The Android Experience – so far

Almost 2 months now that I’ve purchased the Samsung Galaxy S, my first personally owned touchscreen handset powered with the Android OS, and so far the experience has been nothing short of fun. I’ve been really making it work like any other phone that I do, rigorously and then suddenly just letting it go as well to sit back and relax. Yup, I actually had it relax too.

For the first 2 weeks I didn’t experiment with rooting it at all, just played with the stock Éclair version for 2 days, then upgraded to the stock Froyo that was pushed once connected with Kies, the Samsung software to upgrade firmware. What you will find is that there is more than one version of this of software. With Galaxy S International (i9000) version you would probably have an app that works just like the iTunes app on your desktop, suitable for syncing media and upgrading the firmware. No it doesn’t push apps, so it’s not entirely the iTunes experience. But you don’t even need that, as what I’ve experienced is somewhat much sweeter than hooking up to iTunes.

But before that, let me tell you which ROMs I actually did play with, the ones that worked smoothly and not so as well. Bear in mind though that the version I have is the T-Mobile Vibrant (T-959) Galaxy S. Not much of a good reason to go with this one though, but yes, I kind of didn’t like the physical button on the i9000.

Stock Éclair and Froyo

They’re all good, smooth, though bloated with stock apps that frankly I wouldn’t care much about and definitely not of any use to me or anyone outside the US for that matter. So there’s really no point in using them, unless if you want to watch Avatar that came bundled with the memory card. Not much to speak of, but then there’s the definite value that these OS do NOT crash at all, and won’t make you force close an app at any time. Tried and tested, for sure.

This is the first ROM I installed after rooting the phone for the first time. Yes, it was really good as I go the Gingerbread experience as well. But it had its sure shot flaws too, and most importantly I realized that the Samsung stock camera app is one amazing piece of work. The Android original camera looks like a piece of trash, to be honest. The other thing the guys at Cyanogen do is throw in the Google Apps separately, that makes their own ROM less than 100MB, which easily makes it lightweight compared to the others that go beyond a typical 130MB at least, some going over 240MB as well. That said, right now I’m using the latest CM7 Build 22 which works better since they have officially been supporting the Galaxy S family for about a month now. By the way, for some reason this ROM so far has had no GPS support whatsoever.

This one reeks of iPhone love, to be honest. The first impression you get is that it’s made in China and is meant to directly hit at the iPhone lovers, you’ll find most of the interface especially the Settings to be a rip off from the iOS Settings area. Not good and that’s one big reason for me not to use it. I don’t hate the iPhone but I have my opinion that holds me back from using it too.

The Beast

Looks like the SGS2 just visited Froyo, had fun and left the party half heartedly. So you have the new layout but in my experience, the apps would end up being crashing needing to force close them. Not a good experience.

One of the most ridiculous choices I made, it completely made a mess of my phone. Firstly, despite saying it’s equally good with a Vibrant, it changed its boot to i9000, hence the entire key mapping was changed, till I recently updated it again myself. On top of that, the experience itself was not worth the effort. I honestly wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, its not worth all that hassle of going through the ever long list of instructions and threats of what’s gonna happen if you miss out on any one piece of info along the way.

ZenDroid

Didn’t install it, just didn’t like the icons either.

Phiremod

Looks stable, doesn’t crash for sure, but its Froyo again with a lot of tweaks and MODs from various other ROMs. Not much impressive as it slowed down my phone a bit for no apparent reason.

Bionix

One of the most stable but not really stable ROMs I’ve tried, this one being from TeamWhiskey. Yes it was a Froyo build, didn’t have a problem with that, and used it for about 3-4 days, but let it go after that.

Asgard (no, this is nothing to do with Thor)

This is the Gingerbread version from EDT, really good stuff, but failing at 2 areas. The first is the camera that doesn’t show anything in the viewfinder. The other is the flakey GPS. Oh yes, the TouchWiz4 will crash the first time when booted, but then it won’t. At the moment, its on Public Test 2, so not a final release and they’re doing a lot of stuff in the background.

An offshoot of Trigger, and if you look closely it resembles the stock Froyo from Samsung. Although it looked good, I preferred something else.

Personally my favorite ROM and the most I’ve been satisfied with so far. It has been very stable throughout my use, not even once ending up in a crashed state, nor acting weird or slowing down. None of that! It’s just perfect in every freaking way that you can say so, it has a very good blue tone to it, soothing to be exact. And it just works! If you happen to use Overstock with it, it goes even faster than it actually is. Believe me, this is one Froyo ROM that you won’t dismiss easily.

By the way, while checking out all the ROMs so far, I’ve also successfully managed to hard brick my phone. By that I mean that I messed up its boot file, and it wouldn’t start at all. Had to get it fixed, but that came through about 2 weeks later on a weekend, but thankfully it got done in Rs 1000 (which is about $11. The standard rate for this sort of procedure in the US is around $50, which I’ve seen quoted by Mobile Tech Videos.

What I’d like to see is how Trigger finally evolves into the Gingerbread ROM that Roman is working on as the next upgrade. I’m not sure if it’ll be named Trigger, or will Asgard have the much needed upgrade that’s expected of it as well. At least I’m eagerly waiting for it.

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2 responses to “The Android Experience – so far

  1. very timely for me … im gona get the same phone this week, will ask you for help if im stuck somewhere in the engineering of the phone 🙂

    thanks …

    A

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