We are planning to move to the 4.14 kernel in the near future.
One advantage is there is a lot more raspberry pi specific support in the newer upstream kernels which reduces the number of downstream raspberry pi patches and so reduces maintenance effort.
The 4.14 kernel is planned to be an LTS kernel (long term support).
Obviously a newer kernel will bring additional kernel features and support for more devices (e.g. USB devices like wifi and dvb).
You can read up on what appeared in 4.10, 4.11 ,4.12, 4.13 and 4.14.
We will do this in a few stages. Starting now, we are updating the "next" firmware branch to the 4.14 kernel.
Assuming testing is positive, we'll update the master rpi-update firmware branch.
Eventually the 4.14 kernel will appear in "apt-get upgrade" and on new raspbian images in the future.
The 4.14 kernel has been used in LibreELEC nightly builds (as an optional build over last couple of months, and now the default for last couple of days).
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Please report if there are any regressions compared to the 4.9 kernel.
Obviously this release is for testers who like to live on the bleeding edge. It's not intended for beginners, or users who need stability.
Backing up is always advisable. There may be regressions. There may be improvements. But we won't know without testers trying it and reporting back.