The Joys of Custom ROMs for Android

I own a Samsung Galaxy S2. It’s my first experience with Android since i heard about the platform back in ‘07. I got this phone as a gift for myself for doing a good job of making a huge project go-live at work last July ‘11. At least that’s what I tell myself to this date.


You can tell the times when I play
That means I’ve had this phone for about 17 months. I have never regretted my purchase. I so love this phone because it’s small, light, fast and all. The list goes on but the real star here is the Android OS. Coming from a Symbian (c/o Nokia 5800) phone, I always knew Android was the one I wanted next, and it did not disappoint.

I could go on and on about the all the nice things about Android, but today, I want to talk about custom ROMs. The beauty of Android is that it is open source. Which means that Google makes the operating system, then gives out the blueprints to manufacturer’s like HTC, Sammy, LG, Sony etc, then they can build their own identity on top of what Google has. That’s why each phone interface looks and feels a little different. HTC has their Sense and Sammy has TouchWiz and so on.

I've been on Jelly bean since August on my SGS2

So anyway, custom ROMs. After Google releases the source code or “blueprint” for the latest Android version, there are dedicated groups of people who take that and make their own version of the ROM. So you know that great feeling the first time you turn on a new phone and all that welcome and tutorial screen comes up? Well that’s how I feel everytime I flash a new ROM. It’s a completely new experience. I always spend hours or days exploring all the new features as you would a new device. The updates and changes are also based on feedback from the community so you’re sure that there are no annoying apps that run in the background. Unlike the commercial ROMs that have bloatware on them. So this equals a cleaner and faster experience.



8 directional Lockscreen! You swipe and unlock directly to an app of your choice
The best thing about these custom ROMs are that after Google makes an announcement and releases the code, you can already start using them after a few weeks: as opposed to having to wait for months for the official ROMs to come out. Just for comparison, I have been on Jelly bean 4.1 since August. To date, Sammy hasn’t even released Jelly bean for the S2, and there’s already talks of v5.0 Key Lime Pie.

You can overclock (faster performance) or underclock (longer battery) your phone
Of course there’s also a downside to this: since these ROMs are free, it also means that the people who work on them do so during their spare time. So you can also expect that you will not get a 24/7 support. So flash at your own risk.

Right now I'm running Resurrection Remix 3.1.2 which is silky smooth

There is no perfect experience when it comes to phones. There will always be something you will want. It’s always good to have that so at least you have something you want to strive to get. But I will say that my experience in using my current one is pretty damn good.


Next time I'll probably write about how all the magic happens.
Exploring all the new features feels like using a new phone for the first time
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