So you are sick and tired of the stock ROM provided by your Android device manufacturer? Dont despairtheres hope for you, yet. Root your device and install a custom ROM. If you dont know which ROM to opt for, this article will help you clear your doubts.
If you have often heard the terms, stock ROM and custom ROM and wondered what they meant, this article will explain the terms and their importance in the Android world.
Before we go further, ROM stands for read-only memory which refers to the internal storage of the phone or tablet. The stock or the custom ROMs are the OS images that reside in the ROM of your tablet, phone, etc.
Stock ROMs are otherwise known as factory/manufacturer OS images, which come with your phone or tablet when you buy it. These ROMs have a few enhancements added over the default version of the OS by the device manufacturers. Some of the top smartphone manufacturers usually customise the default version of the OS by adding new features to enhance the user experience.
A custom ROM is the customised version of the default operating system, which is heavily modified with fun tweaks, feature additions, performance enhancements and also the modification of the UI by changing the lock screen, home screen, background services and even adding new software applications. Even the kernel is updated with the latest patches to bring in performance, security and stability. So how does one customise the default OS? As you already know, Android is an open source operating system and its source code is available for download, which means developers can modify the code and the kernel in any way they would like to.
Why custom ROMs?
The answer is simple – the stock ROM doesnt give you much room to customise your phone and tablet, whereas custom ROMs are designed to provide flexibility along with more efficient performance, features and stability.
- Custom ROMs are not only faster but are more efficient and use less memory.
- They have more features and better UIs, when compared with the stock ROMs.
- They have a good turnaround in getting bug fixes which, in turn, increases the frequency in which you can get updated versions.
- They are supported by the open source community, where community members can submit features and fixes, which then get added to these ROMs.
If you have not yet explored the complete feature box-set of Android, shown below are the Top 5 custom Android ROMs that you could try. There are more custom ROMs out there with some unique features, but most of them dont support a wide range of devices.
CyanogenMod is one of the best custom ROMs available in the open source Android community. A very large community of developers contribute to it, and a large number of users have it on their phones and tablets. With frequent updates like Nightly and Stable builds, its no wonder that this is considered one of the most reliable custom ROMs by current users. Currently, those at CyanogenMod are working hard to bring out the latest version of the Android operating system called Marshmallow 6.0 to their supported phones and tablets. CyanogeMods OS will be named CM13.0.
Based on the Android Open Source Project, CyanogenMod is designed to offer better performance and reliability than the Android based ROMs released by vendors and carriers such as Google, T-Mobile, HTC, etc. CyanogenMod also offers a variety of features and enhancements that are not currently found in stock versions of the Android OS (Source: http://www.cyanogenmod.org/about).
CyanogenMod supports most Android phones and tablets available in the market. To find out if your device is supported, follow https://wiki.cyanogenmod.org/w/Devices
If you dont find your device in the list of supported devices but you are keen on trying out CyanogenMod, then you can follow its porting guide on how to port its OS to your phone or tablet at https://wiki.cyanogenmod.org/w/Doc:_porting_intro
Paranoid Android or AOSPA has been one of the best ROMs in the Android community for a long time. It has a lot of features and also a large user base of more than 200,000 (Source: Wikipedia).
Some of its features include:
- Immersive mode
It also supports dynamic system bar and a theme engine, which is powered by Cyanogen Mod. If you are looking for a sleek custom ROM with more intuitive features, this would be the right choice.
PAC-ROM includes the best features among all the above ROMs, and provides them in a single package. Since this is a mix of everything, this ROM ought to be everyones choice if they are looking out for all the crazy features, along with the stability.
SlimROMs, as the name suggests, is a completely stripped down version of Android. It has many features and offers up to three variants that can be deployed in your device, based on your needs.
There are lots of other features, too, which are listed below:
- The Real Dark Slim is a theme which makes the UI black, in addition to several other features
- SlimROMs has completely different recent and favourite apps windows, and this includes the option to switch to either side. So it doesnt matter whether you are right-handed or left-handed!
- It also supports various privacy features in addition to events related to Shake and notification reminders
OmniROM thrives on flexibility, and allows developers to work on the project together to improve its features. It supports a number of devices, and also allows users to add features and the bugs discovered to their roadmap, which is publicly accessible.
To install OmniROM, go to http://docs.omnirom.org/Installing_Omni_on_your_device
Challenges faced with custom ROMs
Custom ROMs have a tendency to have bugs, too, since they dont go through the same amount of rigorous testing that vendors do before they ship the factory ROM with the device. Another downside is that you have to always go for a clean format/wipe before flashing the customised OS image on to your device. And some vendors consider their warranty offered on the device as being void when you use a custom ROM.
But again, the chances are very slim of any of these issues arising nowadays. Our recommendation is to make sure you check which OS image has lots of positive feedback and go for it!
With so many customisable options, custom ROMs will suit everyones needs and for a geek who is looking to explore new features, this is the way to go.
Tip: You can try Googling the model number of your device along with + ROM to learn more about it on the Internet.