Blog Post

Time to flash a Galaxy Nexus custom ROM. Here’s why.

After using the stock Google Android(s goog) software on my Galaxy Nexus for two months, I’m getting antsy. Tuesday’s release of the Chrome beta for Android scratched my itch for something new, because it’s a great browser. And I’m having fun using Google Wallet to pay for purchases too. But now it’s time for a custom ROM to reinvigorate the Nexus experience!

This is one of the appeals of Android that people often overlook: total customization of an Android phone for the user interface, software functions, notifications and more. If you’re an iPhone(s aapl) user, the concept is similar to jailbreaking your handset and getting the iPhone to work the way you want it to. Tonight, I’ll be flashing my Galaxy Nexus with the latest custom ROM from Modaco; an enthusiast community run by Paul O’Brien.

I’ve used Paul’s ROMs on my Nexus One and Galaxy Nexus Tab 7 tablet dozens of times and while there’s no guarantee that everything works smoothly, Paul is always amenable to making fixes and improvements. So why would I want to do this to my Galaxy Nexus? There’s a number of examples of what I’ll be gaining on my smartphone:

These are just a few of the customized options or additions I’ll be gaining. Obviously, I like the phone as is; it’s the best Android handset I’ve used yet and Android 4.0 alone made it worth the purchase price. But I can make it better and more importantly, I can make it work the way I want to. And after a custom ROM, my personalized handset often runs faster and longer on a single charge.

It’s a win-win situation from my standpoint. And if it doesn’t work out, Google has the stock images handy for a quick way to revert back.

15 Responses to “Time to flash a Galaxy Nexus custom ROM. Here’s why.”

  1. Sorry for the late post. Thinking of purchasing the Nexus Galaxy. Can you tell me if it supports Wifi Tethering with Infrastructure mode (not Ad-hoc mode) out of the box or if I need to put on a custom ROM to get that ?

  2. itSeems

    Hi Kevin

    FYI. Contacts aren’t syncing from any of the three major social apps on Android 4.x.x. Not sure if you’ve reviewed the Android 4.x.x SDK documentation, but an Android update won’t automatically enable contacts sync. It’s up to each app developer to fix whether or not their apps will sync with Adnroid contacts.

  3. just driving by this article, but I don’t think the auto-rotate is a hardware problem, but an algorithm (to try to detect intentional versus unintentional tilt) or a slow sensor check in the OS or both.

  4. Jordan Elpern-Waxman

    Total n00b question: is there a single source for instructions for flashing a custom ROM from scratch? Every site I read seems to assume that you already know how to do most of the steps. Sure, I could figure this out (I’ve done it on an HTC Windows Mobile phone back in the day), but it’s so time consuming, not to mention the risk of having a Galaxy Nexus paperweight if you make a mistake.

  5. I bought my Galaxy Nexus with the intention of doing this at some stage, but I have to say, I haven’t felt the urge to do so just yet. It just does so many things *right* now, out of the box – storage isn’t a problem anymore, there’s no major feature gap that needs to be fixed, the look of the UI is pleasing, and performance is great. A lot of the “need” for rooting is gone, showing how the platform is maturing.

    That said, you don’t buy a Nexus device unless rooting and hacking appeal to you. It’s just that the whole wiping business is such a faff, when I’ve already “moved in”, so to speak…

    • Grellani, my experience with Android 4.0 on the GNex mirrors yours. I like to tinker, tweak and customize; especially if there’s some hope for any additional performance or battery life gains. Maybe I need a new hobby. ;)

  6. Joel Self

    A pretty simple, but potentially devastating vulnerability in the Google Wallet app has just been released so be careful. Either use full disk encryption or a real password unlock screen with USB debugging turned off. Otherwise if someone else gets a hold of your phone, cracking your Google Wallet PIN is trivial. Rooted phones are especially vulnerable. Here’s the details:

  7. I simply love the flexibility that Android has to offer. Yes, iOS offers a better experience, but who is to decide what is best experience for me. I need choices and I need them now. I gave up the iPhone about a year ago, and made my wife do the same. There are no words to describe how much she hated the HTC Android, though I simply loved it. When the 4s came out, I quickly bought one for her. After a few days I started hearing complaints like “I dont feel like texting anymore, now that I dont have swype”, “I miss the immediate access to the widgets”, and finally she said – “I guess, I had too high expectations from the iPhone”.

    • trob6969

      You say ios has a better experience but im scratching my head wondering how. Ios doesn’t support flash so you’re missing out on a lot of web content, and its much less functional than android. The only reason i can see you feeling that way is maybe because ios looks ‘prettier’.