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What is Custom ROMs? The Advantages and Disadvanta

Last post 6/6/2013 3:15:15 PM by Min Yellow 0 replies.
Post at: 6/6/2013 3:15:15 PM
Introduction

Ever wondered what the whole Android custom ROM scene was about?
What is all this talk of installing custom roms on your phone?
Who needs it? Why do it? Is it safe?

Custom ROMs

A stock ROM is the version of the phone's operating system that comes with your phone when you buy it.

A custom ROM is a fully standalone version of the OS, including the kernel (which makes everything run), apps, services, etc - everything you need to operate the device, except it's customized by someone in some way.

So what does the "customized" part mean? Since Android is open source, developers are free to take stock ROMs, modify them, strip them of garbage, optimize them, add things, and pretty much do whatever their imagination and skills allow.

Reasons you should not install a custom ROM

You will void your warranty:
- The manufacturer or third-party warranty company will not be willing to repair a damaged phone that has been rooted or has a custom ROM installed. While the ROM may not be the cause of the issue, your warranty will still be voided.

During the process of rooting, something may go wrong:
- You could brick your phone. There are ways to unbrick it, but you could potentially need a new phone. Without your warranty (you just voided it), you will have to pay full retail price for a replacement.

Custom ROMs update quite frequently to fix bugs:
- You’ll end up having to update every few days, sometimes even having to wipe your data and restore it later. This can be a good thing, because bugs are getting fixed, but it can also be annoying to have to update that frequently.

You may accidentally give a malicious app root access, allowing the app to do whatever it wants to do with your phone:
- It could potentially wipe all of your data, take your files, including private pictures, and send spam to your contacts.


Reasons you should install a custom ROM

Speed tweaks:
- Most ROMs are tweaked to maximize speed and minimize RAM usage. I have a Samsung phone, which comes with TouchWiz. For those of you who have not used TouchWiz before, it’s not the prettiest launcher available, it lacks features, and does not feel very smooth. The speed tweaks of my ROM have made TouchWiz a lot more enjoyable.

Tethering:
- Custom ROMs usually provide you with the ability to tether without a tethering plan. It is often the only reason people want to install a custom ROM. While this does void your carrier’s terms of service. It is essentially stealing from your carrier and I do not recommend doing it without a tethering plan.

Battery life improvements:
- With root access, you have the ability to calibrate your battery, which usually will fix any issues you’re having with battery life. Some custom ROMs also under clock the CPU to reduce battery usage. If battery life improvement is all you’re interested in, I recommend that you try JuiceDefender. It’s an app that manages your wireless connections and disables them when your phone is locked to save battery life.

Apps:
- Some apps require root access. A good example of this is DroidWall, which lets you keep apps from using data while on 3G. This is great if you’re on a limited data plan and getting close to your limit.

Over clocking and under clocking:
- You can use an app, such as SetCPU, to over clock your phone, giving it better performance, but sacrificing battery life. This may be something you want to do if you’re having trouble running a game you really want to play. Some Custom ROMs are already configured to over clock your phone. You may also be interested in under clocking your phone. Under clocking reduces performance but increases battery life.

Newer Android versions:
- I’m excited to try Ice Cream Sandwich, but a release date for this update, for my phone, has not been announced yet. However, I can install a custom ROM that includes version 4.0 of Android (ICS) and use it way before the official update is released.

 

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