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Android ricing refers to changing up the UI of a device running an Android OS to better suit one's taste. This could be done for many reasons, such as to make using the device more practical, or to make it suit the user's tastes.
- 1 About Android
- 2 Rooting
- 3 Bootloaders
- 4 Custom Recovery
- 5 ROMs
- 6 Launchers
- 7 Icon Packs
- 8 Apps & Games
- 9 Reducing Your Footprint
- 10 External links
Android is a mobile operating system based on the open source Linux kernel. Android is Open Source (a fully FOSS fork called Replicant exists), the majority of it is licensed under Apache or GPLv2. Android has components that can easily be swapped out that will change the user experience.
Rooting is the process of gaining access to superuser privileges on your device. It will allow you to modify aspects of the Android system that wouldn't be possible with normal privileges. Rooting your device is a prerequisite of many customization options. Rooting your device may void its warranty. However, there are usually ways to unroot your device in the event you wish to do so, and remove all traces of it ever happening.
Some OEMs lock the bootloaders of your device. You might have to unlock it, see your device's XDA forum section for instructions. In some cases you can use a LB (locked boatloader) ROM, with limitations that come with it. There are also devices that have a custom dual or multi-bootloader written for them by the developers at XDA.
Android devices ship with a "recovery mode" that allows you to flash vendor approved (signed) software and perform a factory reset. A custom recovery replaces that stock recovery mode with one that is much more powerful, allowing you to make backups of the device and flash unsigned custom ROMs.
What is a ROM?
ROMs are different versions of Android firmware. Many companies make devices with their own ROMs (such as HTC Sense or Samsung Touch Whiz) that control the user experience. Although not necessary, downloading and installing a different ROM to your phone may be able to give you more features and increased customization. To do this, you need to root your device to gain administrative access and install a custom recovery, which will install and manage ROMs.
Check the XDA forums, find your device, look at the ROMs section and find yourself a recent and stable system.
Some popular ROMs and their respective benefits and features include:
- Relatively similar to stock or AOSP (Android Open Source Project) Android
- Very mature ROM, has a large community
- Clean and uncluttered (in comparison to TouchWiz, for example)
- Variety of features (ex. Pie Controls, Quick Settings, etc.)
- Easy installation process (simply follow the CyanogenMod Installer App)
- Lots of tweaks and customization
- Lots of additional features (in comparison to CyanogenMod)
- Includes vibration patterns, custom toggles, and custom navigation rings; virtually anything can be changed
- Again, lots of options for customization
- A large variety of features, many of which are not based off of stock Android (HALO, Pie Controls, Hybrid Properties, etc.)
- Multi-window support
A project to replace all proprietary components of Android.
There are a plethora of custom ROMs available. For most devices, your best bet is to search the XDA-developers forum for your specific device's subforum, and see what is available and compatible with it.
How Do I Install A ROM?
Typically, there are a number of set steps to installing a ROM on your Android phone. Unfortunately, these steps are simply guidelines and can vary depending on what ROM you wish to install. You can typically find specific instructions by searching the for the ROM followed by your device name. Nevertheless, these steps include:
- Rooting your phone. Rooting is the easiest step in installing a ROM. There should be many guides describing the process for your exact phone model and Android version, which can be found be searching the web.
- Installing a ROM managing app. This is also quite easy; simply go to the Play Store and download a ROM managing app that appeals the most to you. For the purpose of these steps, I will assume you downloaded the "ROM Manager" App.
- Open the app and back up. Perform a manual backup of your device by selecting that option on your ROM Manager App.
- Flash a Recovery Image to your phone. Within your ROM Manager App, select the Flash Recovery Image option (typically, you should be flashing ClockworkMod Recovery).
- Download and copy your ROM. Find the ROM you want and then download it (if you would like any of the ROMs listed above, simply click on a title to be redirected to the ROM's website). Ensure that the ROM is in a .ZIP file (do not extract!) and copy it to your phone.
- Flash the ROM. Within your ROM Manager App, select an option that resembles "Install ROM from SD Card" and select the .ZIP file you downloaded earlier. Be sure to select options to wipe data and cache when prompted. Installation should take approximately 5-10 minutes, whereas the first boot should take 10 minutes or more.
- Optional: Restore from your backup. If you are unsatisfied with your ROM, that's OK. Re-install your ROM Manager App and select an option similar to "Manage and Restore Backups" and select your backup. This should restore your phone to its original state before flashing.
A launcher is the application that opens up whenever you hit the home button. This area consists of your home screen, and many things can be put on here for convenience, such as icons for apps and widgets such as clocks. You do not have to root or install a custom ROM to install these. Some popular launchers are Apex and Nova.
Icon packs are a group of icons that come packed together and are designed with the same same style. Icons should complement the background that you have. Some commonly used icon packs are Holler, Tiny white, metro, and Click UI.
Apps & Games
There are many apps available for Android. Several apps that focus on ricing are UCCW and dash clock. There are also many apps that vary from news apps to office suites.
As for games, emulation is the best choice. for more on emulators on Android refer to the /emug/ wiki android section.