Posted by:Shyam Sundar March 29th, 2011

You can make use of the openness of the Android operating system by replacing the default Android OS on your phone with a custom ROM. Its a bit like choosing the right distribution of Linux: each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. What you choose depends on your priorities and how you want to use your phone/tablet.

Two reasons: OS Upgrades and Cool Apps

Carriers have been dragging their feet in upgrading phone OS’s: 90% of Android phones are still running versions 2.1 & 2.2. One good reason to install a custom ROM is to port the latest version of Android to your device. You would be voiding the warranty, but gaining a whole lot of cool features in the process.

The second reason to install a custom ROM is to install apps that were unavailable on the original distribution. Vendors differentiate based on exclusive apps: G1 devices have a different set compared to HTC and so on. ROMs can bring those exclusive apps together for you.

Get started

To get started, you will need to root your phone. There are one-click rooting apps available that will first backup your existing OS before installing the new one. PCWorld has an excellent FAQ on rooting Android phones. Once you reboot, just point it to the location of the ROM you downloaded and you are all set! You can start by checking out the cyanogen mod – one of the most popular and stable ROMs.

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