Verizon Galaxy Nexus gets Android 4.4 KitKat ROM



When Android 4.4 KitKat was officially announced on October 31st, Android fans around the globe rejoiced. That is, unless they owned a Samsung Galaxy Nexus. With the roll-out of Android 4.4, Google had dropped support for their two year old Nexus device, only announcing that the Nexus 4, 7, and 10 would be getting OTA updates in the coming weeks. While this should be no surprise as it follows within Google’s 18 month life cycle, many Galaxy Nexus were upset to hear the news. Thankfully, we have talented Android developers here to save the day.

Android developer baldwinguy77, known for his OTA-like builds for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, has released a brand new, “Shiny” Android 4.4 KRT16M ROM for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus (toro). What does OTA-like mean? For starters, it’s built from AOSP with very few modifications done to the ROM, besides those needed to make it work. Next, he’s included the standard set of Verizon apps and Google apps you’d likely find on an official update. And lastly, because this is OTA-like, this ROM is not rooted (yet, it can easily be done if you choose).

If you’re a Verizon Galaxy Nexus user and wish to add a little KitKat to your life, head on over to the official Verizon Galaxy Nexus KitKat ROM thread on RootzWiki. Please remember while this ROM states “no bugs”, Android 4.4 ROMs are still very new and there’s likely to be a hiccup along the way. That said, baldwinguy77 has a good track record and plans to continually update the ROM as needed.

Derek Ross
I'm a passionate Android enthusiast that's on the pulse of the latest Android news, writing about Android as often as possible. I'm also a little addicted to social networking. Hit me up, I'd love to chat.

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  1. if google really want to push kitkat to lowend devices to replace gingerbread on them and expect that oem release update for those old phones google should set an example themself and release a update for galaxy nexus and nexus S

    so much contradiction behind google stance and work to fix the fragmentation…

    1. 1) For as long as I can remember, Google has only supported software updates for 18 months on their devices. This isn’t new. Technically, the Galaxy Nexus shouldn’t have gotten Android 4.3 if you think about it. The Galaxy Nexus was made available for purchase on November 17, 2011. Android 4.3 was announced on July 24th, 2013. That’s 20 months or 2 months beyond their original promised update schedule.

      2) The Galaxy Nexus uses an OMAP processor developed by Texas Instruments. TI is no longer actively developing smartphone chips. They stopped doing so in September 2012. This most likely means no one is updating the OMAP software. Android 4.4 seems to be a much larger software update than the previous Jelly Bean updates of 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3. It makes sense.

      1. im running shiny right now, with a custom 4.3 kernel that works with 4.4. This ROM is working better on Gnex than 4.3 did! (im giddy with joy)

      2. But Google claims to have made 4.4 capable of running on lower end devices smoothly with a statement saying it can even run on a device with 512MB RAM. So why isn’t the Galaxy Nexus included into this category?

        1. Where is it stated they are extending to past low end devices? To me, it indicates kit Kat will be easier for future low end devices to use.

          1. Right you are. Non of the oems will update the low end line of theirs to kitkat. They never did. I guess it means that the future cheap hansets will have a better android experience. That is all.

          2. Exactly this, they aren’t gunning to make obsolete tech useful again, they are gunning for newly released smart watches, google glass, Occulus Rift V2, OUYA 2 etc. You only have yourself to blame if you are disappointed for expecting something beyond what is normal for them to do.

            That being said, I am hoping the XDA devs will get it working well enough for a daily driver or that Google makes an exception this one time.

          3. They said low end devices. Period. Maybe they implied one thing or another, but it was never specified.

            Besides, they were simply saying it can run better with lower specs, Why would the time period of a device’s creation matter? The Galaxy Nexus is higher specced than some of the new low end stuff coming out.

          4. “This will really help us get Android to the next billion users…”
            -Sundar Pichai

            I think the main point is that Google wants KitKat as the standard version for all new phones rather than low-end hardware still using 2.3. Yes, you can apply this to past devices but older phones getting updates is a crap shoot as always.

