Saturday, February 19, 2011

CyanogenMod 7RC1

Long time readers (ha) will know I'm a big fan of CyanogenMod, a third party version of the Android operating system that can be used on various mobile phones. As T-Mobile prepares to finish up and release a version of Android 2.2 for my phone, Cyanogen is releasing release candidates for CM7, which is based upon Android 2.3.

What does this get me? Well, over CM6, which was based on 2.2, quite a bit, although probably not as much over the official 2.2 update for my phone:

Feature Stock Slide ROM CM6.1 CM7RC1 Official 2.2 ROM*
Clean, polished, UI X X X
Usable Bluetooth with voice controls X X ?
A phone app that doesn't crash if you hold the phone the wrong way X X ?
A messaging app that doesn't go nuts and stop working from time to time X X ?
A messaging app that doesn't display the wrong messages X ? ?
USB tethering X X ?
Wifi tethering
Wifi calling (make cellular calls and send messages over Wifi) X X
* Hasn't been released yet, so specs based on third party reviews of leaked ROM

CM7's battery life issues seems to be no better or worse than the alternatives.

Note this list only applies to the version for the T-Mobile Slide. Versions of CM6 for other phones commonly include Wifi tethering, for instance, and versions of CM7 for, for example, Verizon phones will not include Wifi calling. Sorry guys, you'll just have to buy one of those picocell things if you want to improve your cellular coverage at home. For those wondering what Wifi calling is, it's a feature where if you're connected to a Wifi router, you can route your phone calls (your regular cellphone calls, ie to and from your cell number using your normal cell minutes) via the Internet rather than over a cell tower. Very useful when you want to use your phone indoors, and also useful when roaming internationally - as long as you route your call over Wifi you don't have to pay roaming charges.

Over all, I'm seeing this release candidate as a major improvement over CM6.1. It looks and feels slicker, cleaner, and faster, the Wifi calling thing is a nice to have, it's nice to have missing features like Wifi tethering all sorted. And it's available now, you don't have to wait for HTC and T-Mobile to get their acts together concerning an official, long overdue, update.

Interested? If you have a T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide, go here. If you have any other phone, visit the forums and see if your phone is supported, and if a CM7 release candidate is available. Hint - if it is available, the announcement will be under the "Experimental" forum for your phone model.

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