Sapphire custom ROM running on Droid X

No, that wasn't a typo -- the Droid X, despite the manufacturer's best efforts, has been spied running a custom ROM, namely the Sapphire AOSP 2.2 ROM (see the Sapphire team's post here in the forums).  We love seeing the various hacking and independent development projects on all Android phones, but this one is a bit extra special since the Droid X was supposedly the unhackable phone.  Next I imagine we'll see dogs and cats living together and all sorts of madness!

Check out the video after the break of the big bad X booting up to AOSP glory.  [via @MennoMobile]

YouTube link for mobile viewing

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • First!
  • Really? Still in Middle School?
  • Somehow, the droid x vs iphone 4 got a matchup already. And the results are just what you expected.
  • Most effective use of an Evanescence song ever.
  • So... Does this include booting a custom kernel? No? I thought so. It's not a goddamned custom ROM... probably just a customized version of one of Moto's official builds, along with all their bugs.
  • It's a start. Remember when the Droid was first rooted and the first roms came out? It take a bit longer for kernals to really develop into something (heck, when I first installed sholes mod most kernals were more unstable than the stock one anyway) Heck, most roms back there were just customized versions of the official builds since very few developers (until recently) made AOSP Roms for Droid line devices. The development community takes time to grow. Unless you have some custom kernals to contribute to the Droid X, maybe you should save the bitterness for something else?
  • It all has to start somewhere. Get the stick out of your ass and give some respect to the first people able to take advantage of Koush's great work on the recovery. Things will only get better for DX users from here on out.
  • Someone should stick a banana up your ass.
  • 1.) it is a custom rom. it was built from AOSP source and no it wasn't easy. if you want to see the code modifications and device setup just check my github: 2.) yes the bootloader is still locked and hence there is no custom kernel, but that does not hinder it being a custom ROM. the kernel is only a small portion of the custom software suite that is often included with ROMs, but just because there is no custom kernel does not hinder one from compiling all of the other features and software for the phone 3.) the proprietary files are taken from the SBF of moto's froyo 2.3.9 build. however there are only a small number of files that are included directly from that while the rest are built from source. if you want a list go to my github under the device setup for motorola shadow. In short, yes this is built from AOSP source, and it should be considered a custom rom without a custom kernel.
  • Still patiently waiting to be able to get into some real Android on my DX
  • I almost fell asleep during this article. *Yahhhwn...
  • *wipes tears* that was beautiful, even though I have an incredible amazing to see a phone, from a company that said no, say yes
  • When can I get this..? Dx 2.2 rooted
  • Wait is this for the Droid or DX?
  • X. It's in the title.
  • The moment I heard that piano intro starting up I lowered the volume on my phone. I despise evanescence. Lol
  • Hey, my dog and cat live together. :)
  • What the hell is sapphire ??? What's the big deal ?
  • just wondering if the rom community is seeing more participation from newer phones or phones that have not made it onto update lists? I have the X and will most likely keep it well past Motorola or VZW software support and know that I for one will be looking to these guys once gingerbread is released and will wait and see what Moto and VZW do with it for us if anything. After that it will be ROM city for me, until I may just stick with what they give me, maybe not. it is nice to know your options. even better to know that these guys are working hard to crack it.Thanks guys
  • as someone who ghostbusters is one of his favorite movies...i appreciate the ghostbusters reference
  • Evanescence makes my ears bleed.
  • Does it matter that this appears to be a dev device?
  • You people whine too much. Stop bitching about how it's not a rom, and how Evanescence sucks, and just be excited for some development with the Droid X! This is the phone no one could crack, and here we are finding ways around it. As for Gingerbread, I'm pretty sure all the high-end phones running android (basically all of the phones with a 1ghz processor) will at least make it to Gingerbread before they get cut off, and even after that, I'm sure we'll be seeing more for the droid X/2/inc. than any of the other android phones on the market. My moment came out AFTER the droid, and isn't getting 2.2, even though the droid did. Calm yourselves. It will happen, we just have to be patient. Wondering why the X was locked down still? Maybe to keep n00bs from bricking their phones and returning it. There seem to be a lot of them around, jumping into programming before they know what it does.
  • Running Sapphire on my Droid currently. Love it, keep up the good work!
  • "Next I imagine we'll see dogs and cats living together and all sorts of madness!" -- haha, I love the comedy in the articles. :) Thanks for the laugh guys.
  • Hey I ordered my droid X yesterday 8/28 at about 8 pm. When will i get it if its on back order till September 13th?
  • Let's get some Superuser action on the DX!! (Evanescense sux.) {{^_^}}
  • the kernel is the MAIN part of a ROM. it controls memory management, process and task management, and disk management. it's like saying a car is still a car without an engine, that a missing engine doesn't make it any less of a car. if you have to wait for motorola to release official builds or get leaks before you can change a kernel, then you don't have a custom rom. you have a heavily modified system that's still based on the kernels that Motorola wants you to have. the same thing that people with the Milestone have. There is ZERO difference between this and what the Milestone people have. the progress being made with the X is great (although it's been around since the Milestone and only seems so quick and amazing because you're just using all the progress made with the Milestone to make it look like Android devs are amazing beasts), but this is NOT a custom ROM, sorry.
