Paranoid Android teaser suggests new update is in development

Things had been quiet on the Paranoid Android front since last year. The Android ROM project was updated to version 6.0 based on Android Marshmallow around June, but it has slowly fallen off the radar since.

Yesterday, hope for a future update was rekindled after a message was posted on the official Paranoid Android Google+ page. The post contained an image with the text “paranoidandroid” alongside the hashtag “#stayparanoid”. Keen-eyed commenters also spotted a faded “O” symbol at the bottom of the image, which apparently alludes to a revamped version of Paranoid Android’s unique “Pie” navigation controls.

The Paranoid Android project lead, Arz Bhatia, subsequently took to the comments to offer an explanation regarding the project and its current status:

“Just to clear out a few things – We try to release builds when they’re stable enough to be called public releases and abandoned the concept of nightlies a long time back.

Paranoid Android 6 was released when it was stable enough for daily use and was updated only when there were critical bug fixes needed. Due to the lack of manpower, we shifted our focus from features first to stability first.

By head count, we only have 3-5 active developers working on the project – the team is still amazing but we lost a few of our key members a while back.

Paranoid Android is still a community project, it’s free to use and open for all. The developers working on the project do it for the community with no profit-making involved. I’m here to represent my team and the comments over here are not really helping in motivating them to continue working on the project.

We’re passionate about building good products and we only release when we’ve reached the level of goodness, perfection & stability that we had in mind when we first started working on the project.”

XDA Developers spotted movements on the Paranoid Android Gerrit regarding Android Nougat also, so it seems like things are happening, even if there’s no clear message about precisely what we’re in store for.

In a later comment, Bhatia said: “We update when there’s a need for an update. This is Paranoid Android, not Windows 10.”

Are you looking forward to more from Paranoid Android? Give us your thoughts in the comments.

Paranoid Android Teases Another Return

The last time we talked about Paranoid Android was in September 2016, when the PA team had announced their ROM base update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Stable builds were made available for their list of supported devices, and more features and a Nougat update were also promised for the future. But since then, we haven’t heard much from the team.

But today, the Paranoid Android team began to tease another return.

Image is titled: “PA – Nice Try”, with the hashtag: #stayparanoid

The teaser is, as one would expect, cryptic and does not say much on what we should expect. The image alludes to Android O with the ‘O’ symbolization, but since Android O is still available only as Developer Previews and not available in AOSP yet, we are not counting on an Android O update anytime soon.

What is a possibility is an upcoming Android 7.1 Nougat update for the ROM. You can see work ongoing on Paranoid Android’s Gerrit for an upcoming Nougat MR1 release.

Paranoid Android’s Project Lead, Arz Bhatia, also had a few words to say in their teaser:

Just to clear out a few things – We try to release builds when they’re stable enough to be called public releases and abandoned the concept of nightlies a long time back.

Paranoid Android 6 was released when it was stable enough for daily use and was updated only when there were critical bug fixes needed. Due to the lack of manpower, we shifted our focus from features first to stability first.

By head count, we only have 3-5 active developers working on the project – the team is still amazing but we lost a few of our key members a while back.

Paranoid Android is still a community project, it’s free to use and open for all. The developers working on the project do it for the community with no profit-making involved. I’m here to represent my team and the comments over here are not really helping in motivating them to continue working on the project.

We’re passionate about building good products and we only release when we’ve reached the level of goodness, perfection & stability that we had in mind when we first started working on the project.


Having more updated options in the custom ROM scene is definitely a good thing for a device and its third-party development scenario. We look forward to what Paranoid Android has in store for us.

What are your thoughts on Paranoid Android’s teaser? What do you think their update will bring? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


Thanks to XDA Senior Member EvoWizz for the tip!

ROMs Aren’t Built in a Day: The New PA May Be Lacking Now, but What’s There Is Very Promising

Paranoid Android returned in what was probably one of the most exciting moments of the week for XDA users, even amidst new and significant phone releases. After a long hiatus, their newest Marshmallow builds are available to the public.

