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Monday Poll: Root, ROM, Both or Neither?

With bootloaders continuing to be a popular topic these days, we started asking ourselves questions like, “Does a locked bootloader matter as much anymore?” And of the topics that were brought up, one was whether or not people are using custom ROMs and kernels like they once did back in early 2010. As someone that lives and breathes Android, I’ve got to admit that I get the feeling that as phones become more powerful and have more polished software, that custom ROMs and kernels may be less popular in the future than they once were (I’m sure the CM team will do their best to crush that prediction though).

Rooting on the other hand will always top everyone’s list of things to do as it allows you to take screenshots, wireless tether, etc. But, is Android as a mobile platform becoming optimized enough that less and less needs to be done to your phone out of the box to make it live up to your standards? We once tossed in custom kernels and ROMs with new features to help out our under-spec’d phones. With dual-core processors, loads of RAM and things like native screenshots, what does the state of the ROM world look like today? Going forward?  We ask you just a simple question below to get a feel for it.

And if you would, feel free to sound off on your thoughts on custom ROMs, whether or not you still use them, and if so, which you continue to use. Should be interesting to see if folks with newer phones are still opting to use a ROM rather than stock software.

Update:  Changed the poll slightly. Please re-vote if you will.

Is your phone rooted, running a custom ROM or plain stock?

View Results

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  • jose cardona

    With the Galaxy Nexus, I think I would only need root for wifi tethering. BUT, I really wish Android would incorporate the power widgets into the drag-down notification bar. That’s just something I can’t live without.

  • Rooted Sammy Droid Charge, and I selected custom ROM, but it’s really stock…but leaked (thanks p3Droid/TBH).  It’s such a huge improvement, it’s a pity I have to do root to get there (release it already, VZW!).

  • Where would the Thunderbolt be without rooting and custom ROM’s considering HTC and Verizon seemingly aren’t very interested in maintaining it?

    • babadush

      That goes for all phones. They all take too damn long to get anything. Why wait for them when I can do it myself

  • Abundis5555

    Seems like everyone is waiting on the Nexus haha

  • Anonymous

    With a Galaxy Nexus I can’t see a reason to load a rom.  However devs also haven’t been given the oppertunity to create one.

    For me a DX rom was required to extend the performance and usability.  I think that is the most compelling reason and the reason even today’s super-phones will be rom’s in 12 to 18 months when they are no longer shiny and new.  If not for the performance then to keep them fresh.

  • jav

    I feel like over time I’ve become less and less trusting of community/custom ROMs and their stability. There always seem to be minor issues / bugs / quirks and I’ve come to enjoy much more the stability of stock ROMs and all the QA love they receive. I root my phone mainly to add Tethering, but I don’t install custom ROMs anymore and when it comes to my tablet, I don’t even do that. I’m much more nervous about messing up a more expensive piece of hardware (my tablet) than I am my phone.

    • FSFer

      This is true. It is a bit of the “one man distribution” syndrome sometimes seen in Linux. Sometimes it’s great, but usually it’s better to have a team approach.

  • Anonymous

    Considering around half of this site’s readers have an OG droid, those results seem about right.

    Brethren! Our new phone approaches!

    • Anonymous

      i’m counting down the days..

    • Anonymous

      id argue half are on the og. but its def. not a small percentage

    • Anonymous

      Hah classic comment.

      • Anonymous

        Do an OG poll right before the G-Nex gets released, then do the same poll a week after; see how the numbers change.  You should propose an official OG Droid retirement day… We’ll all send in our last screen shots before the official turnover.  I’m getting sentimental already.

    • famester

      The other half is tbolt owners me being one of em

  • Anonymous

    I only rooted my OG Droid for the speed improvement. I will not need to root my Galaxy Nexus, and will definitely not need a custom rom or kernel due to the speed of the phone.

  • Dreedy Android

    Was rooted on the D3 till the lastest update came through, waiting for someone to crack the code again….

    • Force1stiptopped

      I rooted my D3 after the update..?

  • I’m stlil on my non-rooted OG Droid but not for lack of trying… I’ve attempted multiple avenues to get there but it fails every time.

  • Anonymous

    No need to root now that VZW clamped down on wireless tethering.

    • vzw_user

      Mine still works 🙂

    • MattC0509

      I’ve been rooted using a wireless tether on my Tbolt for a few months now and have been using 50-55 gigs with no problems from Verizon

      • Force1stiptopped

        And we wonder why verizon is throttling data…?

      • Force1stiptopped

         And we wonder why verizon is throttling data usage..?

        • MattC0509

          I havent been throttled and that usage is from my hotspot going basically all day m-f and if i’m correct the story about the Bionic used who was throttled went through 60 gigs in 10 days or something?  I’ve had an unlimited plan for some time and as long as “unlimited” is attached to my plan I am going to take advantage

    • Anonymous

      Not clamped down enough. Some still slide by.

