CMR now has a front end called Rom Manager which you can download from the Market. You can install CMR directly from the app as well as perform back-ups of your existing ROM. Cough up £3.60 for the Advanced version of Rom Manager and you can use it to search for and download ROMs direct to your handset, and check for OTA updates.
Rom Manager (left)handles your firmware - but Google Apps are separate (right)
A certain amount of trial and error may be needed to find the right ROM - I started with Cyanogen 7.0.3 but that stuck me on the boot screen. So did 7.0.2, but 7.0.0 worked a treat. If I had read the CyanogenMod Blade Wiki, I’d have noticed that you need 7.0.0 for first-gen Blades like mine. Doh.
Again, because I’m a boob and didn’t read the instructions properly, I ended up with no Google apps. What you need to do is have them on your SD card in a separate Zip and then install that Zip using CMR. The first time I tried this the Zip wouldn’t install. So I downloaded the same Zip again and it worked. Go figure.
So, what can you expect once you’ve got CM7 up and running on your phone? Don’t expect any massive increase in speed because, frankly, there isn’t much in it. Yes, CM7 felt a little faster in the UI but the handset didn’t suddenly become a Galaxy S.
You should also see an increase in system storage. Out of the box, the Orange install showed 160MB free. CM7 gave me 195MB thanks to the removal of some Orange stuff and only installing the Google apps I wanted. Don’t expect Flash support - the San Fran’s chip is ARMv6 so Flash is out of the question no matter what you do to the operating system.
Tweak your phone's DSP and Wi-Fi radio
What you will get is some useful additional functionality over and above that of a stock Android ROM. My favourite is the lock screen gestures feature, which lets you assign a function - launching your e-mail client, say - to a specific pattern traced onto the lock screen. To keep your gestures secret you can remove the tell-tale yellow trace line.
Next page: A host of new features for Android
Misleading Title - Agreed
This isn't a "how to" at all. This is more of a "look what I did!!1!eleventyone!!" article. A "how to" tells you, you know, *how to actually do something*.
How do I root it and what are the risks? What's the link to the files/application I need to root? How do I check which version of the phone I have? What is the best source for ROMs? Which ROMs are generally acknowledged to be the most stable? How do you boot the phone into Recovery mode in the case of a bad flash? What's the best way to back up? Can I make a backup of my phone exactly the way it is now in case I don't like it or screw up? If you can't be bothered to write all this up, then can you at least give me a link to someone who has actually bothered to do so?
Incidentally, don't bother telling me to google it. I've been flashing ROMs on mobile devices since the days of my Compaq iPaq PDA over 10 years ago, and pretty much every phone I have had since then has had it's ROM/firmware modified in some way - including my Desire (which is running GingerVillain, by the way). Hell, I even managed to get FroYo running natively (i.e. without haret.exe) on my 4 year old HTC Kaiser. Suffice it to say that if I wanted to install a custom ROM on a ZTE Blade, it wouldn't exactly present a challenge. My point is that the title of this article included the words "how to", and didn't actually tell you how to do it.
Article Title Fail
I already have CM7 on my Desire so it doesn't affect me, but I like that you call an article "How to... re-energise your Android smartphone's OS", and then skip over the "How To" bit entirely.
Wow August and the Reg have just cottoned on to what we've been doing for 8 months.... most of us will read this topic as un-news and we'll all feel more stupid for reading it.
Still credit where its due, you used the best phone to test a cracked rom. ZTE Blade is a fantastic wee phone for the money. I got mine back in January for £89 when colleages were buying the HTC wildfire, with its slower processor, poorer quality screen, massively inflated purchase price (basically double the ZTE), oh but it had build quality (aye you'll need that when you have to keep the phone for 12 months longer than the blade to make it cost effective).
Cyanogenmod 7 is one of the most stable ROMS i've tested, in fact its currently in everyday use by my fiancee (Non-tech savvy, all she wants is txts and internet).
I've been using Cyanogenmod for months...
I originally had the stock HTC sense ROM and installed a Modaco mod to rid it of all the Orange branding and other cruft. I used that for a while, until it dawned on me that this was just another layer of cruft slowing down my phone.
I discovered Cyanogenmod - and the fact that it runs Android as it *should* be run is just a winner.
My phone is fast, has no restrictions - such as tethering - and just looks and runs better than the HTC crap.
Once you go CM there's no going back. When I used the HTC Sense that came with my phone, I had a whole mess of klugey widgets just to do simple tasks like turn wifi and 3G on and off. Now they're right in the windowshade along with the flashlight, brightness control, etc.
All the Apple fans who say that Android is a shitty ripoff of iOS really ought to see the cool things people are doing with open source ROMs. I agree that the locked-down crappy ROMS that come preloaded are just as locked-down and crappy as iOS, but who cares? That stuff's for the moms in minivans. Use CM, use some good widgets (Pure Messenger, LauncherPro), you can make a very different experience from anything that Apple, MS, or Google's partners are offering.
Google's not innovating enough? So what. That's why open source is nice. Unfortunately, this isn't a retail-friendly message, and Google seems poised to kill off AOSP... :\