If you've got a phone that's not getting a manufacturer update to Android 4.4, there's hope in sight. Android hacking team CyanogenMod's latest build supports a wide range of older handsets.
The CyanogenMod team just released the first nightly build of CM11.0 M1, its most recent firmware based on Android 4.4 KitKat, for recent Google Nexus devices, like the Nexus 4, 5, 7 and 10. A day later, it widened its scope considerably — including a huge range of handsets, such as the Samsung Galaxy S3, the HTC One, Sony Xperia Z, LG's Optimus G and G Pro.
A grand total of 47 Android devices are now able to download CyanogenMod's regularly updated beta build of the CM 11 firmware. Being a nightly build, its feature set changes often, and some features are missing or not working. Stability isn't at the level you'd expect from a fully polished release either, but the Cyanogen team's efforts are nonetheless bringing the most recent version of Android to mobile devices long since abandoned by manufacturers.
Android 4.4 KitKat is significantly smoother and faster than its predecessors thanks to a push to cut down on unnecessary memory usage and the streamlining of Google's integrated services. It's a perfect fit for older smartphones, many of which in the CM11 list stopped receiving manufacturer updates more than a year ago.
The CyanogenMod team has received over US$7 million in funding from investors recently and wants to broaden its appeal to offer its unique flavour of Android to more devices, drawing in everyday users with features like integrated secure messaging.