  • Groid

    Bionic:  rooted, custom rom (DroidTheory R3BLURR3D v2.0), on new .893 radio

  • Anonymous

    Updated the poll to be more specific. Please re-vote if you can.  Sorry!

  • 3M4NU31

    OG Droid w/ GPA18

  • Anonymous

    I need another Nexus post…

  • Dominick DeVito

    Single core: rooted with a custom ROM

    (Yes, it’s the OG Droid)  🙂

  • Anonymous

    Yeah. I’ll probably run the stock ICS roms for a while myself. I’ll theme it, of course, but won’t bother getting a ROM until it gets a bit dated and the ROM devs have time to create something stable.

    [edit] I hate you, Disqus. This was in reply to red014.

  • Lethalprophet

    I’m using a DroidX. Rooted with DarkslideX installed (Darkslide is an amazing ROM that gets SOOOOoooo little love from this site…)

    • Anonymous

      My son still has Darkslide running on his X that I put on it back at Christmas. I’ve asked if he wanted me to upgrade it but he said he is happy with it just the way it is… lol It’s still Froyo…

      • Lethalprophet

        yeah, the first Darkslide was. Darkslide X gave us Gingerbread. I put CM7 on mine for a bit, but battery life went to hell and, far more importantly, my camera wouldn’t save any pics, so went back to Darkslide, and have no plans to change until I get my Razr

        • Anonymous

          I might try and switch my son over to that.

    • Lethalprophet

      oh, and I’ll continue to Root and Rom until carriers stop telling me how my phone should run (with their crappy themes, skins and bloatware). It’s my phone, it’s gonna ACT like my phone…

  • shr1k3r

    took me 27 hours but i now have cyanogen on my droid x 🙂

  • GCH

    As long as it takes the OEMs and carriers to provide updates for our devices, ROMs will always be relevant. If it weren’t for great communities, my Tbolt might still be on Froyo.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed.  Sense 3.0 and Gingerbread with a good 1.4ghz overclocked processor make the Tbolt shine!  I’ll still be getting the GNex though.  haha

    • Anonymous

      Pretty much exactly this. 

      To add…
      Bloatware never really goes away, even if frozen with Titanium.  When I look at the performance differences between the Moto stock DX ROM and Liberty (talking back to the Froyo days), and today with CM7, I don’t see the need for custom ROMs ever going away… on phones at least.

      I see no reason to Root and Custom ROM my Transformer, especially considering how fast and prompt Asus is with updates.   

      With that in mind, I’m not sure how much of a big deal boot loaders are if you look at the great work that has been done with the ROMs.  Liberty, Apex, and CM7 are great on the DX (with the exception of CM7s battery life). 

  • Some Random Dude

    OG w/ CM7 of course 🙂

  • YrroT

    I enjoy running the custom ROMs as it does add some “ooomph” to older phones.  My OG droid was dynamite with CM7 or ChevyNo1 SS.  Really helps extend the lifespan of the phone, which may be a negative for carries/manufacturers who are trying to push the purchase of a new model onto you.  I’m not on a Bionic with Liberty ROM, anxiously awaiting a wider array or ROMs to choose from……just for the fun of it.

    • YrroT

      Oops….meant to say “I’m now on a Bionic”………….

  • Anonymous

    Rooted with a ROM on my OG. Rooted and themed on my XOOM.

  • MattC0509

    My Thunderbolt has been rooted for some time and have been running BAMF Cubed since it came out and it is the best ROM i’ve used thus far.

    • Sliv

      How stable is it on the TB?  I’ve got the leaked HTC rom right now…  which I’m considering ‘stock’.

      • MattC0509

        For me extremely stable…..I know a few people have run into some things but i haven’t had any issues and its the only rom i’ve used for the past 3 weeks.

        • Robpsmith

          I also am running Cubed 1.0.9 with Dark Horse theme on my TB
          It is smooth, no problems for over a week using it.
          Rooting & Romming gives me options…to me which is a mark of true value in technology!

          • Ortizchief

            can you tell me the link to download the rom cubed 1.0.9 thanks

          • Irtechneo

            teambamf.net.  Will have everything you need.  I highly recommend Cubed 1.0.9 or just straight BAMF Forever 1.0.9.  They are both good but the cubed version has more color and a few other enhancements.  There are hundreds of mods to play around with as well.  Dark Horse theme is the way to go if you like blue and zhpilot has some good red themes.  My thunderbolt gets a new look every week 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Rooted and ROM (Liberty).  However if I could have a stock Android device with no bloat (I have the opposite: a DroidX :P), I honestly wouldn’t be bothered by not having root, or the custom ROM.

  • tyler cole

    I was running a CM7 but my droid x died, it decided to go swimming, and i got upgraded/crapped on with a droid x2.

  • droid incredible running cm7 nightlies. will try peter alfonsos rom once the bugs are worked out

  • Anonymous

    I’ll probably root and rom after my phone gets closer to end of life. I don’t want to risk bricking my phone until I’m close to being up for renewal.

