I finally got the guts to root and install a custom ROM (gROM) on my daughter's phone since she had accepted Sprint's software updates (rev. ZVD and later ZVH) before I could stop her. (The rest of the family refused the updates and stayed on Sprint's rev. ZVC so that we could enjoy free Hotspot capability through Quicksettings-- a loophole that Sprint closed starting with their revision ZVD.)
For all my fear about the difficulty and time consumption that might be involved, it was really quite easy thanks to THIS GUIDE
, and thanks to a relatively new ridiculously easy-to-use, PC program (Opti-auto-sdx.exe) that roots the phone and installs the Xonia CWMA custom recovery if you simply download the program to your PC, launch it, and select option "A"
. (If you push the power, volume-down, & home buttons to start the phone, the Xonia custom recovery module will greet you. Xonia lets you do things like backup & restore your current ROM, apps, & settings, and load new custom ROMs. It's pretty intuitive and has a lot of safeguards built-in to keep you from doing something stupid.) The Xonia custom recovery even has its own, built-in menu option for going back to stock recovery and unrooting. You may want to check out my suggested revisions to the guide at post #32
before trying the whole process of rooting and installing a custom ROM.
Then (although it's not listed in the guide) I think that the best thing for most peole is to install Titanium Backup (free from the Android-Market/Play-Store) and do a batch back-up all of your apps and data (which includes your settings) so that you can easily restore them onto the new custom ROM (without having to manually download them from the Market/Play-Store and manually enter your settings.
Then (for safety as mentioned in the guide) do a Nandroid backup (which is an option from the Xonia custom recovery menu) that creates a ROM image of the current state of your phone on your SD card so that you can always boot back to your current ROM image later if you don't like the new custom ROM that you install. If you restore your Nandroid image, your phone will go back to being exactly
the way it was before you loaded the custom ROM. So you need not fear about getting stuck on some buggy, custom ROM.
Then you download and install a custom ROM. (HydroROM & gROM both seem like excellent choices. It's easy to change ROMs and restore your apps & settings within about 5 minutes so I tried them both.)
Then you go into the Android Market/Play Store, download Titanium backup (free app) and do a batch restore of all your apps and data.
That's it!!! Your apps, settings, and data appear on a new system ROM that performs better (faster with more memory available for apps). If you don't like the ROM, try another one or go back to your stock ROM.
HydroROM and gROM both work fine. (After playing with both, my daughter and I both preferred HydroROM slightly.) Both ROMs have WiFi Tether built-in, which works well (in adhoc mode and should be fine for most people). If you really need infrastructure (i.e. AP mode or Hotspot mode) that works well too, but you have to do this fairly easy workaround
. Adobe Flash is pre-installed on gROM but you can easily install Flash onto HydroROM FROM HERE
and it works just as well. Flash websites work pretty nicely with either ROM, thanks in part to the ability to use automatic-on-demand overclocking-- up to 806MHz compared to our stock 600MHz using an app called "No Frills CPU Control". (That's a 34% speed increase!) gROM includes the "No Frills" app, but if you choose HydroROM, you can download it (for free) from the Android Market/Play Store.
"Angry Birds: Space" used to hang/freeze on my daughter's Optimus S before I rooted it and installed a custom ROM, but that game plays fine now (on both gROM and HydroROM).