Cyanogen Mod is basically a stripped down, modded and (supposedly) streamlined version of Google’s latest Android OS for smartphones. It comes with a lot of neat features that the default version of Android does not, such as the ability to specify brightness levels of the screen corresponding to the ambient light levels picked up by the light sensor on the device. It also has a distinct cyan color applied across the UI. There are loads of other features which CM7’s website introduces and I have stumbled across many undocumented and potentially scary ones as well. The software only works on select Android devices. It may also be more or less difficult to install, depending on the device. This is due to the fact that you must unlock the phone’s bootloader to install CM7 on the device which on my device (Nexus S 4G) was actually fairly simple but could be complicated on others. Even on the NS4G it wasn’t a simple click and go process, it took a considerable amount of researching and a bit of installing/configuring before it was all ready to go.
I wont go into detail on how to install it or anything like that. CM has fairly detailed wiki’s on this and a Google search will point you in the right path for your specific device. I’m also assuming that anyone still reading and interested in/capable of installing CM7 has either already done so or is capable of reading CM’s wiki/forums or Google (SDX/XDA Developers) for information. I am hardly an expert in this area, especially for devices other than my own. All that I really intend to do in the rest of this post is give my views on CM7 itself –what do I think of the features, or lack thereof?
As I said, I have limited experience with it so far. I only have a few comments and complaints and I have not decided whether I regret flashing CM7 (not that it would be difficult to go back). There are a plethora of customizable options in CM7 which I find impressive. I mentioned this above, but being able to set your own brightness levels for the device based on environmental lighting situations is the hands-down best feature so far. I hate how bright Samsung thinks my device needs to be when in a dark room. I can finally comfortably use my NS4G at night without burning my retinas.
I have not used my phone extensively today but I have played some music, browsed the web a bit and read my e-mails and I’m still sitting comfortably at 44% battery, having been unplugged for about 16 hours now. This is promising but could be an anomaly. I will see how it holds up during normal and more extensive use as time goes on. The main reason my phone dies quickly is because of inadequate signal in my office and classes and I did not really get a chance to test the phone under those circumstances yet.
I have noticed that little features are missing or not as good or as fluid as stock Android was. Scrolling though menu items and apps is a big one here. ADW Launcher which takes over as the main home screen in CM7 seems a little more sluggish and less appealing than stock Gingerbread. Another disappointing aspect is that I cannot place a call directly from the missed calls screen. Stock Android has a button next to any missed callers so that you can immediately place a call where as CM7 requires you to long press the contact and select “Call.”
I will add more as I find it…