          5. Third time…. The manufacturer is no longer making drivers. Google cant just do it for them unless they want sued… All the CUSTOM roms out all have issues with that exact problem. Read…Learn..

        2. It’s because of TI OMAP soc is init. Discontinued support, no more drivers. Got it?

    2. A Nexus S… Yeah, and the OG Samsung Galaxy should get 4.4. Come on, why would they waste their time on something so past outdated? Everyone who had a Nexus S should be well beyond upgraded by now.

      1. Shhhh….you’re making too much sense. That’s frowned upon here. : /

      2. It’s called customer loyalty and retention. What’s the difference between me buying a cheap Android phone from an unknown Chinese manufacturer and me buying a phone from Samsung? They both have similar specs but I’m expecting support for my device

        1. I bet that Chinese phone is looking mighty good now right?

        2. Do you also expect support for your ten year old Gateway laptop?

    3. Texus Instruments don’t make CPUs anymore, so they can’t provide the drivers for the OMAP SoC in the GNex. As for the Nexus S, it isn’t only about the RAM, it’s about the CPU and GPU. It is recommended that android devices have at least a dual core 1GHz CPU, so yeah… honestly I wish those two got updated, but like I said, the RAM isn’t the only issue

      1. Actually, with the Nexus S, I think it is indeed mostly the RAM. It only has 384MB of system RAM (the other 128MB went to the GPU on the Nexus S).

        Android 4.3 runs like a top on my B&N Nook Color that’s a single core OMAP with an older GPU and only 512MB of RAM. I imagine KitKat will run even better with its RAM reduction and other performance enhancements.

      2. Ahem:

        Stop spreading BS rumors. They stopped production of MOBILE CPUs only. They still have the documentation and if google wanted to pay drivers could still be written.

        1. Okay, thanks for the correction. Either way though, RAM isn’t all that’s stopping the Gnex and Nexus S getting kitkat

    4. Poor reasoning at its worst. Texas Instruments is no longer manufacturing or supporting ARM processors. Thus, no updated driver for the Galaxy Nexus.

      Educate yourself.

      1. Actually they still do make ARM processors. Educate yourself.

        They only got out of the mobile ARM business. Drivers could still be updated, but it would cost google money. Stop spreading BS rumors.

    5. It’s more for new devices, so when OEMs make $200 off contract devices, they can throw kitkat on em instead of GB.

  2. So this is what jealousy feels like.
    I patiently wait, and wait for my Kit Kat device to be shipped

  3. My gnex went from having 10-100 MB of ram to 300+ after flashing 4.4…not bad Google…not bad.

  4. oh the gnex . . . if only it had reception and could keep a charge longer than 6 hours . . . loved that phone otherwise.

    1. yep!

    2. Yes. Battery life is bad

    3. My GSM G’Nex keeps a charge for at least 24 hours (if not longer) with heavy usage (3-4 hours of screen on time). All on HSPA+.

      If you mean the Verizon one, which I assume you do considering this article is about that one, then you’re probably right. That one sucked battery down with that first generation LTE chip.

      1. yeah he means the LTE (Verizon version) which was not as good a phone as it’s GSM counterpart in both battery life and reception. I was excited if I had 1 bar on the Verizon Gnex and the battery murdered itself trying to stay connected to a tower..

        1. Yeah. I kinda figured.

          It’s a shame how the good name of the G’Nex was tarnished by the CDMA versions (and their carriers’ updating policies). The GSM version is honestly a great phone.

          1. my experience with the GNex on Verizon was so bad that it was the tipping point that made me leave Verizon. Love my Nexus 4 on T-Mobile, full bars with HSPA+ speeds all the time! Heck even the HSPA/3G speeds are WAY faster then Verizon’s 3G.

