Making Your Phone YOUR Phone

After waiting a very long time for Verizon to release a Gingerbread ROM for my Droid 2 phone, I started hearing that this might not happen until the third or fourth quarter of the year – if ever.  I appreciate Verizon’s position.  They want to ensure that their new Android devices (with Gingerbread or Honeycomb) have the best features.  And if previously existing phones get updates, then there is less “incentive” for customers to upgrade to the “new” phones.

I understand the sentiment inherent in Verizon’s approach (and their public statements).  But as a tech savvy customer, I really despise being treated like a rebel.  I bought an Android phone so that I could customize my own wireless experience.  I bought an Android phone to have access to the broadest range of applications.  I didn’t buy this phone to ensure the hegemony of Verizon.

Consequently, I chose to root my phone.  Then I chose to upgrade my phone to a custom ROM (i.e., Liberty).  And I was supremely excited when Google released Gingerbread (and the SDK) late last year.  But I have waited to take the plunge and install a Gingerbread-based ROM.  First, Gingerbread ROMs were very immature.  Second, I really wanted to have a ROM based upon the vendor builds.  A few months ago, I got excited that there was a leak of Verizon’s D2 Gingerbread build.  But that leak has not been followed by a general release.  So I waited.

Since the leak earlier this year, there has been a lot of growth.  There are numerous Gingerbread builds for the D2.  And the folks on the Liberty team have been working on their new build.  As of this week, Liberty Gingerbread (a.k.a., LGB) is now at v0.8.  With this latest release, stability has increased.  And performance is always improving.

So after a lot of hesitancy (and a wedding or two), I’ve finally decided to tae the plunge.  I am now running on LGB v0.8.  So what did it take to get from Liberty 2.0.1 to the latest build?  Here was what I did:

  1. As a first step, I needed to deploy a Gingerbread build so that I could be on the new Linux kernel.  I followed the recommendation found here and grabbed the ‘monster leak’ file.  With a great deal of hesitancy, I flashed the revised kernel (wiping the system and cache) – and crossed my fingers.  The result was a very vanilla build.  But I was now on the right kernel.
  2. Once I had the right base, I then re-downloaded the ‘donate’ version of the Liberty Toolbox.  From within this tool, I was able to download and flash the new bits for Liberty 0.8.
  3. My first thoughts about the new build were “wow” and “this thing sucks major power.”  So I decided to get to work.  The first order of business was to get all of my apps installed onto the new system.  I could have used Titanium Backup.  It is an awesome tool.  But I chose to see how the base Android Market app would do on a Gingerbread ROM.  For the most part, I was satisfied that my apps were recovered.  But a few key apps didn’t get restored.  I’m still researching why this was the case.  But I now have all of my apps restored.
  4. On Liberty 2.0.1, I used Advanced Task Killer to keep my system clean.  But since I am now on a new kernel, I want to ensure that I test the base memory management capabilities of Gingerbread.  Therefore, I uninstalled ATK.  It may find it’s way back onto the phone at some point.  But for now, I’m living with the base OS task management.
  5. Since I was already seeing some battery issues, I decided that I would enable Juice Defender.  I had purchased Juice Defender Ultimate.  But was disappointed to learn that the Ultimate version didn’t work on Gingerbread.  But the basic program did work fine.  So I now have a good battery management tool that is helping to deal with battery management.
  6. The overall look and feel of the new LGB ROM is great.  But if I was going to rock a new ROM, I really wanted to make it look fantastic.  So I downloaded a new theme (GingerComb Juiced).  I also paid for the Beautiful Widgets pack.  I really love the widgets in this package.  So I now have a “killer look” to my fresh new system.
  7. I rounded out the effort by switching to LauncherPro Plus.  The New Liberty Launcher is good.  But I have grown so accustomed to LauncherPro that I decided to replace the default launcher.

So what is the result of all of these changes?  First, my phone looks great.

Second, my phone appears to be operating well with reasonable task, memory and battery management.  But time will tell on this front.  Finally, I have stuck my finger in Lord Farquaad’s eye (i.e., Verizon).  This phone is mine.  Yes, I respect Verizon’s right to deny me support.  But they can never take my freedom!

-Roo

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2 Comments on “Making Your Phone YOUR Phone”

  1. Why required? Says:

    ATK kills all apps. Essential apps get restarted right away while other apps are loaded into the memory as you call on them. CPU cycles required to reboot the apps use up then if you just leave it in memory.

    Instead, look for an app called Watchdog lite. Watchdog kills only apps that are eating too much juice.

    Reply

    • cyclingroo Says:

      I’ve used ATK for a while now. It effectively terminates apps – just like the name implies. But I have set ATK aside for now. First, there is quite a bit of kerfuffle about using task killers. One of the biggest challenges is that “killed” apps just restart themselves – and draw more power in the process. I’ve never quite bought into that line of reasoning. So I continued to use ATK.

      For me, the biggest advantage is forcing the re-initialization of an app. There are sometimes when you just have to restart the app. And ATK does that with great ease.

      But since I’ve switched to a Gingerbread ROM, I’ve stopped using ATK. I want to see what the native memory management is like for Gingerbread itself. Further, I want to see how ATK runs for other Gingerbread users.

      Reply

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