Moves like Jagger baby. And that’s not including derivative ROMs. So CM is a popular custom rom franchise. It’s not so much that it makes your phone better, rather if you’ve got an Android phone, to use a car analogy, if you want to drive stick shift, firing up CyanogenMOD gives your phone a manual transmission, capiche? So let’s not all start saying Google employees are slacking and a ragtag bunch of geeks are finishing the job for them. Different strokes for different folks, and you get many strokes from which to choose by going Android.

Seems a lot of consumers out there like to drive their phone with a stick shift as the team behind CM which is surrounded by a large community of informal contributors typically found on IRC, XDA, the CM forums and everywhere else pretty much, is supporting a couple hundred devices with the devices whose users don’t mind it phoning home to report its existence (not mandatory) striking the 500K mark. Counting those who opted out of the anonymous reporting plus custom roms based on CM plus other custom roms, who the hell knows how many, but a lot. Enough that I’d call it almost a mainstream activity to be taken seriously by the man, running custom Android roms.

What’s interesting to me is that one out of three of those installations are not of an official release or even a release candidate but of a nightly or a kang release, the kind of software that you’re warned extra aggressively to use at your own risk and that it is unstable, buggy etc, the ones you have to google a little harder to track down. It’s interesting because that’s a high ratio and it testifies to the widespread thirst of consumers to have the absolute latest bleeding edge software on their phone and I would submit that the same mentality is present when it comes to buying phones for the people who can afford the tip-top shelf phone available. Maybe Motorola with their stupid locked bootloaders should take note.

Doug Simmons


  1. Whether you like to agree or not Mr. Simmons, you’ve discovered that 500K+ people are not satisfied with their Android phones. The reason that people flash roms is because of some deficiency of their existing one. This is why I kept flashing my old Windows Mobiles and that is why I bit the bullet with WP7 even though they took the file system away. Apple proved that it works well when secured.

  2. @Ali: I have to disagree with ya there partner. Most of the folks that install custom rom’s on their Android devices, do so because they have the intelligence to do so and the the burning desire to find out what living on the bleeding edge is like. They do not want to have to wait for Apple or MS to spoon feed them bits and pieces of the good stuff when they see fit. They would rather take matters into their own hands and see for themselves just how far their little devices can be pushed before they become totally borked or blow up in their hand.

    That’s what the Android revolution is about, community effort in making our devices into something other than what you or Joe are carrying around from MS or Apple, or even the stock trim Android devices that we get from the manufacturer. If you want a phone that “just works” without having to tinker with it any at all, a Razor would probably suit most peoples needs. But if you want a smart phone that smart people can do whatever they want with, then Android is the way to go baby!

  3. Naturally I’ll be disagreeing with you too Ali. When I wrote this, I went through every WP device forum on XDA and other related forums to compile what has and has not been accomplished by that crowd and along the way I saw, and was not surprised to see, how aggressive the interest and attempts to make progress were in terms of getting to the point of flashing roms. Possibly with exception to the Blackberry, this appears to be a universal consumer desire whether or not the thing is somehow deficient or unsatisfactory.

    Also, considering that there are almost 600K Android activations a day, this number isn’t exactly huge enough to indicate pervasive brokenness and whatever across Android. If that were true relative to other platforms, I’d love to hear you offer a solid explanation to account for there being a half a million new Android phones activated each day. It’s hard to make that argument simply by saying because Google gives it away and because there aren’t hardware restrictions (there are actually, but whatever). If a product is as you describe, how can it destroy the competition so dramatically and swiftly?

    On the other hand, you could make the (dumb) argument that the only good things about Android which are responsible for its success is the things about it for which Microsoft claims to hold legitimate patents which is why Android is their moneymaker and not their superior WP platform.

    Regarding “secured,” do you mean the WP devices’ encrypted bootloaders safeguarding whatever restrictions they have like tethering and file management? Are you aware that with Android unlocking your bootloader and installing file managers and rooting your phone are not all mandatory things, right? Opt-in. It’s one of those choice things, Google’s kind of big on that. Who knows, maybe they’re onto something.

    Tl;dr, HiTekRedneck’s right, I’m right which leaves you in another category.

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