When a company says that they are going to stop supporting a phone, what they usually mean is they will no longer push firmware updates to the handset. When this happens, the only chance customers have to ever run the latest build of Android is if developers build a custom ROM for it. In the case of the Galaxy Nexus and the 2013 Moto X, Android 7.1 Nougat is now available thanks to the CyanogenMod and Unlegacy Android communities.
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To kick things off, an XDA forum is still hard at work when it comes to Galaxy Nexus development. After being released in 2011, the Galaxy never got updated past Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. While the build isn’t perfect — there are reports of problems with the GPS — it is enough to give you a taste of Nougat. You can find the source code for the project on GitHub.
The second device receiving Android 7.1 unofficially is the 2013 Moto X. This ROM is a build of CyanogranMod 14, which was first posted over on XDA Developers. Again, things aren’t perfect in this release as the mic and video recording functionality aren’t working but it is enough to try out the latest version of Android that would have never seen another update from Motorola.
If you do still own a Galaxy Nexus or a 2013 Moto X, it’s more than likely now in a drawer or on a shelf collecting dust. While neither of these ROMs will bring either of these phones back for mainstream use, hacking Android 7.1 onto your outdated devices can be a great weekend project.