For those who don’t know about Paranoid Android, they had made some excellent ROMs crammed with functionality that pushed the user experience forward. They put forth really polished staple-features like Hover notifications, a concept which spread like wildfire. They championed immersive mode and alternative navigation controls with PIE, maximizing screen space for those willing to step out of the ordinary. Dynamic status bars, ambient-predecessor Peek, and a myriad of customization options… Paranoid Android not only had an extensive repertoire of fun, useful stuff, but also remarkable implementation.

With their newest Marshmallow ROM, much of that we fondly remember hasn’t made the cut, but that doesn’t meant there isn’t excitement to be had. I’ve flashed this ROM on my Nexus 6P and OnePlus 2, and the experience has so far been very satisfactory, albeit not what I had expected.

Great default wallpaper Good toggle options No silly menus CM Theming!

These builds of Paranoid Android showcase a rather unadulterated Android. For many people, that’s a good thing, although I know some were disappointed to find that the Settings menus didn’t offer much new (or in this particular ROM’s case, old) stuff to play with. And in PA fashion, the toggles you are looking for are tucked away in the respective sub-menus.

Screenshot_20160608-201335The key features that this new Paranoid Android has to offer were those detailed in their release post. Let’s begin with floating windows: rather than the multi-tasking they and others in the custom ROM scene had championed, these floating windows are more like peeks, as the overlaying application is not manipulatable — it is designed not to multi-task but to facilitate certain actions. For example, you can make it so that heads-up notifications, or long-pressing notifications in the status bar, open up the relevant app in a floating window. For chat applications, this isn’t bad — it allows you to see the whole chat history while quick reply does not.

Quick Settings tiles can be re-ordered easily by dragging and dropping, and you can add extra ones with the plus icon at the top. This is very much like what you find in other ROMs (like OxygenOS, coincidentally) and while the animations for the sorting of the toggles are well-made and look really nice, it is not a feature many will enjoy multiple times a day. Once you are done setting your tiles however you like them, you are likely to leave them that way.

Screenshot_20160608-202739

The new tiles also serve as a gateway for Paranoid Android features, and they allow for quick and easy configuration of said features. You can change the behaviour of floating windows, and you can toggle immersive mode as well. But immersive mode, albeit awesome, is frustrating to use without navigation solutions like PIE. It is still nice to have a toggle for it, though, as it allows the feature to be situational rather than global, letting users get the most out of specific applications or use-cases.

What’s by far my favorite idea here is also the most tragically under-implemented feature: on-the-stop settings. Their blogspot casually mentioned it, likely because there’s only one proper implementation of this concept so far, but didn’t go into specifics.  What it does is, rather than configuring a “default” for very common and/or important ROM behavior, it asks you which setting you would like on the first trigger of such behavior.

quickpulldown

In the example you are presented early into your usage, the phone asks whether you want Quick Pulldown when lowering the notification shade. This solution is discreet and user-friendly, and does not take control away from the user nor demand attention like some other implementations. You can later either re-configure the appropriate toggle in the settings, or restore the setting under the Paranoid Android submenu of “Backup & Restore”.

Screenshot_20160608-220434 Screenshot_20160608-220616 Screenshot_20160608-220626 Screenshot_20160608-222530

Another really nice aspect of this ROM is that it feels very well polished, with performance on my Nexus 6P being extremely smooth and with very few drops in framerate while scrolling through lists. Opening applications is fast and I had no stability issues other than one instance of Clock app force close (granted, that’s one of the last applications you want to fail you). I can’t speak on battery life as I’ve only gotten a few charges out, and my usage has been highly atypical (hotspotting while waiting for a new Router).


I feel that the team behind Paranoid Android has released a very solid and promising ROM with many of the right ideas, and a clear priority on quality over quantity — perhaps to the point where the lack of features hurt the ROM. But a ROM as influential as Paranoid Android was is not built in a day, and Paranoid Android still has many of the same underlying approaches and philosophy working in its favor.

Essentially, I’d say this is a polished ROM with good performance and thoughtful features. Many fans said Paranoid Android felt “professionally put together”, and this ROM isn’t much of a deviation from that. Menus are tidy, features are well-implemented and easily-accessible, and there is good thought behind each core function. But losing some of Paranoid Android’s prime functionality – at least temporarily – means the ROM has ways to go before really feeling like the PA many people came to expect. And considering that Android N is coming out soon, maybe the PA team is saving its cards for that round.

