By Mohit Kharbanda
A custom ROM can be the best thing you ever do with your Android device. At the very least, a custom ROM can give you a faster and slimmer version of the operating system, however that is not all, custom ROMs can offer much more than that.
Android is open to customizations, you can tweak it anyway you want – that’s why comparing an HTC device to a Sony to a Samsung is like looking at totally different species. Although, all of them run on the same Android, they are quite different from each other as manufacturers have customized the OS to differentiate the devices.
What are Custom ROMs & Stock ROMs?
A stock ROM is the version of the device’s operating system that comes with your device when you buy it; it is what the OEM releases with a phone or tablet.
A custom ROM is a customized version of the OS, including the kernel (which makes everything run), apps, services, etc. – everything you need to operate the device, it’s customized by someone in some way.
Why would you want a Custom ROM on your Android device?
Update Frequency: Most of the devs update their firmwares frequently with latest features and remove bugs in previous version of the ROM. Users usually get new features added and release of new version of ROM in every 15/20 days (Depends on release cycle by the developers).
Better Performance, Efficiency & Battery: Most of the custom ROMs allow you to uninstall any unwanted apps or they don’t include all OEM apps by default, resulting in better performance.
Also, one can restrict background processes and doesn’t allow any app on auto-start mode in a custom firmware.
Updated Android device always: You don’t need to wait for 6 or 12 months for you device manufacturer to release an updated version of Android (Apart from Nexus devices).
Why you should be worried before installing Custom ROMs?
Something could go wrong: One of the biggest problems with Custom ROMs is the compatibility with hardware and if you do something wrong, you could brick your device.
Wipe Device: You are required to clean wipe your Android device during the installation of any Custom ROM; hence it is sometimes a very tedious task to re-install or restore every single application/settings on the phone.
You may void your device warranty: That’s it. You would void your device warranty by rooting your phone or unlocking the device bootloader to install any Custom ROM.
Getting the Right ROM for your Android phone or tablet (Stable/Alpha/Beta/RC)
All Android devices have their respective hardware and features (Like few have camera flash, few don’t have), so it is always recommended to get the RIGHT firmware for your Android phone or tablet. Also, always go for Stable ROMs if you want to use it in your daily use device as beta or pre-release ROMs could lead to crashes, reboot of phones etc.
Few of the popular Custom ROMs: MIUI, CyanogenMOD, SLIM ROMs, AOKP etc.
Websites you should look for: http://www.xda-developers.com/
Journey to Android Development: http://xda-university.com/
Are you using a custom ROM on your Android device, do share your thoughts in comments.
This is a guest post by Mohit Kharbanda, who is an Android enthusiast and loves to tinker with his Android devices.