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Summary:

What was once only in the realm of network operators is now a feature for custom ROM Android developers. OTA Update Center allows programmers to sent over the air updates to Android device owners that use their software builds. For users, and devs, this is fantastic.

ota-custom-rom

If you’ve ever installed and then updated custom software that runs an Android phone, you’ll know that while the process is relatively simple, it’s not the most efficient. In order to add new updates to the software, you typically have to re-install the entire operating system on the phone, which is time-consuming. Imagine if there was a better way? Turns out there is and it’s called the OTA Update Center.

This site, found by The Verge, acts as a library for custom ROM developers to store their software as the files are all hosted on the OTA Update Center servers. In turn, this allows developers to push changes and updates to users directly over the air through the OTA Update Center software. Think of it as a similar process to how Google pushes Android updates directly to Nexus phones and tablets: The concept is the same and simplifies the experience for both developers and Android users.

The free service supports multiple software actions for developers to take:

  • Add and remove OTA Updates in a centralised database.
  • Check for updates on boot of devices.
  • Check for updates manually when the person wants to.
  • Download the rom and flash it directly.
  • Download the rom without flashing.
  • Wipe data and or cache/dalvik before flashing the update.

Essentially, developers using OTA Update Center gain the same type of infrastructure that Google, network operators and handset makers have at their disposal: A seamless, simple way to update phones running their Android software.

From a user perspective, I find this to be a welcome addition to the Android universe. I’ve flashed dozens of custom ROMs on my phones and tablets and while it’s not a difficult activity, checking for updates and then applying them can be a pain. With OTA Update Center — assuming developers get on board — the entire process becomes a time saver and better way to check for updates.

  1. Dominick C DeVito Thursday, August 9, 2012

    W O W

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  2. This is a huge boon to the hackers community. The lack of any clear path for automated security updates has kept me from experimenting with custom ROMs to date.

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    1. Agreed! I wonder if some traditional mainstream consumers will actually consider custom ROMs as a result. Probably not in large numbers, but some could be swayed, I think.

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      1. i am not sure custom roms for the masses is a good idea.

        i own a small cell phone stores. lately i get quite a lot of requests for custom rom installs. these people want to pay me to install for them, but than they are not prepared for what they receive. often they have no understanding of what they are getting(even after i explain.) many think it wil magically allow them to bypass tether charges/data overages others think the regular market becomes full of free pirate apps. many more have no idea what to expect but they are bringing in a phone for one of there children who has seen that the ‘cool kids at school’ all have custom ROM with elaborate theme on there phones.

        when these people come i usually suggest that if they are not going to install it themselves a custom ROM is probably no for them.

        even without the custom rom though i have noticed a flood of people recently who want to drop of android phones to be ‘tricked out/’ these are mostly very recent smartphone buyers who want fancy live wallpapers, ringtones for different callers and other theme changes but do not want to do even the simplest things such as sign into there own google account(they want me to make one for them.) there is often overlap between these people and those requesting custom ROMS.

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  3. Are there any figures for how many Android users are using custom ROMs?

    RIM ought to launch a skunkworks effort to put out a custom Android ROM with RIM’s unified inbox, BBM and secure back end.

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  4. Roshan Shrestha Thursday, August 9, 2012

    Doesn’t ROM Manager premium (by the same developer of Clockwork Mod) do something similar? It has a “Check for update” feature, although the user has to check for updates manually.

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    1. Yes, it’s similar but the files aren’t centrally hosted (that I know of) and it does require the manual update check.

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  5. Its a nice post. It keeps users constantly focus until the end of the post.

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