A host of new features for Android
Other handy features you won’t find in stock ROMs include "phone goggles", which requires you to confirm certain predefined outgoing communications to prevent accidental calls or texts; a rather good sound management suite called DSP Equalizer; an incognito web browsing mode; a full install of OpenVPN; and a system-wide "quiet hours" setting to keep your phone silent as required.
CM7 adds useful tweaks like Goggle (left) and private browsing (right)
There are also some rather well thought out minor UI mods like the option to replace the battery charge graphic with a percentage indicator and to remove the time from the status bar altogether.
Pull the status bar down and you get a user-definable control panel to manage more than a dozen system settings. Not a unique concept, I grant you, but this is by far the most versatile incarnation of the ‘quick settings’ idea I’ve encountered.
The CRT TV-style on/off flash when you put your handset into standby or bring it out is a fun graphical tweak that serves no use whatsoever but will amuse your friends.
On a more serious note, the CM7 settings menu will let you fiddle with things Google for good reason don’t want you fiddling with - like the clock speed of your CPU. I tried bumping the San Fran’s 600MHz chip to the maximum indicated 806MHz and everything froze, necessitating a reboot. At least no permanent damage was done by any of my 'what does this button do?' activities.
A warning (left) before you mess with the CPU (right)
There is also an option to force apps to install onto an SD card but I had mixed success with this. Basically, apps that officially support SD card installation worked fine but most of those that don’t didn’t.
CM7 uses ADW Launcher as it’s stock launcher and though it may lack the simplicity of my personal favourite, Launcher Pro, there’s no denying it’s fundamental versatility. Under it’s auspices you can add or remove home pages, change the dock, remove app names and generally fiddle about to your heart’s content.
Next page: More than a desktop theme refresh
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... :\