  • it interests me that you are saying all of the custom code changes in framework and whatnot do not merit any feeling of customization simply due to the lack of a "custom kernel" as you say. Well I have a few points to make. 1) yes the kernel is important and without it the system software would not run, but do not act like the kernel is all you need. A custom kernel with no software for it to run is just as useless as custom software with no kernel to run it. They are both equally important if you want to have any semblence of a useful device. To use your analogy, a car engine sitting on a slab of concrete without the rest of the car is of little use. 2) if you're basing "custom" status on a kernel alone, then you're only considering a tiny subset of features actually important. These are minor things like cpufreq, tun/tap, extra filesystem support, etc. If people only ever modified their kernel you wouldn't see a whole lot of difference between stock and what you consider "custom" 3) all of the software on the system is built from AOSP (minus a handful of proprietaries) so that things like blur are absent. Why this doesn't merit being called a custom rom is beyond me. A heavily modified system is what the users see and where features are implemented. Very little kernel modification is ever done even if it is possible (see point 2). Yes this is building off of all of the work that was done on milestone, and yes it does use the same principles, however I don't see how that's a reason to belittle the work being done. I never tried to claim that this is amazing or great, I simply had a video posted so people could see my progress. I don't see how that warrents such a backlash over kernel vs system
  • Is overclocking included yet? We had it on 2.1, but so far i haven't seen it on 2.2 Has that been addressed also? Thanks for your work.
  • I'm not belittling it at all. I already stated that the progress on the X is great. But, as you have stated, it's exactly what's been done with the Milestone. True customization means you can customize every part of a system, not just parts that someone else (Motorola, Google, Verizon) allows you to (yes, ALLOWS you to). The "hacks" that are being done are mostly cosmetic things that can be done on any phone once root is acquired (a simple process, and you know that). Now on to your points: 1) Your right. A car engine, without a car is useless. Same way a car without an engine is useless. It's a whole. Which is my point. A "custom" ROM without a custom kernel is not a custom ROM. If you can only "hack" what Motorola, Google, and Verizon allows you to hack, then you have not reached true customization. You can make all the cosmetic changes you want, but you are at the mercy of Motorola until they decide they want you to have a new kernel. This is not a ROM, it's an overglorified theme, because you and I both know, most of the changes are cosmetic and not functional/structural changes. 2 and 3) Calling a kernel a "minor" part of a whole is a bold statement. As a dev, I'm surprised you said that. A kernel manages almost everything on the system, it is hardly a minor thing. When kernel changes are implemented they're implemented for security, stability and functionality, not just so people can say "WOOOT!!! New kernel, yeah!!!" If you can't change your kernel when you want, you're missing out on features that other users (such as Droid 1 users) have by simply applying a true custom ROM with a custom kernel. I understand that you worked hard on this, and that's why you're so proud of it, but it's not a custom ROM because it's missing probably the most important part of a ROM, and that's the kernel, not the software. You know this, cvpcs, so why deny it? I wasn't trying to imply that you said this is amazing and awesome, I was simply stating that we've seen this already. With the Milestone. You've simply done what was done on the Milestone to the Droid X. And I'm sure if you try to do it on the Droid 2, you'll be able to do that too. Or on any other locked bootloader phone that Verizon comes out with. The point is, you're not doing anything spectacular. Root can be acquired in less than 2 hours on any phone (And we know people start going crazy over that too, why I don't know). Putting a custom recovery on won't take long anymore either, because of all the work done on the Milestone. But custom ROMs (see custom kernels) will never happen unless Motorola wants it to happen. That's just what it is. Sorry to rain on the parade, but just making sure everyone understands exactly what is happening here.
  • I think you're playing with semantics here and belittling the work of some of the devs who have been working hard to give customizations on the X. First off, I bet that Verizon and Motorola don't even want us to have root access or to be able to load custom ROMs (and yes, I will call them that even if they don't use a custom kernel, as the software and OS is completely different and not just a launcher or something). This gives the X community the ability to experience the tweaks and enhancements of Saphire, and later Cyanogen or other mods. I'm surprised to hear you say, as a developer, that "all you need is root" to get this. That is not true. If all you needed was root, it would have been done a month ago. The custom recovery and dual-boot took time to develop and put in place. It took Milestone months to get here. X is already here and it isn't the exact same as the milestone (although it is similar). There are other options out there to allow for a custom Kernel, and with the Milestone work, and the devs in the U.S. that are now working on it, we may very well see custom Kernels soon. In my mind, however, custom kernels are not really necessary until Moto/Verizon stop supporting the device. I would be happy to run custom ROMS on the 2.2 kernel and then the 3.0 kernel of Android, as long as I kept seeing the benefits of the Android kernel development. Stop belittling the hard work of these devs. It's not ideal, but tt's going to give most people 95% of what they want anyway, so what is the harm? Should they just stop, and say "oh well" and leave all Droid X users to PhilBlur with maybe Launcher Pro or ADW? Come on!
