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What is a ROM on Android ?: definition and types

22 mayo, 2021

The world of root makes Android huge, a place where everyone, from those who root for the first time to the most expert, they will find something that interests them. The newest ones will have an ecosystem on Android that will help them on a day-to-day basis and will teach them new things, while the wiser ones will find a place to help others and continue learning.

Custom ROMs, despite not being at their best, are one of the greatest contributions of our preferred operating system, each one of them offers us something different. This may be a bit confusing for those newer, so to help out where possible, let’s talk a bit about what ROMs are, what types are there and how they help us.

What is a ROM?


A ROM, if it had to be explained with very few words and a lot of simplicity, I would say that it is the operating system that the mobile brings, but it would be a bit imprecise. A ROM (for short Read Only Memory, Read-Only Memory) is actually the operating system together with other files that allow the Android to boot. Android is thus one of the parts of a ROM.

Along with the operating system we have the kernel, or nucleus, which would be in charge of communicating the software and hardware so that they work in harmony, with which the name comes in handy. The kernel used by Android devices is Linux which, thanks to being free software, has been able to be ported to all kinds of mobile devices.

Inside a ROM we also find the graphical user interface, known as GUI, which allows the user to interact with the system, as well as other files that help the phone to be used properly, including its connections (data, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, etc.).

What types of ROMs are there?


Luckily for users, not all ROMs are the same, there are several types that have characteristics that make them different from others. The most used type of ROM is the stock, and we talk about it when it comes to a ROM that the manufacturer itself has developed and installed on your terminal.

Of course, stock based ROMs exist, which are those that have been made by a developer using as a basis the one provided by the manufacturer, be it Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony … The objective of these ROMs is, normally, to serve some additional function and, above all, clean it of bloatware or unnecessary applications for the user.

On the other hand we have the ROMs AOSP (Android Open Source Project), which are those Google ROMs whose code has not been modified, or has been in a very small proportion. The main characteristic of this type of ROMs is its similarity to pure Android, although they may contain different functions. The greatest exponent of AOSP ROMs is CyanogenMod, now LineageOS.

There are several types of ROMs: stock, AOSP and AOKP, each of them with a particularity that can be interesting to users.

We also have the ROMs AOKP (Android Open Kang Project) They are those based on AOSPs, but with some features that cannot be found in the ROM they are based on. The word Kang is used to say that it is stolen code, so AOKP is a mixture of Kang and AOSP. Originally it was a joke, but finally said name stuck forever.

An example of AOKP ROMs are those based on CyanogenMod, but which includes functions that cannot be found in said ROM without neglecting the user experience, as used to be the case with Paranoid Android. AOKP ROMs tend to go mostly (though not exclusively) to Nexus and Samsung Galaxy devices.

What benefits can we get from installing a custom ROM?

Andy Christmas

There are a myriad of reasons why a person would want to install a custom ROM. In some cases because of their taste for the development world, in others to get rid of bloatware, others to give a new look to their terminal, others to fix their mobile and, finally, there are those who want to have the most current version of Android when the manufacturer does not support.

The benefits that we can get are many, as long as we have carried out the process correctly. One of the aspects in which we win is in personalization, being able to modify certain elements that with the factory ROM we could not. It is the cheapest way to “change mobile”.

Another benefit that we can get is, simply, be able to continue using our smartphone. A few years ago I resurrected my old HTC One S thanks to CyanogenMod (and it still works) behind a brick that, almost without a doubt, was my fault when it went where it shouldn’t.

Custom ROMs have several benefits, such as keeping us updated, freeing us from bloatware or fixing our mobile. They are certainly a good option if you know what you are doing.

Bloatware is a problem we’ve been complaining about since time immemorial and, to make matters worse, most cannot be easily uninstalled. Custom ROMs they take the bloatware off us (at least a good part of it), giving us that extra storage that the manufacturer had taken from us.

Custom ROMs are often a way to stay updated when the manufacturer, for whatever reason, does not support us. Luckily these ROMs, although they need to be polished, are stable enough to be used in day to day without problems and, in addition, they give us a little extra customization that never hurts.

ROMs are, in short, those responsible for many software problems of our mobiles are solved and that those of us more restless do not get bored. Are you one of those who install custom ROMs or do you prefer to keep the one that comes with your mobile from the factory?

In Engadget Android | LineageOS, first impressions: this is the ROM that the CyanogenMod witness picks up