  • Anthony Armando

    rooted and running project elite on my OG droid.

    i would definitely like to put a new kernal in the galaxy nexus to use the full 1.5 ghz power inside. i do not intend on using any roms at this time though.

  • Anonymous

    I will always root and rom whether I need to or not.

  • Anonymous

    Going to drop my rom’ed DX for a Galaxy Nexus and use it stock/root unless there is a truly compelling reason to modify it.  For me the compelling reason to rom with my DX was to get superior performance without Blur, with stock at this point I can’t see the reason, but of course no one has had a chance to create a reason yet either.

  • Kianhjudah

    Android w/out Custom Roms??? How dare you…that’s just sick…I hate to even imagine such a dark, grotesque world…(shivers with fear as a cold darkness overpasses) 

  • Anonymous

    My OG Droid is rooted running GPA18. My Bionic is stock.

  • jsig

    Custom ROMS are always going to be necessary for phones that aren’t getting updated or to add features that should have been in the UI in the first place.  I don’t think manufacturers will ever be able to customize a UI the way some people would likeit.

  • Thunderbolt with CM7.1 here.

  • Anonymous

    Rooted running custom Rom on my OG and patiently awaiting the Galaxy Nexus!

  • Franzie3

    Rooted / Rom Thunderbolt running SoaB (HTC Rhyme Port) better then stock

  • Anonymous

    Rooted/Rom’ed, but I doubt I would be if my device(OG) didn’t need it to keep up. 

  • at some point I’ve been all of these, but I’m stock non-rooted today. 

  • The article polls rooting and using ROMs in reference to weather or not we need unlocked bootloaders, but I personally do it (Darkys on SGS) because its what I’m used to and because I like the way the ROM works and feels.

    On a new phone, it may be less important especially if I get my hands on the new ICS devices since Google polished Android nice and shiny. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I think ROMing becomes more important with your device’s age.  I used my brother’s 2.2 unrooted OG the other day.  Whoa.  Makes me appreciate the CM team even more.

    • Anonymous

      That being said, I think I could rock stock/unrooted ICS for a while.

      • Anonymous

        Stock sure but no root?  Hell no.  I want root.

  • Thunderbolt with OMFGB Nightlies.  Can’t stand Sense… 

  • obviously the majority here is going to be rooted with a custom ROM because we are all hanging on to our OG DROID

    • Anonymous

      This is very true. As someone said above, the age of your device almost forces you into a ROM to keep it current.

  • Rooted as soon as root on the DINC came out, been through dozens of ROMS since but MIUI has been my daily driver for the last 4 months or so

  • JP

    Rooted and running CM7 on my DINC, but looking forward to running stock ICS on the Galaxy Nexus!

  • Anonymous

    Motorola OG Droid, Rooted, Rom’d. Running GPA18 from PA. Needed it to keep my baby running.

  • Anonymous

    Just rooted for now on the bionic, waiting to see if OMFGB gets released for it before ICS, I was a big fan of it on my DX, once that happeneds I’ll be back on the ROM train

    • Anonymous

      That’s the problem with a locked bootloader, even with a work around like 2nd-init.  (As I understand it) There will be no way to run ICS on Bionic until the first Moto ICS rom/kernel is released (or leaked).

      • Anonymous

        oh yeah im well aware that the bootloader being locked puts a big funk on development for the phone and all that, but for me the most important thing is that my phone works and that hardware-wise it performs up to my expectations.

  • Anonymous

    OG. Rooted with ROM required to keep this thing moving until my Nexus is in my hands (Liquid Smooth v3).

  • Keith Sumner

    First, motorola droid, rooted, rom’d, custom kernel’d
    Second, Bionic, stock, don’t see a reason to root right now, phone is amazingly fast.

    • Dominick DeVito

      Here are three reasons

      1. Ice
      2. Cream
      3. Sandwich

      • Anonymous

        True once the source code is released and AOSP ICS ROMs start showing up – but those don’t exist yet. And there’s no way I’m putting an sdk ROM on my new phone when it runs just fine as is.

        • Dominick DeVito

          No doubt – but in a month from now gingerbread will be quite stale.

    • Festoon666

      I root just to get rid of ads and bloatware.

  • Dominick DeVito

    OG Droid, GPA18 – thanks to Peter Alfonso.

    • Anonymous

      Same as of this morning.  Limpin’ along till sexy nexy comes out.

      • Dominick DeVito

        Yeah gonna rename the OG to OY – as in Old Yeller.

        • bigrob60

          I guess that means I’ll have to shoot my OG when I get the Nexus. 🙁
          +1 for public schools teaching me how the book (movie in my case) ends.

        • Paul N

          I already changed it up to stand for old girl. The old girl chugs along but she doesn’t perform like she used to.

    • Its all about Project Elite which had flick before flick was cool!!!

    • Razerlite

      Same here thanks to Peter Alfonso.  🙂  iPhone 4s is now my main device but I’m still using my trusty ol’ OG Droid with Wifi on a daily basis.