In January 2011 I acquired my first Android phone, the Sony Ericsson X10. Those of you who regularly follow my blog will probably be aware of the ‘scandal’ that erupted around the X10 and SE’s decision to stop supporting it with OS updates, a mere 9 months after release, leaving the X10 series languishing on Eclair 2.1.

Of course, 2 months later they changed their minds and brought Gingerbread to the X10, so we know how that ended. It was during this interim period though I first started dabbling with Custom ROMs.

Installing my first ROM was a touch nerve-wracking; I had a �400 phone in my hands and was about to do unspeakable, warranty-voiding, things to it in order to upgrade. Ever forwards, I say. The first ROM I installed was a 2.2 version of Cyanogen Mod. I can’t remember the release number but I can remember being thrilled with myself that I’d hacked the phone *and* gotten rid of a load of bloatware.

More experimentation in the weeks and months to come yielded great results and the opinion that while Custom ROMs are a great showcase for third-party development, they can be a hindrance.

Take the Xperia SSpeed ROM, for example. Built for the NXT series and subsequently ported to devices like the Ray and Arc, the SSpeed Roms were/are a great series. The Xperia S was the ROM I used the most and up until the implementation of ICS, things went very well. Very well indeed. This ROM had exemplary speed and none of the bloatware normally associated with a ‘proper’ ROM. After 10.1, things unfortunately started to go wrong.

The developer, krabappel, made a couple of mistakes which put a couple ROMs at odds with everything else that had gone before. There were problems with the custom kernels he was also building – in order to flash the ROM you were recommended to flash DoomKernel’s, er, kernel, just to get the customisable AROMA installer running. After this, you could install the SSpeed kernel if you so chose. But why bother?

After 18 months of messing around with customised operating systems, I find myself back on rooted stock Sony firmware with the stock Sony kernel. Admittedly it’s the latest ICS .50 firmware from Russia, as the rest of the world is catching up slowly. Bin4ry’s amazing new rooting backup/restore exploit tool roots pretty much anything on ICS, so I stripped out as much bloatware as possible and the S runs like the clappers again. I will probably go back to the latest Advanced Stock Kernel from DoomLord, for some slight overclocking and CWM recovery, but I’m happy enough experimenting with the stock kernel. Watch this space.


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