  • Again, these are all cosmetic tweaks. Change my notification bar color! Run a script to "free" MBs, Make the date disappear from the notification bar! These things are great, yes, but serve no functional or structural purpose. It's like saying you added a theme to Windows XP and now claim you're running Windows 7. It's simply not the case. It took the Milestone months to get here. X is already here. Think about what you just said. The reason the X "is already here" is because of the work done by the Milestone crew. You think that if they didn't have the Milestone "hacks" to base a foundation on, they'd have this in less than a month? Please, stop kidding yourself. Milestone users themselves will tell you of their frustration of not being able to load a custom kernel. That's the holy grail of Custom ROM-ness. Not changing colors and icons. You say you'd be happy running "custom" ROMs on the 2.2 kernel; the truth of the matter is you don't have a choice, and you'll never have a choice because Motorola dictates what kernel you run on. The bootloader will NEVER be cracked. No one is belittling anyone. I just don't think it's as big a deal as others think. The accelerated progress on the X is due solely to the work done on the Milestone. Please don't try to convince me that out of nowhere, Android devs became super beasts and made the X into their play toy. Sorry, no. They used the Milestone progress and applied it here. Great job cvpcs, and I commend you. That's all.
  • Definition of BELITTLE
    1: to speak slightingly of : disparage
    2: to cause (a person or thing) to seem little or less Belittling someone's work and then saying "oh, but I'm totally not belittling you, dude" doesn't work. That's a lot like this: Notarom, you're a pompous ass. But it's all good man, thoughtful comments! That's all.
  • What are you so mad about? Calm down. I'm saying facts, you're getting angry. This is not a custom ROM, no matter how badly you want it to be. It's just a stock car with decals all over it, and a huge exhaust and spoiler. You, and all other DroidX users, have to wait to get 2.2 on your phone. And when Gingerbread comes out, you and all other DroidX users have to wait for Motorola to allow you to get that too. You're running a glorified theme, kid. Sorry to burst your bubble.
  • "Next I imagine we'll see dogs and cats living together and all sorts of mass hysteria!" Fixed that for you.
  • +1. That's all this is really. Mass Hysteria.
  • The kernel that moto put out in the 2.2 leak will suffice running a stripped down 2.2 rom...true the OC will have to be accomplished via some scripting...the bottom line is...OC will work...wifi tether will work...blur will be completely gone and all framework will be themed...what else would you like the rom to do "Notarom"?
  • Ohh, and memory management can be controlled via an app as well...once rooted.
  • Not surprised the naysayers are coming out of the woodwork trying to belittle the progress being made. Where there's a will there's a way.
  • cvpcs does a great job with what he is given to work with. sure maybe this isnt a "complete custom rom" but this is about as good as we have due to what has been given to us from motorola. he's taken it about as far as he can, sure its no customization like the original droid but obviously people like his work if it gets posted on this site. sure the car is worthless without the engine and visa versa but take that car with the engine that cant be worked on and put some rims on it, a paint job, some new customized seats, add navigation and a kick ass sound system with some aftermarket exhaust and i want to drive that over a stock car without it. sure they have the same horsepower but this one looks and feels a lot better.
  • So you're admitting this is nothing more then an overglorified theme, right? The stock car with a huge spoiler, and an awesome paint job and 40 inch rims, is what's known as a ricer. Looks flashy, but there's nothing under the hood. Same deal here.
  • I heard that modifying your car is irrelevant unless you swap the motor to a pure racing style motor. Things like brakes, suspension, etc are just for looks and NONE of it matter unless you swap out your motor. You can make something faster with the stock kernel (look at the DINC, quite a few ROMs use the stock kernel). If that weren't the case, why is my DINC faster with Virtuous 2.6 than with SkyRaider while using the EXACT SAME kernel (KK #4 currently)? Better quad/linpack scores and better overall feel. I want a custom kernel too, but it's MORE important to me to have a ROM that has the features I want and the customization options I am looking for. I'm willing to wager you are the guy who will use some garbage ROM just to get better quad scores but never looks at the overall performance. When you start developing ANYTHING for ANY platform, you can have some say so on what is and what isn't. Until then, you are just an underglorified armchair quarterback. Good job guys, I'll look forward to your ROM when it's released if I can find my DX.
  • "sure maybe this isnt a "complete custom rom" but this is about as good as we have due to what has been given to us from motorola." That's exactly what I'm saying. Don't understand why everyone is getting upset at me about it. This is as good as it's going to get because motorola decides what they give you. Android devs can create "custom" ROMs all they want, but the truth is Motorola decides what you get. Couldn't have said it better myself.
  • Buy a real phone }:>~