CyanogenMod founder Steve Kondik recently made a surprising announcement. His creation, favored custom ROM of millions, was going legitimate. Kondik and several other developers, including Koushik Dutta, founded Cyanogen, Inc. Something that began as a side project is becoming a multi-million dollar Silicon Valley startup. A lot of changes are coming to CyanogenMod, and the user base isn’t happy with all of them. How will this affect the ROM? Will we still get to access to the great custom firmware we’ve come to enjoy? How aggressively will the company monetize its creations? Kondik and company recently took to social media
There was a great discussion on reddit recently about great features only available in certain custom ROMs. In case you missed it, a custom ROM is a special version of Android that you can install on your phone. I’ve explained them at length before as part of our beginner’s guide to custom ROMs. I collected a few features from that thread and from my experience with custom ROMs. If you’re up for digging into recovery mode and flashable zips, you can install some software with really cool features that aren’t available anywhere else. Custom ROMs are great for adding extra
In the time since buying Galaxy S4, I haven’t done anything to it. The S4 remains as virginal as the day I took it out of the box, plus a new launcher and keyboard. It still runs TouchWiz on the stock ROM. I’ve swapped out only a few other stock apps. It’s not even rooted yet. The truth is, I’m done with modding. After years of tinkering, I don’t feel like my new S4 even needs to be rooted. And this is coming from a guy who has rooted or jailbroken everything back the first-generation iPod Touch. For the first time in Android, I don’t need root.
It never quite made headlines, but Google left something interesting in the official changelog for Android 4.3. The /system folder is mounted as “nosuid” and “zygote processes” are unable to run setuid binaries. This means nothing to us laymen, but it has critical implications for the future of rooting on Android. These changes effectively kill every root app except SuperSU. The new setup in Android 4.3 blocks a common way developers used to get root access before. “This is a pretty nasty change,” wrote developer Koushik Dutta. There is no doubt they’ll find a way to root Android again. Android is open-source, and we’ve seen more impressive feats in the past.
On Wednesday, August 7, Jean-Baptiste Quéru announced his retirement as the AOSP maintainer. A series of unfortunate decisions outside his control so frustrated him that he felt he had no choice, but to step down from the position of maintainer. The news had been several months in the making but still came as a shock to the Android community. The man colloquially know as JBQ has done great work in the past. Without him, our experience (especially on custom ROMs) would be much worse. The Descent Quéru works at Google. As a maintainer of the Android Open Source Project, he builds
From the introduction of the very first Google-branded phone, the T-Mobile G1, Android has heavily relied on buttons for navigation. Even more so than iOS (which limits itself to a power button, volume keys, and home button), the open-source OS from Mountain View likes its softkeys and hardware pressables. Put it this way- when HTC released the One with only two hardware buttons for navigation, people complained. A lot. However, the announcement of Ubuntu Phone has popularized a different way of doing things. It offers navigation entirely through swipes and gesture rather than by buttons. Between that and a radical
Producing nonstop hits is hard for anybody not named Arcade Fire. Consistently putting out innovative, game-changing creations is just difficult. There’s only so much room for change. Sometimes you might not even want to change. You see this kind of thing in phones a lot. Apple tends to stick to a tick-tock model that saves the innovation for models without an “S” in the name. These days, it looks like Samsung is doing the same. The Galaxy S4 is definitely evolutionary rather than revolutionary in the same way as its predecessor. The Korean manufacturer knows it struck gold with the
CyanogenMod is a popular custom ROM for a lot of reasons. There’s the AOSP base, stock Android stylings, availability on a wide array of devices, and deep customization options. We install CM on our phones as a rule. It’s just the best way to experience Android on a non-Nexus device. You can’t beat the combination of Holo, features, and faster updates than the carriers are interested in doing. There’s also the added benefit of security. CyanogenMod is a product of a community of loyal Android developers. It’s free and open source. You don’t have to worry about little surprises like
When we last showed you how to root the Samsung Galaxy S4, it was the first (and a critically important) step in the process of taking control of your phone. Rooting cedes control to every part of the phone, save one. The recovery. In order to install a custom ROM, save a nandroid backup for emergencies, or flash zip modification files, you need a custom recovery built by the Android enthusiast community. A custom recovery is critically important for serious hacking. Without it, you’ll be staying on the stock TouchWiz ROM for a long time. Thankfully, taking control of recovery
Android is a great system that is unfortunately plagued with a couple rather irritating flaws. One particular issue is rather noticeable as soon as you start Google Maps: the sketchy GPS. The Android navigating system is unreliable and glitchy at times. We have often experienced issues with the GPS being unable to locate the phone in question. It isn’t much use if it can’t find you. Thankfully, there are ways to fix the problem. The perpetual upside of Android is its openness to modification and third-party solutions. Once again, our good friends over at XDA Developers have you covered with
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