ParanoidAndroid 4.3 kernelParanoidAndroid 3.97 is an AOSP-based Android 4.3 ROM that has a beta version available for the HTC EVO 4G LTE. The ParanoidAndroid team created and features HALO, the floating notification widget, and this latest installment brings about HALO 2, which still does not feature Master Chief.

This was my first 4.3 ROM, and a little bit different from the other 4.2.2 ROMs I’ve played with in that the Google apps package was significantly larger than the ROM itself. Additionally, a beta version of Superuser was required to make it work, but the ROM is still a beta after all, and 4.3 is pretty new so I’m not complaining.

Here is what I’ve noticed while playing with this Android 4.3 based ROM in fairly early development. Nothing below should reflect badly on the PA team.

  • Google Wallet, which is included in the GAPPS package, doesn’t work and unfortunately the previous Xposed framework hack method that worked on 4.2.2 doesn’t seem to fly any more.
  • Xposed actually doesn’t work out of the box any more, requiring a script to be run to force the install of it.
  • Benchmarks seem to crash.
  • Bluetooth seems to reach farther – suddenly I’m connecting to devices in my car while in my house. It may be a different stack, or may just be wishful thinking.
  • Battery drain on everything except screen on time seems to be diminished.
  • Everything is smoother, and while not particularly faster there seem to be fewer lags.

Some of the PA-EVO specific things I ran into (not bugs, per say):

  • On-screen buttons and hardware buttons both work. You can disable on-screen buttons via settings, or select hybrid, back interface, and change the nav bar to 0%.
  • The developer menu is missing. You can enable like you do in other ROMs by going to About phone and tapping on build number until it says you’re a developer
  • There is no HALO interface to pin applications to the HALO button. Download the interface at Google Play.

Application permissions seem to work. I managed to tame Facebook somewhat from a privacy invading beast into a slightly-less privacy invading beast by killing GPS, the ability to modify and read my phone call logs, etc.

So, other than benchmarks (mostly AnTuTu) and Google Wallet/XPosed, the thing is pretty sweet. I’m currently using this as my operating ROM, and other than the first boot where there was some oddness and one camera lockup after a video Hangout, the thing has been pretty solid.

HALO 2 seems to function pretty much like HALO 1 with what I’m using it for. I’ve read that a lot of development went into the second version, but I haven’t had enough time in the past couple of days to play with it. One thing I have noticed about the HALO that came with this ROM is that it doesn’t crash when Ingress is slapped into it, which sort of rocks.

I also did not have the issues I seem to have had with 4.2.2 AOSP-based ROMs, including data being flaky. It’s a good ROM, I enjoy it, and I look forward to seeing where the developers go with it.