More than a desktop theme refresh
If you don’t like the look of the CM7’s UI then you can also muck about with its design and colourisation through the Theme Manager. There are some rather impressive themes kicking about - you can get a taste of one theme coder’s efforts here.
You want themes? CM7 has loads of 'em
Battery life certainly improved, but with the move from Eclair to Gingerbread I was expecting this to be the case. Exactly how much better is hard to quantify, so much depends on how often you have set your handset to sync or poll. But I feel comfortable in saying that after the CM7 upgrade I could get easily 48 hours from a full charge whereas before it was more like 36.
In two weeks, I only encountered one issue with CM7: every so often the dock would partly vanish. A quick re-boot always fixed things so it wasn’t the end of the world, though even locking the homescreen didn’t prevent the problem occurring.
The only app-related problem was Skype refusing point-blank to log in for the first few days. And then it suddenly decided to work and has worked perfectly ever since.
So, beyond the satisfaction of doing something because it’s possible, was loading CyanogenMod worth the effort and an invalidated warranty? If you have a decent spec handset running Gingerbread with no overlay - or a decent one like HTC’s Sense - and are happy with your teleco, there is no overwhelming reason to start messing with your ROM. The benefits offered by CM7 aren’t that huge.
But if you want to a give a fillip to a handset running an older version of Android, want to permanently ditch an awful third-party UI overlay, or just skip to a new carrier then CM7 is certainly the way to go. You will notice some speed improvements, you will get some extra functionality and you should get updates a darned site quicker than you will from your handset maker or teleco. ®
How to... re-energise your Android smartphone's OS
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... :\