You may have heard of people loading custom “ROMs” on their Android devices. A “ROM” is the operating system software that runs your Droid. It is stored in the “Read Only Memory” portion of the hardware on the Android smartphone and/or tablet. All Android devices come with a stock ROM installed by the manufacturer. But, if you root your device, you gain the ability to install custom ROMs that will completely change the look and feel of the software. This is one of the major reasons that people choose to root their Droids. What is rooting? You’ll want to check this article out if you have never heard of the term before. [What is Rooting on Android? The advantages and disadvantages]
What are custom ROMs and who makes them?
Well, the Android platform is open-source which allows developers to take stock ROMs and modify them to make their own unique versions. Developers of custom ROMs are able to strip out all the garbage that manufacturers throw in, optimize the software, unlock some of the built-in features, and make an even better version of the Android software. The Android developers who make these custom ROMs then release the software to the general public to install on their rooted devices. The Android community is very lucky to have such a dedicated and hard working group of developers that are constantly working on making these custom ROMs available to enhance the Android experience for all of us.
What kind of benefits can a custom ROM give me?
1. Provides the latest and most up-to-date versions of Android
2. Improved performance and efficiency
3. Battery life improvements
4. Removal of bloatware (the useless junk that manufacturers install on your device)
5. Custom themes and modified user interfaces
6. Your friends will think you are awesome for knowing how to install a custom ROM
7. And more!
What are the disadvantages of installing a Custom ROM?
1. Installing custom ROMs generally involves having to perform a clean wipe. So make sure you perform a backup of all your stuff! Check out Titanium Backup.
2. Custom ROMs may have bugs that cause your device to have issues
3. Voids the Manufacturer Warranty (just like rooting)
Where can I find a custom ROM for my device?
There are many great custom ROMs available that can make your Android device look and perform drastically different. For instance, you might be stuck with an older Android device that is stuck on an older version of the Android OS and it is not getting any of the latest updates for Android. With a custom ROM, you could load up the latest and greatest available Android versions and bring that antiquated device up to par with some of the newer ones. There are lots of great ROMs available for many different phones and it is up to you to find the one that best meets your needs.
The best place that I have found to find custom ROMs for Android devices is the XDA Developers Forums. The XDA community is filled with smartphone enthusiasts and developers for the Android platform. Check them out and see if you find any ROMs that would meet your needs. [XDA Developers]
Another simple option to find custom ROMs is to use the power of Google. Just go to Google and type in a phrase like “HTC EVO 3D ROMs”. Obviously,you’ll want to replace the “HTC EVO 3D” portion with your specific brand phone and model number. That’s it!
What ROM do you use on your device?
One of my favorite ROMs that I use on my HTC EVO 3D, EVO 4G, and HP TouchPad, is the CyanogenMod or more commonly referred to as the CM ROM. The latest version of this custom ROM is called CM7. This ROM is available for a large majority of the most popular Android devices. In my opinion, it is one of the best performing and well maintained custom ROMs available for Android. Check to see if it is available for you device here. [CyanogenMod]
Questions or comments? Please feel free to leave us a note below or stop by our Android Forums to discuss this topic more in-depth with our community.
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