I’m not a huge Android fan but I do have an Android phone that I want to love. I’m a Google fan, but the phone has not been as good as I thought it should be.
I think the real issue with Android is the fact that carriers modify it. Once Google releases an update it first has to go through HTC and then Verizon. They modify functionality, add apps you can’t remove, and cause problems.
So I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands and I flashed on a new ROM; aka installed a different version of the Android operating system.
It sounds a bit scary, and it’s definitely nerdy, but it’s pretty easy to do. I found this great tutorial on how to flash a custom ROM. The tutorial walks you through everything and it can be completed in about a 1/2 an hour.
I decided to install MIUI on my phone and I’m really liking it. It’s got kind of an iOS feel to it and is very polished with a great UI. It was between that and CyanogenMod and I chose MIUI because it was a bit different. Maybe someday I’ll try out CyanogenMod.
There are a few downsides to installing a custom ROM however.
- You have to root your phone which voids the warranty. Mine is out of warranty however.
- You run the risk of screwing up your phone. Really, if you follow the tutorial step by step, you should be fine. But there is always an outside chance something could happen.
- You have to re-setup everything. Apps, settings, ringtones, everything. Since contacts are synced to your Google account, you don’t lose them though and everything on your SD card is safe.
Of course there are positives too.
- No third-party hands messing up your operating system.
- No apps forced upon you doing who knows what in the background.
- Better battery life since those bloatware apps aren’t running.
- You can install/enable tethering and become a mobile hotspot.
- Depending on the ROM, new features, better usability and more control.
- If done right, you can always go back to what you had, no harm done.
It’s been only a few days since I flashed a ROM and installed MIUI, but it’s been great. My phone feels like it’s new, responds faster and seems a bit closer to the Android I was hoping for.