Android Potential: Power to the user!
This article was written by Viet Tu Vu.
‘YOUR PHONE IS YOUR PHONE. IF YOU DON’T LIKE SOMETHING, CHANGE IT.’
This is the beauty of Android in which I have experienced these past few years. Normal users have limited customisability of their phone, but here in Australia, we don’t let big companies tell us what to. There are a few things you should know, before you consider venturing into the bigger world of customisation.
With the exception of Nexus phones, phones sold in Australia are subject to manufacturer and/or carrier modification. This can be in the form of locked bootloaders and custom user interfaces, such as TouchWiz, Sense UI and MotoBlur. However, there’s always a way around this.
Everyone knows that Android is open-sourced, therefore, giving power to the community. Anyone can build Android, develop apps and modify their phones as they please.
This community of developers, hackers, ‘modders’ and users often collaborate on projects with the sole purpose of getting more out of their phones. The largest of these communities is XDA-developers.
If you’re stuck on an older version of Android, namely Froyo (2.2), Eclair (2.0/1), Donut (1.6) or even Cupcake (1.5), custom ROMs may be your saviour. Simply search for your phone model followed by ‘development’ or ‘custom rom’ on the XDA forums. More popular phones are almost guaranteed to be on XDA.
Now down to the nitty-gritty. Root access is the first step (if you’re not familiar with root access then read this piece). With root access, you can do so much more with your phone like removing ‘bloatware,’ which are the pre-installed apps you don’t need.
WARNING 1: Rooting will void your warranty and will increase susceptibility to malware. Use at your own risk.
WARNING 2: Back up everything.
I won’t go into too much detail with custom ROMs, but I must say, it is worth it. Having the latest firmware feels good, the Google UI is clean and customisable to your liking. My most favoured custom ROM is CyanogenMod, easily the most popular and well known.
But, what are the pros and cons of rooting your phone and flashing a custom ROM?
|Latest firmware||Void Warranty|
|No bloatware = faster||Many degrees of risk|
|Apps requiring root|
Editor’s Note: While this piece is not so much news or explanatory, it gives an insight into the potential of Android from our, the user’s, experience. Feel free to share your own personal Android stories below.
Have you rooted and/or flashed your phone? If so, what ROM are you running?