yeah for sure. I’m looking to upgrade ASAP, trying to buy unlocked though and cheap :P haha. I played around with the N5 and G2 at the store last night side by side (a couple of my cousins have the N5) but I would say the G2 actually feels better in the hand, despite being slightly bigger, because of the curves on the edges, whereas the N5 I found cut into the hand and wasn’t comfortable to hold one handed because those edges are much sharper. I was actually surprised by how.. ‘small’ the G2 actually feels.. despite being huge.

  • formulaphone

    I’ve been using the G2 since early October, and I really think that besides the cartoonish icons, the stock LG ROM is pretty good. I just installed Nova, Google keyboard and that’s all you really need.
    Knock-on is great when you’re used to it. And I really wouldn’t want to do anything to hurt the G2′s awesome battery life.
    I’ve got KitKat on my N4, but as nice as it is, at the end of the day, the G2 is my phone of choice.

  • King kobi

    pretty stable build will keep a close eye on it

  • Omri Amos

    The “Knock-OFF” (turn OFF the device by double tap), unlike Knock-ON, is not a ROM feature, but a launcher feature!
    Even with the original ROM it won’t work if you’ll switch from the LG’s launcher to a 3rd party one like Apex or Nova.

    However this is NOT A PROBLEM because with these launchers you can easily assign actions to the double-tap gesture – and then simply assign it to a little app that will shutdown the screen, or better yet – to a Tasker’s action that will do that.

    Works like a charm.

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