Nov 15 2011

CyanogenMod: because Android vendors suck

Published by at 11:52 am under Android

If you’ve got an iPhone, keep right on scrollin’. This will not apply to you at all. Windows Phone 7, too (or whatever they’re calling it). Or a BlackBerry (hahahahaha). Or a dumbphone – Okay, basically, this only applies to you if you have an Android phone. Looking around campus, many, many of you do, so this should apply to you.

Look at this handy little chart:

And, like with so much of what they release into the wild, Google doesn't care

Basically what this says is that, for many models representing the fragmented Android-phone ecosystem (kind of reminds of you the PC market, doesn’t it?), a lot of them are actually released a version or two behind what Google puts out there. That’s like a PC vendor still selling brand-new computers pre-installed with Windows XP. These things just aren’t done, am I right? Fine, maybe you got one of the newer ones, or something not on this list. Maybe you’re current. But look at this chart: HTC, Samsung, Motorola, LG – these are all major vendors, and chances are if you’ve got an Android phone, you got one from them. I don’t know about you, but this chart tells me that these companies want you to buy a new phone more than they want you to be happy with your current phone.

“But Alan,” you say, as you would be right to do – “I don’t care which version I have. I can talk and text and play Angry Birds and look at Facebook all day with no problems.” And in a world where Android was safe, you wouldn’t have to care. But here’s the thing: no, wait. Just go ahead and Google “Android malware.” Versions of Android are released very definitely not-perfect. It’s okay – nothing’s perfect. But as time goes by, certain inherent flaws in the architecture of Android become apparent – an exploit here, a weakness there. They’re found and fixed – in the next version. The version HTC and T-Mobile won’t send out for your phone. So you’re screwed. If your phone gets hacked, you’re out of luck. Too bad, so sad, buy another phone from us!

So what’s a starving student to do? Buy an iPhone? Well, there’s nothing wrong with your phone’s hardware, right? And do you have the money to spend on buying an iPhone and changing your plan? I submit that, since you’re in college, you do not. Enter CyanogenMod.

From their website:

CyanogenMod is an aftermarket firmware for a number of cell phones based on the open-source Android operating system. It offers features not found in the official Android based firmwares of vendors of these cell phones.

What this means for you: If you have any device on this list, you’re good to go. Click on it, then click on the wiki link and your journey begins.

What if your phone is not on the list? They’re working on it. CyanogenMod is still supporting the very first Android phone, the HTC Dream (you might remember it as the T-Mobile G1), so that tells me that yours is coming.

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