          2. Well, in a way, your VZW G’Nex saved you then. Ha.

            I’m on T-Mobile, too. I moved from Sprint back in June and bought my second hand G’Nex to tide me over to the Nexus 5 and I couldn’t be happier. HSPA+ is WAY faster than Ev-Do and even Sprint’s 4G WiMAX. The fact that it’s also a lower price and I can bring my own device is icing on the cake.

          3. never looked at it that way! lol The GNex saved me from Verizon! :P

          4. It did. It took you out of harms way.

            It deserves a medal or something. Haha.

      2. I really thought google could have given a second go around with the galaxy nexus and done some kind of Hardware and Software revision to alleviate the battery drainage and overheating. The Sprint one I have is a disaster on those aspects as well. The only thing saving it from a garbage pail is the extended battery I have on it and Cyanogenmod

        1. I never experienced battery drain issues with my GSM G’Nex. It’s always been up to the task to last all day with high usage.

          I think the CDMA/LTE G’Nex handsets just absolutely ruined the Galaxy Nexus’ reputation as a whole, because they had awful battery life and radio/signal problems (not to mention as heck updates). It’s a shame, really, because the GSM version really is a nice phone.

  5. Just got 4.4 on my Verizon Gnex… so far so good… EXCEPT it keeps restarting. To be fair, it was listed under the bug list. Hope this get’s fixed soon because this rom has seriously brought life back to this phone.

    1. Mine is randomly restarting since 4.2. Therefore I do not even use it. Only when new android version is out, to test.

    2. Same here. Been freezing up and restarting as I am restoring things. I will see if this persists on during the day. If not, this would be a AWESOME daily driver

    3. that happened to me, I went back, wiped, then cleared the cache (I always forget to do this when flashing a new rom) and now it seems a bit better. Also this time around I opted not to restore my apps.

      1. heh – spoke too soon :-P womp womp.

  6. let’s be honest, this was the only way the Verizon GNex was going to see KitKat 4.4 either way.. Heck Baldwinguy77 and Shiny ROM were the only thing keeping my GNex going back when I had one, by the time Verizon updated it I had already sold it and switched to T-Mobile with a Nexus 4.

    1. Wow, kit-kat seems like its no good, y anxiously await for sumn whos harddrive is downloaded filled with bugs n viruses n crashed by millions of users.system error;)

      1. What.

      2. What?

  7. Alrighty. Stayed awake all night. First time in almost a year I’ve completely wiped my phone and started over. I think the last time was shortly after Jelly Bean. Man… I know part of it is the full wipe, but I can tell Kit Kat really flies. Everything seems bright and cheerful. No problems yet. I can’t believe I have Kit Kat and it’s not even Monday yet. You guys rock!

    1. U dont have kitkat bro u NEVER WILL. GOOD LUCK HAHAHA.

      1. What? If he installed this rom, he does

      2. Sorry but you’re just simply an idiot.

      3. Did you not read the article? Did you not even look at the headline?

    2. So some early problems: some weird graphical problems in settings and during screen rotation Semi random reboots. Can’t import my text messages and can’t install the aosp browser. Otherwise, pretty nice! My phone was auto updating apps in the background which usually bogs down the phone really bad but I actually still had 250MB of RAM left. It didn’t slow down at all! Kit Kat rocks!

  8. How does this even work? :-( Google said that KitKat would be less hardware demanding so that it could run on loads of low end devices easily.. And yet the Galaxy Nexus is unable to get KitKat..:S :@

    1. Driver issues is my guess. TI left the mobile chipset business and let go of all those workers so there isn’t a particular team they can go to and say “hey can you update these drivers?”

      1. But that seems like programmed obsolescence, because if they already had the drivers from the last update (4.3), why not use them to port 4.4 to the GNex? They did that mainly so we would buy the Nexus 4 or 5. Hopefully we have XDA-Developers to help us here!

