Xmax Katsu is currently teasing something that he calls a ‘Hybrid Firmware’ (HFW).
The term hybrid Firmware must not be confused with a proper Custom Firmware, but what is an HFW?
If we go back to the PSP, then we will see that hybrid firmwares used to be around a few years ago. The older 3.xx OE CFWs have been hybrid (custom) firmwares, since they were based on firmware 1.50, but had an additional 3.xx custom firmware kernel.
As of firmware 3.70, the first ‘universal’ PSP firmware that supported not only the old PSP 1000, but also the (then) newer PSP 2000, this got swapped and the 3.70 had been the base firmware, while an additional, optional 1.5 kernel add-on was available for PSP 1000 users. All future (4.xx, 5.xx, 6.xx) CFWs are following this latter concept (at least so far).
Back to the Playstation Vita. While the PSP had full kernel access, this is not available on the PS Vita. A hybrid Firmware is (apparently) nonetheless possible, and can kinda be described as having different parts of different official firmwares on the PS Vita.
For example the device identifies as (an attack helicopter… Nah, just kidding) firmware 3.51/3.52, but has a base firmware of 3.18, and core parts of firmware 3.36.
This would enable one to visit the Playstation Store, play games that ‘require’ a higher firmware (unless those requirement claims are legit – then it won’t work until you run the proper requirement firmware), but also be able to use exploits & software that was created for lower firmwares (e.g. the 3.18 or 3.36 one).
Such a HFW would be the perfect kind of official firmware, even though it still doesn’t have kernel access. It would retain the so far achieved hacking methods, while also allowing someone to enjoy the ‘new and exciting features‘ that a newer Firmware would offer.
Regardless of OFW or HFW, you still won’t be able what a proper CFW would offer you: Kernel access.
An HFW would just allow you to kinda >em>”merge” two different OFWs into one, which then lets you use the currently available hacking stuff for older firmware, while the device itself & the Sony servers think it is running the higher version.
Before you guys are asking for a download link & tutorial, keep in mind that this still involved a hardware modification, which is something 95% of the people are not willing to do (themselves).
An easy one-click software solution is not yet available, and will most likely not be available for a few years.