Are you guilty of Android ROM addictions?

Darren Humphries
Columnist from Oshawa, ON Canada
Published: June 24, 2011

If you are an Android user, raise your hand.  Now put it down before anyone wonders what your problem is.

Ah, Android.  What a great mobile OS.  We love that it comes in all shapes and sizes and that there are so many free and wonderful apps.  But live with Android for a while and you may start to feel a bit tired of it. Well, not Android itself but rather the version of Android you are stuck with.  Official upgrades for these Google smartphones have proven to be more illusive than was on the bill of sale and you may be just as frustrated by that as...84.5% of the other Android owners.

So, that upgrade to the Chocolate-covered-ice-cream-with-hazel-nuts version of Android that you thought you would get has been delayed; perhaps indefinitely.  Now what?  Well, one option would be to rant and rave in every forum you can find (while maintaining a brave face for your iPhone-owning co-workers) or dive into installing a custom ROM. ROM dive!

I should probably just throw in here that if you decide to try installing ROMs PhoneDog is not responsible for anything that may happen...cause something bad might!  Generally, you can get out of most sticky ROM crises but if you aren’t prepared to shelve your phone you probably shouldn’t bother.

For those that don’t know, a ROM is generally a customized version of Android and will often be an updated version of the OS itself.  There tend to be many different flavors for any particular phone as there will be many developers with their own take on Android nirvana.  You will need to do your research to figure out which version to use.

For phones that are dead-ended on Android updates - something that happens FAR too frequently - this may be the only way for you to maintain that puppy love with your smartphone for the long haul, or at least for the length of your contract.

Flashing a custom ROM should NOT be taken lightly.  Some phones are a breeze to ROMify while others will require...a geeky friend.  You will have to unlock, root and then flash your ROM but that may be a nasty go for some.  But once you have that shiny new OS on your phone you get to jump up and down clapping your hands...if no one is watching.

Now, here is where the problems start.  Ah, you thought you were done, right?  I’m here to tell you that your problems have only just begun.  Sure, if you did everything right your phone works better than new but now you have tasted the coolaid, and it is gooood!  Your evenings will now be consumed with pouring over forums to decide on which ROM to try next.  Which one looks better, or at least newer that that one-week-old ROM you flashed?  Wait!  There’s a ROM that has the system font as Comic Sans!  And that one over there has a Teal theme rather than the greenish blue one from yesterday!

No, the problem with ROMs is not the install, the problem is the addiction that results from your first taste.  If you decide to try installing a custom ROM just be warned!  You are committing to far more hours than you think...but will probably have a mad-scientist smile after each successful install.

Happy ROMifying!  You’ve been warned!

Image via Cyanogenmod