Custom ROM

For many of us, part of the fun of having an Android phone is yanking off the intended software and putting a community-built custom build into the ROM. Sometimes, it's almost necessary to fix a few "broken" things the OEM is dragging their feet on (hello, T-Mobile G2X!), but more often than not it's done either to add features, take away features, or because it's a whole bucket of awesome inside of big box of coolness -- in other words, fun as hell.

Of course, the first thing we all look at when cruising for the next custom ROM we're going to flash is the "not working" list. It often takes time to get all the features of a device working with custom software, and usually the first few releases of a ROM will have at least a couple things not working. It's not necessarily a ding on the devs building the software, OEMs aren't very keen on sharing their secrets and code -- even when required to under the license they agreed to before using it. That's why we see things like camera issues, Bluetooth wonkyness, and various sensors not playing nicely until they are tickled into submission. We all have a cut-off point where we say "I don't need any of that stuff right now, and I wanna try this" and we flash it. Don't deny it, you have that line just like the rest of us do.

But that's not the sort of broken stuff we're talking about. There will always be some weird app issues that the developer didn't see. Maybe he (or she) doesn't use a particular app or just hasn't tried it yet. Those broken things aren't listed in the "what's not working" list. But they're still there, will always be there, and eventually you will run into one of them.

I'm mentioning this because of the recent boom of Jelly Bean ROMs being built for almost every device. Without pointing out anyone in particular, I saw a thread on an Internet forum about Google Now not working on the Galaxy Nexus. The person with the issue asked for help, and quite a few people were working with him, trying things and doing the usual voodoo ritual that often fixes broken stuff. About 20 posts (and a day) later it turns out that the fellow had a custom built 4.1.1 ROM running on his Sprint Galaxy Nexus. Everyone with that particular ROM had a busted Google Now app, and nothing short of editing the ROM was ever going to fix it. Rather than realizing this, the fellow with the issue quickly proclaimed that Android sucks and he hated this f&*@$!ing phone.

Now, to you, Android might suck. To over a million of folks a day buying Android phones, the phones are just fine. In either case, Google and the Android team had little to do with it this time around. We like to flash our phones. We need to realize that we often break things when we do it. Enjoy your phone, hack the living crap out of it, but don't be surprised (or act indignant) when random things are broken.