Some of the missing stuff is not just stuff PA used to have, but features custom ROMs have adopted as a standard. That doesn’t meant that you can’t get the features elsewhere through other mods on top of the PA ROM, though. And surprisingly enough, features like Android Pay were actually working. Users in the forum have also reported good battery life, and it has lasted me enough even with my atypical usage. So ultimately, if you want a stable ROM with thoughtful design, good theming capabilities and Android Pay, give this a shot — it’s bound to keep getting better over time.

Here are the videos you don’t want to miss this week – June 11, 2016

moto z and moto z force lenovo tech world aa-5

Lenovo Tech World 2016 took place this week, and we got a good look at what’s coming down the pipeline in the world of Android.

We went hands-on with Lenovo’s new Moto Z, Moto Z Force, PHAB2, PHAB2 Plus and the Project Tango-ready PHAB2 Pro… and that’s not all. At a separate event, Samsung unveiled the rugged Galaxy S7 Active, and we got some hands-on time with that new flagship, too. It’s been quite a busy week, so there’s a lot to cover here.

Here are the Android-related videos you don’t want to miss this week.

The latest from Lenovo

Moto Z and Moto Z Force hands-on

While the Moto X line isn’t exactly gone, Lenovo has taken the wraps off a new line of smartphones, the Moto Z and Moto Z Force. These new modular smartphones are coming to Verizon very soon, but you can check out our first impressions with the devices right now!

Lenovo PHAB2, PHAB2 Plus and PHAB2 Pro hands-on

New Moto phones weren’t the only things shown off at Lenovo Tech World this year. The new PHAB2, PHAB2 Plus and PHAB2 Pro are here, and we go hands-on.

Lenovo’s foldable smartphone and tablet concept

At Lenovo Tech World 2016, Lenovo debuted a new foldable smartphone and tablet concept. It’s really cool. Check out our hands-on video here!

The Galaxy S7 goes rugged

Samsung Galaxy S7 Active hands-on

Just as expected, Samsung has announced a new ruggedized version of its latest flagship. Here’s our first look at the new handset.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Active vs Galaxy S7 quick look

How does the Galaxy S7 compare to its rugged brother? Here is a quick look at the Galaxy S7 Active vs Galaxy S7.

Paranoid Android is back!

Popular ROM Paranoid Android is finally back after a long hiatus. Here's a good look at the new version.

The best Android phones on the market

Samsung Galaxy S7, Nexus 6P, HTC 10 - which phone comes out on top? Here is our list of the best Android phones.

What you need to know about VPNs

You've probably heard of a 'VPN', but what exactly is it? Our own Gary Sims explains all you need to know.

Android Apps Weekly

Better Facebook apps exist, Sky Force Reloaded, 13.7 Petabytes — you don’t want to miss the latest episode of Joe’s Android Apps Weekly show.

No, Facebook is not listening to your calls

If you've ever heard rumors about Facebook listening to your phone calls, you probably shouldn't believe them.

LG's 360 Cam in action

Want to see LG's G5 and 360 Cam in action? We brought both devices to a Dodgers game recently. Check out these two videos to see what they can do.

360 video of a Dodgers game through the LG 360 Cam

A Dodgers game through the eyes of the LG G5 (and the LG 360 Cam)

An overview of the new Paranoid Android 6.0

Nine months ago, the Paranoid Android team found some new life and began working on their next release. The idea was to bring some fun, new features that helped improve the user experience while maintaining all of the things that has made Paranoid Android one of the best AOSP ROMs out there. Instead of putting out builds as alpha and beta releases, the team decided to forego those and go straight for a stable release. That release is here and we’re going to take a quick look at it.


paranoid android quick view

Floating Mode

Floating Mode is actually a floating window that you can use to view your applications without having to open the entire app. This is useful for things like replying to quick messages or checking something out on the fly without having to stop what you’re doing. The good news is that the window is large enough to make it useful for practically any app with the one downside being that you can’t really move it around all that much. There are three ways to make Floating Mode happen:

  • The first is by long pressing any notification. It’ll turn dark and then you’ll see the option on the right side. Tap it once and the app will open in front of whatever else you’re doing. Do note that this does not work with all apps, but it should work with most.
  • You can also go into the recent apps view and find the icon there. Each app has its own little box and the icon will be at the top bar next to the close button. Tap it once and the app will open in Floating Mode.
  • The third way is by far the easiest and it’s a toggle in the quick settings called Floating Peek. You enable it in the Quick Settings and then when you get a notification, you can click on the “heads up” notification to automatically open a floating window.

