Replicant has been in development since 2010 and has received a few updates since that time. For those who are unaware, this is a version of Android that is completely open source and doesn’t rely on any closed source drivers or code. This results in some hardware not working properly, but there are some workarounds available for those who truly want to go down this route. Version 6.0 of Replicant was released back in May of this year and now a new update has been made available.
While Google has gotten into the habit of rolling out major updates to Android every year, the folks at Replicant take things a bit slower. There have only been 4 different versions of the software available with it first being based on Android 2.2. It was then updated to Android 4.0, followed by Android 4.4 and now it is currently on 6.0 Marshmallow. This current build of Replicant is based on LineageOS 13 and the team has been working to develop open source drivers for as many devices as possible.
This is a big reason why it takes so long to push out updates and also why the software is only available on a limited number of devices. With the initial 6.0 update, it was available for the Galaxy S2, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2, and Galaxy S3 4G. Now, the team has pushed out another update to version 6.0 that brings support to the Galaxy Note, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, Galaxy Note 8.0 (GSM and WiFi) and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 models.
Along with support for additional devices, this new version of Replicant 6.0 also adds a number of improvements to the platform. This includes the ability to use USSD messages with Replicant (again), and they’ve also improved WiFi adapter usability. Once up and running with this new version you can connect to hidden networks, manually set DNS servers, and auto-connect to a Wi-Fi network. They’ve also enabled the key backlight at all times on supported devices when you’re inside recovery and there’s also a new Setup Wizard based on the one from LineageOS.