Feeds

How to... re-energise your Android smartphone's OS

Customise your phone with CynanogenMod

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Generally, users have two beefs with Android. One, handsets often don’t get updated when a new version of the OS rolls out from the Chocolate Factory, and, two, many of the bespoke overlays and ROMs cooked up by handset makers and telecos are more akin to painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa than adding anything of value to the user experience.

Luckily, you can fix both these problem, and fix them quite easily by installing a new ROM to replace the entire operating system with a better version. There are several out there, some generic, others coded for specific handsets. Probably the best one is CyanogenMod.

CyanogenMod screenshotCyanogenMod screenshot

CyanogenMod: revamp your Android

The latest version - at the time of writing; updates are frequent - is CM7. It's available for a wide range of devices, including HTC’s Desire and Desire HD; Samsung’s Galaxy S; and even Dixons/Advent’s Vega tablet. There's a visual list of supported handsets on the CM website. I installed it on an Orange San Francisco - aka ZTE Blade - kindly lent to me by Orange.

I had toyed with the idea of sticking it on my own Desire HD but since that was already running Android 2.3.3, on which CM7 is based, there was little to be gained and I was haunted by fears of bricking my main phone. When it comes to phone operating systems I’m with Oddball: I only ride 'em, I don't know what makes 'em work.

The San Fran is in many ways the ideal candidate for a fresh ROM install. Currently, it’s lumbered with Android 2.1 and has a rather unattractive Orange - in both origin and hue - UI. It is also network-locked.

A shiny new ROM should improve things on all fronts and let you get the most from a handset that for £100 and with a 3.5in, 480 x 800 screen is still a bargain. Fingers crossed that when the £150 Orange Monte Carlo arrives - it's expected imminently - Orange will make the San Fran ever cheaper.

CyanogenMod screenshotCyanogenMod screenshot

Settings a-plenty

I don’t want to get too bogged down in how I got CyanogenMod onto my San Francisco because there are dozens of walk-throughs on the net. In a nutshell, you need to root your phone, install ClockworkMod Recovery (CMR), download your chosen new ROM as a Zip file, stick it on your SD card and then install it using CMR.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
End of buttons? Apple looks to patent animating iPhone sidewalls
Filing suggests handset with display strips
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.