Android comes in a thousand different forms and flavors. This is great for those who like choice and variety when selecting a handset. However, it also means that some phones will inevitably perform worse than others. Anyone who’s used a Samsung Galaxy S II and moved to a low-end phone with an old version of Gingerbread can certainly tell the difference. The devices with less built-in power tend to struggle more and perform inadequately when compared to their processor-heavy cousins.
This would be an issue, but it’s Android. As usual, somebody from the community has solved the problem and published his tweak for the masses. The V6 SuperCharger is a creative way to focus your phone’s processing power upon the app you’re using and greatly speed things up. For testing we used the classic Evo 4G, a slightly older Android handset. Although reliable, it does suffer from persistent lagginess unless overclocked. However, overclocking tends to eat through the battery.
The V6 SuperCharger is special because it helps speed up Android phones without necessarily sacrificing the battery life. Fair warning, though- the SuperCharger is not a hack for the faint of heart. Installing this requires you to journey into a land of scripts and terminals where the phrase “user-friendly” is a legend. It’s a little intimidating. Non-programmers should not despair, though, as we have put together this helpful guide based on the thread at XDA. SuperCharger can give your phone a noticeable boost in responsiveness. Here’s how to do it.
Disclaimer: Please follow this guide at your own risk. If your device gets damaged in any way, the author or TechNorms cannot be held liable. To be on a safe side, please make a Nandroid backup beforehand.
It helps to understand what you’re doing and why it matters. Before we get started, you need to understand how SuperCharger works in order to operate it properly. To understand that, we need to look at the inside functions of the Android operating system (OS).
A phone has a set amount of RAM (random-access memory). RAM is the part of the device that helps process tasks. The more RAM you have, the faster your phone operates. The problem many people face is that their phones don’t have much RAM.
Our Evo 4G came with a certain amount of RAM. Older devices like the Motorola Milestone come with even less. More RAM means less lag. SuperCharger doesn’t change the amount of RAM on your phone (which would be impossible), but it forces the RAM to be more efficient.
Running an app uses up RAM. When you open up another app, that’s even more RAM used. The Android system can hold a total of six apps within its RAM. Once the RAM starts to run out, the system starts killing apps. The first apps to die are the ones which have not been used for the longest time.
The idea is to kill the apps you’re not using to make room for the ones you are using. By killing the oldest app, the system frees up RAM to dedicate to running the other apps that are open.
The Android OS decides when an app should be killed based on how much RAM is left. If the amount of free RAM drops below a certain level, the system starts shutting down the oldest app. That certain level is called a minfree value.
SuperCharger goes into the Android OS and raises the minfree values. This means the system is more likely to kill old apps. The end result is that your phone will not multitask as well. You won’t be able to run as many apps simultaneously.
The good part is that SuperCharger frees up a lot of RAM. The extra RAM goes into a process that caches the file system. In plain English, it makes the phone a whole lot faster. By not multitasking with as many apps, the apps that do run tend to operate more smoothly.
Think of it this way- instead of spreading itself thin over a lot of apps, SuperCharger forces your phone to focus on just a few apps and to run those apps really well.
The end result is quite striking- we noticed a very visible jump in the phone’s speed, responsiveness, ease of use, and general processing power. As a point of comparison, the Evo 4G usually has trouble running a Nintendo 64 emulator. However, with SuperCharger running, N64oid ran flawlessly without even a hint of lag. Even Sense, which is always abysmally slow, didn’t lag once.
The reduced multitasking isn’t even that bad. We tested SuperCharger on the stock Sense ROM for the Evo 4G. We could easily switch between three or four different apps. We usually focus on using one or two apps at a time, so the shift from multitasking was not a huge loss. Depending on your usage habits, it might be.
- Be prepared to do some user-unfriendly modifications
- We are going into the Android system and actively fiddling with the settings. There is a real chance that something can go wrong. Always, always, always make a nandroid backup before doing any sort of modifications.
- It goes without saying that everything here requires root access. See our guide for a how-to.
Installation (Stock ROMs)
Now for the hard part. This section is intended solely for users on a stock ROM. Everybody else who’s flashed a custom setup can skip to the next section. If you run into some trouble, though, I recommend coming back here and trying these steps.
First up is BusyBox. Open the Market and download BusyBox Installer. Not BusyBox, but BusyBox Installer. They are two very different apps. Open the Installer and use it to install BusyBox version 1.19.3.
Now we need to add some rather critical script files. These scripts do the technical work of preparing the phone for the SuperCharger. Download the gscripts.zip and extract the folder inside to the root of your SD card.
Go back to the Market and download Gscript Lite. Open Gscript and hit Menu > Add Script > Load File > !Autostarts… > Save. This should add the !Autostarts script to your Gscript page. Tap the !Autostarts script in Gscript to run it. Allow root access. If all goes well, you should see a “successful installation” screen.
Exit the app and reboot the device.
This part applies to everyone. The V6 SuperCharger requires a couple files to be downloaded to the root of the SD card. You can find them here at the original XDA thread. Download section is marked in blue. Download all files and extract/move them to the root of the SD card.
Go to the Android Market and download Script Manager. Open the app and tap “Browse as root”. Grant SM superuser permisisons and hit “OK”. Now navigate to /sdcard or wherever you placed the file V6_SuperCharger_update8. Select that file and a box should appear.
The only option necessary to run the SuperCharger is root access. Tap the small root icon above “Su”. Hit run, grant SuperCharger root access in the pop-up, and hopefully everything works.
If all goes well you’ll be greated with a large text menu of 17 items. These items are options for customizing how your phone uses its RAM. The Aggressive options tend to cut down on multitasking (and thus speed up the phone). The Balanced options allow for more apps to run.
On the far right of every option is a set of numbers. These are the minfree values I mentioned earlier. Each app in Android system is assigned a minfree value. When the amount of free RAM drops beneath that app’s value, the app is killed. So, higher values mean less multitasking which means a faster phone.
To select a general plan for RAM, type in the number of the option you want to pick. Be sure to reboot after the first time using the V6 SuperCharger. After that, there’s no need to reboot between changes to the RAM settings.
The custom plan settings are nice, but what’s even nicer is the option to set exactly what memory values you want. With the Cust-OOMizer, you can input exact minfree values. We tried out a setup which basically killed anything other than the last two apps open.
The results were impressive. Our settings were especially useful for running high-end games like the Nintendo 64 emulator and Dead Space for Android.
Some users, especially those on older versions of Android like Froyo, have issues with the home screen launcher redrawing itself. While some users claim this can be fixed simply by switching launchers, SuperCharger has an option to fix that.
There is an option to “lock in” the home screen. This may cause some lag, but it ends those persistent launcher restarts. If this is an issue on your phone, give it a shot.
All in all, the V6 SuperCharger is a stellar piece of ingenuity. The creator zeppelinrox has a page on Paypal where you can donate. I recommend doing so; he’s done some impressive work here.
Whether or not the trade-offs are really worth it depends on your phone usage. If you absolutely must have six high-performance apps open at all times, then the V6 SuperCharger isn’t for you. Everyone else should definitely give it a look. Installation can be a bear, but the results are absolutely worth it.