Feeds

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

Customise your phone with CynanogenMod

Reducing security risks from open source software

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.

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad
Apple's fondleslab is the tablet dermatitis sufferers won't want to take
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases
Uncle Larry's mutually-optimised stack to become clearer in August
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.