A while back I decided to try something new when the time came to get a new phone after having owned an iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. During 2010, I had picked up an iPad so changing to a new platform for my new mobile was not throwing away my relatively small investment in iOS applications. Anyway, after careful research and some hands on experience with the phone on display at various shops I chose the Samsung Galaxy S.
One main reason that I chose the Samsung Galaxy S was that it was and still is a very popular phone for third party developers in terms of modified ROMs. The Android operating system being open source allows people to really get into the guts of the code and extend its capabilities or refine what is already there. Whilst I wasn’t keen to personally get involved in that aspect of the platform I was more excited by the fact that others would be more capable and innovative in these respect.
Well, one such individual by the handle of Darky has been a bit handy in creating a customised ROM (i.e. Read Only Memory and in this context means the base operating system with modifications such as themes, applications, improvements, etc). Darky’s ROM has a number of design goals of which some of the main ones are:
- Improved performance over the stock ROM (which was heavily criticised for poor performance and lag),
- Android 2.3 (AKA Gingerbread) look and feel including boot animation, ringtones and sounds,
- Improved GPS reliability (another point of criticism for Samsung with the stock device),
- Integrated ClockworkMod recovery (providing a simple means for data backup and third party ROM installations),
- Integrated Voodoo kernel and option to convert partitions to EXT4 for improved performance.
Those are just the tip of the iceberg but there are many more benefits that can be found at the Darky’s ROM website.
If you want to give it a try, it is very important that you check that your three button recovery mode is operational as, if it isn’t, you could find yourself with a bricked device that you cannot recover without assistance from your carrier or Samsung. If you find your device is lacking the three button recovery mode there is a a way to reinstate it prior to playing with third party ROMs.
Once you have verified you are good to go check out this post at XDA Developers which details how to install it on your Samsung Galaxy S. In a nutshell, it involves:
- backup your data,
- downloading the ROM (the full wipe version if installing the first time) to your internal SD card (not the external SD card which is any extra storage you add to the phone),
- downloading ClockworkMod recovery to your internal SD card,
- disable and lag fixes that you may already have on your phone (including Voodoo or “One Button Lag Fix”),
- rebooting the phone into recovery mode (home, power and volume up buttons),
- apply the ClockworkMod update.zip twice,
- install Darky’s ROM in ClockworkMod by selecting “Install zip from SDCARD” then “Choose zip from SDCARD”,
- Enjoy the new ROM.
The best things about ClockworkMod is that when updates to the ROM are released you can update the ROM in place without losing your settings and personalisations.
At any rate, you may need to build up your courage to install a third party ROM but once you have done your research before taking the plunge you should be more comfortable with the whole process.