Whether you’re new to Android phones or an experienced tinkerer, chances are that you’ve heard some terms flying around which you may or may not know the meaning of, well fear not, we’re going to go through all the different terms out there, what they mean and what you should be careful of as well as the benefits and losses of going down this path of the so called “full Android Experience”.
Before we do that however, let’s talk about what exactly a custom ROM does.
A custom Android ROM is basically a clean install of Android on your mobile, think of it as a laptop you buy from say, HP, if it comes pre-installed with Windows it’s going to have all the various pieces of software which HP considers useful, but everyone who’s worked with computers knows that these different software actually significantly affect the performance of your computer, so a clean Windows install is recommended to wipe all of these things away.
Android custom ROMs do the same, they’re nothing more than a fresh installation of Android on your phone, which is essentially a computer, getting rid of all the applications which carriers add to your phone, essentially slowing it down in the long run.
Here’s where things get interesting, since many carriers around the world as well as a handful of manufacturers refuse to develop the latest Android updates for devices which aren’t considered “flagships” or “money making phones”, they abandon the software development process.
On the other hand, they also take quite a long while to release the update, which is acceptable as they have to weed out all the bugs and glitches before releasing the update to hundreds of thousands of people at the same time, nothing wrong so long as they release a stable update, yet most manufacturers have had the habit to abandon devices and stop all software development for them, unfortunately for the users, this leads to them, not getting the latest Android version on time, in this case, that’s Marshmallow.
The folks over at XDA-Developers (they’ve got pretty much all the highest-tier yet unofficial development projects going on) have compiled a list for us, it can be found over here, you can easily go through it and find the Marshmallow update for the phone you’re looking for, do take note that this requires some form of technical skills to complete, or just the ability to follow the various tutorials you find online, step-by-step, breath-by-breath.
Things to Know
At the end of the day, all of these Custom ROMs out there are unofficial, that means they’re not supported by your manufacturer, nor your carrier and not even your warranty provider, so if your phone stops working because of this process, chances are that no one except the internet is going to help you.
On the other hand, Custom ROMs are also riddled with bugs and features that are cut out, for example, the various JellyBean custom ROMs for the HTC EVO 3D were incompatible with the 3D cameras as well as the 3D screen, purely because of a lack of drivers, essentially removing a key feature of the device itself.
So you should do your research before you flash yourself a Custom ROM, because unlike official updates from your manufacturers like Samsung, HTC and LG, no one’s going to hold responsibility for anything that goes wrong during the process.
Custom ROMs also aren’t perfectly optimized, there’s a reason not everyone jumps the boat and opts in for a Custom ROM everytime the opportunity presents itself, they have the habit of randomly crashing whereas an Official ROM will always be optimized with next to know bugs or glitches in everyday use.