Thursday, November 3, 2011
Now that we covered rooting, unlocking and flashing Recovery, it's time to move on to what we'll discuss on this website from now on : custom ROMs.
A custom ROM is basically the software on your Android device. There are MANY teams that compile ROMs for the majority of Android devices out there. To name a few : Lee (makes ROMs for the HTC Desire, Desire HD, Sensation, EVO 3D, Flyer), Cyanogen (about 50 devices), MIUI (about 20 devices). There are many other ROMs out there, some device-specific ROMs and some wide-spread ROMs. Cyanogen, for example, is wide-spread, since the team is not building just for ONE device. Same goes for MIUI -- including fansites, about 15 of them.
Trying to better define a custom ROM... let's see... It's the original Android code for the specific version (Android 2.3 Gingerbread, for example), with modifications and optimizations at the system level. For example : better kernel (better CPU/RAM performance, less battery consumption), new settings implemented, new features etc. In some cases, graphical user interface adjustments / new eye-candy too -- MIUI ROM, for examle.
But how is this possible? How can coders get their hands on the Android code and manipulate it to make it even better than it already is? Google Android is Open Souce, which means it's available for everyone to grab and look through its code. Which opens the doors for modders, obviously.
The only version of Android that Google has not made the code public for is Honeycomb 3.x, designed for tablets. They didn't release the code probably to prevent modders from getting their hands on it and struggle to port the software to mobile phones -- products that the OS was NOT designed for, thus rendering devices faulty etc.
The latest version of Android that we DO have the code for is Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread, which has already been implemented in already-existing ROMs (previously based on Android 2.3.5).
Android Ice Cream Sandwich, with a complete graphical interface overhaul, is on the way. Ice Cream Sandwich will be the 4th Android release (ICS 4.0), first to be featured on the newest Samsung's product : the Galaxy Nexus, a.k.a Nexus Prime. Android 4.0 will be a combination of Gingerbread and Honeycomb, or at least that's what it looks like. In any case, it looks GORGEOUS, from the demonstration, and we can't wait to see Google releasing the code for that -- which is said to happen soon after the Samsung Galaxy Nexus hits the market.
Some critics said that Ice Cream Sandwich seems to be the first mobile OS that might actually be a serious competition to Apple's iOS -- which, if you ask me, sounds like complete rubbish (Android is already competing with Apple, and it seems to win, too).
So, that's what there is to say about custom ROMs, I guess. If you are unhappy with the current stock (out-of-the-box) look of your Android phone, you might want to consider flashing (installing) a custom ROM. We'll cover many ROMs in the posts that are about to come : guides, how-to`s and probably video footage, too, so... stay tuned!