        1. they wouldnt be able to guarantee that it would fully support 4.4 so instead of a backlash from thousands of users in case it didnt end up working on the device properly …they opted to not go ahead and do it themselves the modding community is always there …as for updated drivers and google not having on hand help from Texas Instruments to make an official build for the Gnex its is fully understandable and people just like to complain about nonsense they dont understand….

        2. From the ports we’ve seen of 4.4 roms to the Galaxy Nexus, the old drivers were causing glitches. The roms are functional but not something you’d want to release as an official update.

        3. the glitches in the aosp browser are actually not do to drivers. Those same glitches occur on the nexus 7 as well. The aosp browser is broken in 4.4 due to the change to chromium-webview. Google didn’t update the aosp browser to work properly with this change. Chrome works without the visual glitches.

    2. It may be less of a technical decision and more of a policy decision. The GNex is 2 years old. Google’s policy is to provided updates for Nexus devices for 18 months after release.

      1. Google referenced that fact, but I really do think it was more of a technical issue. After all, Google updated the G’Nex to Android 4.3 (more than 20 months after its release).

        If Google really is sticking to its guns on the 18 months policy as the reason, then that sets a precedent. They never really came out and said that 18 months was it for the update lifespan, though it’d been slightly implied.

    3. they wouldnt be able to guarantee that it would fully support 4.4 so instead of a backlash from thousands of users in case it didnt end up working on the device properly …they opted to not go ahead and do it themselves the modding community is always there …as for updated drivers and google not having on hand help from Texas Instruments to make an official build for the Gnex its is fully understandable and people just like to complain about nonsense they dont understand…

  9. Glad to see all you crack flashers are having success. If I still had the GNex, I’d be right there with you.

  10. Shiny is awesome!

  11. 4.4 installed on my gnex. running awesome. now if baldwinguy77 can do it why cant google?

    1. There’s plenty of people a lot smarter than us at Google. It’s not that they can’t, they just have one reason or another not to…unfortunately.

      1. Google does not own the Graphics maker.

    2. Money. They want you buying the Nexus 5.

      1. They are selling the new one at cost… NO PROFIT to be made forcing people to buy it…….

      2. I would say yes except the n5 is not being offered on verizon.

  12. I don’t suppose there’s going to be anything like this for the Sprint version?

  13. The reason that Google is not supporting the Galaxy Nexus has nothing to do with the capabilities of the device or Google’s incompetence, but everything to do with Texas Instruments not being in the mobile processor game anymore. Google and carriers require TI’s support to build new kernels and implement proprietary bits. Blame TI, not Google!

    1. Do you have any proof for this? So far all I have seen is speculation.

  14. Downloaded to my Verizon Gnex this morning. Another excellent job, baldwinguy77!

  15. Have a break………Have a KitKat

  16. Installed this morning. Pretty good overall but I’m having a few buggy issues. One is when using Google Now search and it loads the results it has black boxes over random parts of the page like it’s not rendering the pages properly. Also there was no stock messaging app included so I’ve been using hangouts and third party. Sometimes when I turn the phone into landscape the screen gets grainy looking and then goes back to normal. It’s ok but there are definitely some minor bugs that need fixed.

    1. “black boxes over random parts of the page”

      yeah, this is a dealbreaker for me. i’m getting black boxes all over gmail, currents, pulse, google now. going to have to downgrade for the time being.

      1. Yeah it’s doing it more often now on my email and everything. I’m with you, time to take a step back until someone can get these issues resolved.

        1. Mine is as well, grainy picture, black box’s randomly popping up..

  17. Looks like baldwinguy77 updated it 11/5

    Added missing apps (Quickoffice and Street View)
    Fixed panorama mode in the Camera app
    Added reboot menu back in (accessed by holding down the power button then long-pressing on “Power Off”)
    Return of rootkeeper script

    1. Updated and it hasn’t resolved any of the issues I’m having.

    2. same. good to know he’s updating it pretty quickly though.

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