Once it’s open, you’ll have full functionality across the entire app to do what you need to do. Once it’s done, you simply hit the back button to return to whatever it was you were doing before. We found that if you don’t have any apps open when you create a floating window, it’ll open your most recently used app in the background, just in case. Overall, it’s the best system-wide implementation of floating windows that we’ve seen and it’s really easy to use it or ignore it if you want to.


Paranoid Android quick look

OTS Controls

OTS (or “On-The-Spot”) Controls is a something that Android tablets have had for a while already to some degree. When you drag the notification shade down for the first time, you’ll be asked if you want to turn the feature on. If you miss the opportunity then, you can find the option by navigating to the system settings, then to Backup & Restore, and then finally to Feature Preferences.

This is a really simple feature. The way it works is when you slide down the notification shade like normal, you’ll see your notifications. No magic there. However, if you slide your finger down over where the clock usually sits, you’ll be able to draw down the Quick Settings in one swipe. It’s true that this mimics the functionality of just swiping down with two fingers, but that’s difficult to do when you’re holding the phone in one hand.

The only issue we found with it is if you’re using larger phones and your thumb may not make it close enough to the center to pull down just the notifications. However, if that does become an issue, you can always turn the feature off. Otherwise, we recommend you leave it on because it’ll save you a couple of swipes once you get used to it.


Paranoid Android quick look

Quick Settings add and remove

In Android Marshmallow, you have the capacity to move your Quick Settings tiles around. However, if you want to delete them or add more, you have to go into the System Tuner and do it the hard way. In Paranoid Android, this functionality is baked directly into the Quick Settings. You’ll be able to move Quick Tiles around as usual, but you can also drag them up to the top and throw them away like you do icons on your home screen.

At the top of the status bar, there is a plus symbol where you can see all the Tiles that have been removed and re-add them to the Quick Settings at your discretion. This is turned on by default and is usable immediately after boot so you can customize as soon as you want to.


<img src=http://www.androidauthority.com/overview-new-paranoid-android-6-0-697381/ alt="Paranoid Android quick look" width="840" height="473" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-697484" />

Additional features

Of course, there are plenty of features carried over from prior releases that are still there now.

  • Paranoid Android has CyanogenMod’s theme support and virtually any CM13 theme from the Google Play Store should work on this ROM.
  • System-wide Immersive Mode is still present and you can set the status bar and navigation bar to disappear pretty much whenever you want it to. It will reappear when you swipe up from the bottom or down from the top just like it usually does.
  • The ROM also retains support for layers. If you want to know more about that, we took a closer look in our Diving Into Android M series.
  • The power menu has been altered to include a reboot option, a screenshot option, and an Airplane Mode toggle.
  • Interestingly, the ROM doesn’t appear to come with root access by default. You’ll likely want to flash the latest SuperSU.zip along with the ROM (and Gapps!) if you want to keep root.
  • It’s also worth noting that there are additional features for OnePlus and OPPO owners, such as gestures and more involved kernel features.

android n preview logoSee also: Check out what's next with an overview of Android N!264

Paranoid Android quick look

Paranoid Android Final Thoughts

Overall, Paranoid Android seems like a very competently done ROM. It maintains a lot of the features that made it really good in the first place, but also adds in a few new things for people to play with. We were especially impressed with how the new features have been integrated. Everything feels like an extension of the OS with a natural fluidity that isn’t generally typical for a custom ROM.

It seems to work well and we didn’t have any force closes or performance issues, but to be fair, we’ve only been using it for a few days and your results could vary. That said, it is stable enough for daily driver use if you’re interested. The following devices are supported right now with more to likely come in the future:

  • Nexus 6P
  • Nexus 5X
  • Nexus 6
  • Nexus 5
  • Nexus 4
  • Nexus 7 2013
  • Nexus 9
  • OnePlus One
  • OnePlus 2
  • OnePlus X
  • Some Sony devices

If you want to try it out for yourself, you can download the latest releases by clicking here.