Android being an open source operating system is actually serving well for its end users. Very few manufacturers using the stock Android built out of Google team and rest customizes it for their convenience. Also, there is this community called Custom ROM’s developers who are giving tough time for manufacturers in terms of amazing features they offer.
Yes, manufacturers like HTC, Samsung, and LG are doing a tremendous job in customizing Android. But it does come with laggy UI layers like Touchwiz, Sense etc. This where they are going bad as well because those updates are not supportable to lower end or also sometimes to year old phone.
Taking all these into consideration, the community of custom ROM developers is doing a better job in customizing stock android which can run even on lower end and older devices. Even in this group or community there are some big players like CyanogenMod, Paranoid Android and AOKP are coming up with lots of mind blowing features. These are some features even Google might have not thought about.
1. Quick Settings Customization
Starting with Android 4.2, a new feature called Quick Settings was integrated into the Notification tray, which allows you to quickly turn on and off certain device features such as WI-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, etc. These toggles also provides a shortcut to the feature’s more advanced settings by long-pressing on the icon.
This feature has been stuck at the point where users will not be able to add or remove any of the quick settings. Well, almost all the latest customs ROM provides this feature by default. The user will be able to add n-number of tiles to the quick settings bar.
ROM: Almost all!
2. Quick Toggle on Quick Setting
This one is simple, extended feature of quick settings and timer saver for most of us. Just imagine the process of receiving a file via Bluetooth. You will have to turn on the Bluetooth, go to settings, make them visible and receive the file. What if all these can be done right under quick settings?
This is what Paranoid Android team has done recently from PA Beta 4.1 onwards. Every tile you add to the quick setting will give us more options right there.
ROM: Paranoid Android
3. PIE control
Every device these days have started a new approach in removing physical buttons and replacing them with touch controls. This is one way are other started consume unwanted display space. Also, there is this notification bar visible always. What if you get a chance to remove both of them and get a full screen for app usage without losing the actual navigation and notification functionality?
PIE control is one such feature which is getting added to most of the popular custom ROMs. Originally derived from Android stock browsers’ full screen approach, this minor feature can now give a different approach to navigate from any corner of the screen!
ROM: Paranoid Android, PACman, Carbon, Omni and few others
4. Multi Window
Maybe sometime you might come across a statement “Android isn’t made for multi-window”! However, we have seen it done quite nicely on Samsung’s TouchWiz, Sony’s Quick Apps, and more. So yes, technically, it’s possible. But Google has been resistant to bring feature from long time, even though manufacturers were able to achieve it.
Well, whatever these manufacturers have achieved so far is very much limited. Maybe splitting the screen and showing a couple of apps is not everything. Custom Rom like Omni has showcased that Android can run n-number of apps on a limited handheld device.
This feature is recently built by Omni ROM developers which is kind of an extension of PIE control but with a lot of additions. Similar to PIE control, this gets rides off on-screen navigation buttons and places a control which can be swiped from right-left to make it visible.
Added advantage with this feature is user can add n-number of shortcuts on to the switch window and can be switched to any particular without even going to the home screen or a menu list.
ROM: Carbonrom, Omni
Ever wonder having a feature which allows you to reply to whatsapp ping without even closing what you are doing in a small floating window? How amazing! This what Paranoid Android team were able to achieve. A feature called Halo just displays a small bubble which will collect all the notification user receives. When clicked on those notifications, it opens up a small popup window to take respective action against it.
ROM: Paranoid Android
7. Navigation Bar Customization
The navigation bar is not only about having a home, back, and recent app buttons. It can accommodate many more things. Even a shortcut to Facebook app. Not just that, user can even customize the navigation buttons and make it more attractive to touch every time. 😉
ROM: Almost all
8. Day Dream
Not a big deal! Isn’t it? But it isn’t.
Daydream on custom ROM allows users to showcase their beautiful thing about the phone. The user can show a set of images on day dream with effects or a simple digital clock while charging their phone. This isn’t big, but we all love day dream feature on windows OS.
ROM: CyanogenMod, Paranoid Android and others
9. Peek / Active display
When Motorola released Moto X it showcased a new way to notify the user about the notifications they received via a feature called Active Display. It is an amazing feature which needed a custom hardware. And so people thought, not possible on their devices.
But custom ROM developers like PA and Carbon have actually pulled it off by utilizing the gyroscope and proximity sensors on the phone. You pick up your device and the screen comes to life with small, minimalist icons in the center to let you know what notifications await you. Clicking on the notification will take you directly to the respective app. You can even dismiss by swiping it off.
ROM: Paranoid Android and Carbonrom
10. Hybrid Engine
Your phone is not just a phone with Paranoid Android’s hybrid engine settings. This Settings will give you the ability to change your overall UI (User Interface) to run your Android device in Phone, Phablet, or Tablet mode. The beauty of Paranoid Android Settings is that the changes are applied immediately without reboot.
With the Tablet UI enabled, you will see that the notification bar has moved to the bottom right from the top. This can be useful for many larger-screen phones like the Galaxy Note 2 or smaller-screen tablets like the Nexus 7 as it gives you the option to run your Android device in your favorite mode whether that’s Phone or Tablet mode.
ROM: Paranoid Android, JellyBAM, PACMan ROM
There are not the only features available on Android custom ROM’s. They are many and huge. But give a flexibility to showcase the power of android and enjoy its beauty of openness.
Hope you had liked this article. Spend a minute in sharing it to your friends. Especially to those who hate Android (you know whom I’m pointing to – iPhone Fanboys).