Custom Roms and Cyanogenmod

Android is a pretty dominant operating system in the smartphone market right now, with over 80% of all global smartphone shipments being android. A lot of new and old smartphone makers power their devices off the Android OS. Stock android is something android users have gotten pretty used to, or perhaps you’ve been used to Touchwiz, Samsung’s own android based interface.

Stock android provides you with a simplified Google experience, and with the release of lollipop 5.0, it seems android is becoming more simplistic and user friendly. Now, with the lovers of stock android, comes people with different tastes. You may or may not have heard of what’s called a “Custom Rom.” Let me give you a brief overview of what a Custom Rom is.

A custom rom, is a derivative of the Android Operating system, which means it’s still Android Based, just with a touch of customization. Being that Android is open-source, developers and enthusiasts are free to take the source code, including the stock android ROM, and make Customizations/Modifications to them how they please, thus resulting in a Custom Rom. Of course, you would have to Unlock your phone’s Bootloader, and most of the time grant your phone Root access in order to take full advantage of the features Custom Roms provide.

A lot of the times, OEMs like Samsung, and LG have their own variations of Android, giving the operating system a slightly different look and feel, like Samsung’s infamous “Touchwiz” Including Bloatware filled to the brink, and HTC’s Sense. A lot of these OEM variations of the stock android come with Bloatware, or useless software made by the company and its endorsements to promote their own brand. Most of the time this software is obsolete and will most likely never be used by the user. This software can most often cause performance issues, like taking up your storage, and have active running processes in the background which eat up resources like free RAM that will cause your system to perform poorly.

Now this is where Custom Roms come into play. A lot of custom roms won’t have this bloatware issue. The custom rom that I’d like to talk about goes by the name of “Cyanogenmod.” In my opinion, Cyanogenmod, or CM for short, is one of the top standing custom rom makers in the market right now, because of it’s versatility, ability for customization, and Bloatware free usage. The main thing is that, cyanogenmod closely resembles the stock android experience, giving it a lot more options, such as Performance tweaks (modifying hardware, such as clock speeds), and theme customizations.

CyanogenMod logo from the oneplus

Cyanogenmod has set a new standard in Custom Roms, with their own company officially supported by big industry names like Microsoft, and Oneplus, although Oneplus is fairly new, they are no strangers to being a top smartphone market competitor.

OEMs don’t like you tampering with their software, which is why companies like Samsung have implemented their hidden security feature, “Knox” which can detect when your phone has been rooted. Once this security feature has been “tripped” your phone’s warranty is permanently void, and you will not have warranty support by Samsung in any way, shape or form, while Cyanogenmod encourages you to Root your device to fully take advantage of the features that they provide.

The thesis of my little lesson is that, custom roms cater to the tastes of users that aren’t fond of the Stock Android experience, perhaps they have used it for a while and have gotten bored of it, or that they feel it doesn’t provide enough features. So I’d recommend playing around with the idea of Custom Roms to experience it for yourself.

About Kenny Leung
Kenny currently lives in Buffalo, NY. Where he studies computer networking & programming. He has owned a number of Android phones including the Galaxy s3, Galaxy 3 mini, Galaxy s4 mini, LG optimus 3D, and the Oneplus one which he is currently using. Kenny will likely get the Oneplus two once it is released.

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