Custom Android ROMs - Replace Your Android Operating System
ROM (Read Only Memory) defines the basic operating system of your smartphone. This area is allocated to the manufacturer's operating codes which run the basic functions of a smartphone. Custom ROM enables you to alter that operating system with the modified one. With this, you get a totally different interface or slightly modified interface on your phone. 

Sometimes custom ROM makes the device's operating friendlier to the developers and enables you to use additional gimmicks and customization which otherwise you may not be able to use. Most of the time Custom ROMs are used to get the latest Android version on your device which is officially not available at that time.

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Common benefits of custom ROMs

For most people change is necessary and original ROM does not work well for them. Not in terms of performance but in terms of usability or need of some additional cool features. These things often take more space on your device, block certain areas and accessibility such as third-party app access, locked features and much more. 

When the ROM is cooked (commonly called as modified) they give you more features which are precisely blocked by the manufacturer. The original software also offers you unwanted fixed trial apps and utilities which are many times annoying. Custom ROMs are mostly for getting rid of 'bloatware', meaning getting rid of the things which are unnecessarily offered. Some manufacturers launch their devices with carrier specific bundles. You certainly do not want that to happen when you buy your favorite device.

With these fixes, custom ROM will give you much better experience in terms of latest updates, carrier-specific features. Custom ROMs released for Samsung Galaxy series is the best example of what they can do to your smartphone. Otherwise, Samsung will never offer you such additional upgrade benefits.

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In the current smartphone market, custom ROMs are mostly advised to overclock the phone, use additional themes, remove carrier specific needs, overall performance improvements, third party apps access and much more. Rather custom ROMS will completely reinvent your current smartphone. You should at least try a custom ROM once on your smartphone.

You may also like "Install ClockWork MOD (CWM) Recovery on an Android Smartphone"

List of Custom Android ROMs

Name Developer Source
AOKP Team Kang  Open
CyanogenMod Open-Source Community, Cyanogen Inc (Latest CyanogenMod 12) Open
Hive ROM Xolo (Lava International) Not open
LeWa OS Lewa Technology  No info
MIUI Xiaomi Tech Partially
OmniROM OmniROM community  Open
Paranoid Android Paranoid Android Team  Open
Replicant Denis Carikli, Paul Kocialkowski  Open

CyanogenMod 12 - It is best in the class custom ROM available for Android Phones. With great community support, it comes with regular updates and cool features. It currently supports more than 50 devices and has amazing features which include unique app launcher called Trebuchet, themes, video screenshots, left handed landscape viewing mode and much more. 

Paranoid Android - With many productive effects including simple changes in notification and navigation Paranoid works perfectly. It has an aesthetic look with "Immersive Mode" which provides information on the screen by hiding system bars.

PAC-ROM - It combines best features from other ROM sources. It includes OmniSwith and CyanogenMod's Pie Controls as well. It has great boot animation which you must see. Supported for almost 50 devices, PAC-ROM is surely a great option.

SlimROMsSIt is a stripped down version of Google Android with offering some cool features. You can modify DPI of the fonts. Current Alpha Android Lollipop build works slower on SlimROMs but with updates, it will surely bring the real fruits sooner. It is a slim version of Android Jelly Bean. Make sure to also install Slim GApps firmware to get Google apps installed. You can adjust the screen ppi density, get stretching gesture on the home screen, a special silent feature called as 'quiet hours', get OTA (Over the Air) firmware updates.

Omni-ROM - Basically it provides Stock Android experience with extra perks. Its features include tapping on time and date in notification to launch apps, adjusting brightness by just sliding a finger along the notification bar. Omniswitch is their standalone feature using which a user can toggle between apps and shortcuts easily. With this, you can go to any part of your smartphone easily and vice-versa.

AOKP - It is a powerful custom Android ROM released in September 2013 as an Android Open Kang Project. It works on dozens of Android Phones. It has cool features which include customizable shortcuts in a Quick settings menu, color and blink rate of LED notifications, Navigation Ring (enables a quick shortcut for up to 5 apps), applications permission management, adjustable processor performance and few more. If you are a serious custom Android fan, you must try AOKP once.

Modaco Custom ROM - It is a custom made ROM suitable for Nexus 7. This ROM just needs to be installed on the phone without even wiping out previous OS. Its cool features include automatic rotation of home screen and app launcher. It shows menu icon at the both ends of Android button bar.

Contact Sync for an official Facebook client is patched in and the built-in YouTube client support for pre-loading of subscriptions and watch later videos while you recharge your device. With its amazing Modaco Kitchen feature, you can bake your own unique recipe using ROM features to suit your needs. This special feature costs 9.99/year Euro subscription.

CyanogenMod10 (Nightly builds) - It is a modified version of Jelly Bean OS. It offers same home screen and app launcher as in SlimBean. This version is much faster than the original firmware. It has an amazing customizable power control features, customizable unlock ring, switching between 5 user profiles and much more.

Kaos Droid - It uses CyanogenMod as a base version and fixes all the bugs and other issues. It is almost 455Mb in size.

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