After using the stock Google Android 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 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:
- The leaked update of Android 4.0.4 which hasn’t been pushed out yet to devices from Google but is reported to bring faster booting and an overall speed increase.
- Improvements to the device’s auto-brightness function.
- Faster device auto-rotation; good because it’s not as fast as I’d expect, given the hardware inside the Galaxy Nexus
- Facebook contact sync support; a feature that Google from Android pulled in early 2011.
- Eight different custom configurations for the Android button bar, which removed the Search button from phones with Android 4.0
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.