Everyone knows it, and by now there's no point in denying it or dancing around the subject. Google and the manufacturers who harbor Google's android software in their devices are slow at pushing out updates. Ever since I could remember I've loved android. I picked up my first device when they dropped the mytouch on tmobile. It was new and fresh and ultimately something vastly different than my blackberry 8900. The only thing I wish was different back then was that it was a little quicker. And when I say quicker I don't just mean the speed of the phone, I really mean the speed at which the phone gets updated to newer versions of software. I got the cupcake update pretty quick, couldn't have been more than a month or two from when I bought the device. After that though it seemed to drop off entirely. I never saw another update. To get a newer version of the android software I had to upgrade to the mytouch slide. That took forever to get updates also. More than a year. Although the software was already out there floating around for people to grasp onto. It wasn't until I moved into my third android device the Samsung Galaxy S vibrant that I started getting fed up with the amount of time it was taking for me to receive any updates of software and started experimenting with cyanogenmod, rooting, and ROM flashing.
For those of you who don't have a clue what or who Cyanogenmod is, they are probably the oldest and most popular source for aftermarket android firmware. They make the software attractive, and they push out updates quickly. They get straight to work as soon as the source code is available and put their usual flare on it for all the devices they can. Essentially, they take the normal android software you have on your phone, and they modify it with their own spin and added features at an attempt to make things faster and easier to use, while trying to give us tweak freaks something to yearn for by putting all sorts of useful features into what they call a ROM you can flash to your device. You'll also find that all or most other ROMS out there and mainly the popular ones, are based off of cyanognemod. Most notably ROM builds from Team KANG, eaglesblood, and others. If you have ever used a device that has been denied the possibility of future updates and is no longer supported by your devices manufacturer, fear not my good lads. Cyanogen has your back. They offer support for just about most of the android devices out there and are pretty much the boss when it comes to all things android regarding newer software. The tmobile G2x ( my current device) still doesnt have an official Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update, yet im still running a version of ICS. Thanks to Cyanogenmod and Team KANG of course. The funny thing is, LG might not even support the ICS rollout to this phone. The optimus 2x is reportedly getting an official update. The G2x has been rumored to get it as well. Here it is more then 5 months after the source code release though and I only have ICS because I flashed a few different ICS ROMS to my G2x till i found one that I like. Now before I go any further I just want to state that to flash aftermarket firmware to your device, you must have your device rooted. That being said, it was the smartest decision I made with my phones and tablets since moving to android in general.
What I've noticed over the last year or two that Ive spent diving into Cyanogenmod and the like is that they give you near unlimited customization options. Another thing the devs seem to change from the stock ROM that is loaded onto the phones from out of box is removing any unneeded apps or "BLOATWARE" that is pre-loaded into the device from the manufactureers and the carriers. Most of that is unneeded and is just for added convenience to the average user but in reality it actually slows the phone down quite a bit. They take up space and RAM which could be left open for your device to run faster. While not a huge issue for most average users on android, thats a possible deal breaker for someone who is into flashing roms from week to week or uses a rooted device. We generally like the speed factor of things and I personally never use those pre-loaded apps. I think the same can be said for most who have rooted and ever flashed a ROM. Take the most recent up and coming popular ROM set out there from the AOKP and and Team KANG. They have added an option in the regular settings menu called "ROM control" that lets you tweak just about every forseeable thing inside the phone. From font, to colors of battery icon, LCD density, customized carrier label, weather in the lock screen and pull down notification bar and many many more options. It's almost daunting the amount of things that you can tweak with this ROM. Given that you have an overclock set up for your processor you can even set up the ability to speed up your CPU and how it performs. If it werent for Cyanogenmod AOKP would have much less to go off of. So I and others owe a big thanks to Team Cyanogen for all their efforts in making the Andoid operating sytem a much cooler and more efficient OS to use.
I know some of you will probably say that it is a big job to take on and Google and the manufacturers need time to be able to implement those updates and push them out to devices safely. Because of fragmentation issues. OR because they need to make sure that older devices can support the future ROMS. If this is the case though than the dedicated teams of developers out there wouldn't be able to push out ICS or previous versions of Android weeks after the release of the source code by Google. Like I stated earlier, there are some devices that are still waiting for an ICS update after it was announced that they will recieve an official one. It's always exciting to know that the OEM's and Google are going to support your device officially and have it sent out OTA (over the air) and all you have to do is push allow update. However, I've come to expect that most devices will take close to a year after release to get any sort of new software and by this time there is a newer phone out or on its way that will be running the next version. Customers dont want to wait that long for updates. I know this because I hear people complain about it many times a week. If the Devs can make it happen, the manufacturers can as well. The breakdown is that most manufacturers almost certainly want you to have to purchase new phones, so they offer updates to keep customers happy, but do it at such a late stage that some people will grow impatient and just upgrade. While this is frustrating, I bit the bullet and took matters into my own hands, and just followed suit with many others to ROOT my device and flash the software on myself. It isnt terribly difficult and more so just takes some time and a little bit of research. What opinions do you readers have? Do you think Google and the OEM's are slacking? or just trying to squeeze all the money they can out of customers? Whatever the case, if you can't stand waiting around anymore, I stronly suggest looking into rooting your device if possible and checking out Cyanogenmod. Thye just started releasing the nightlies and Release candidates of Cyanogenmod9 for some devices.