Manufacturers of Android smartphones often won't provide an updated, custom version of the operating system for models they no longer sell, so users can't take advantage of new features. For older phones, there's a workaround: CyanogenMod, a free OS built from the source code for the latest versions of Android that Google releases to developers. CyanogenMod is very similar to the official Android platform, but it includes a few extra features, such as Wi-Fi tethering, a screenshot tool, and more security and power-management settings. Many users also say it runs faster than their phone's original Android software.
To upgrade, users usually have to back up the original operating system and then "root" the phone, or disable the security settings that protect its OS from being modified, using a program such as SuperOneClick (free; shortfuse.org). Keep in mind that installing the system incorrectly could render the phone inoperable, and that running an unofficially supported OS could void the phone manufacturer's warranty.
Though rare, official updates for certain older-model Android phones have come out after the release of the CyanogenMod community's version. Check the phone manufacturer's site to see if an update is available before installing CyanogenMod.
Howard Wen is a technology reporter.
A little more information would be great. I have an HTC EVO 4G from Sprint. It has been on their EOL lis for a while now and I haven't seen any indication that they are working on Ice Cream Sandwich for this model. I have been considering rooting, but I have some concerns. I don't want to brick my phone. Are there any tips or things to avoid while rooting my phone? I have also heard that my phone may be less secure after I root it. Do you suggest any apps I should download or steps I should take once I do root my phone?
after root you should pay particular attention to what apps give you access to. The last thing you want is to delete a system app and brick your phone. Also, look into rooting your phone and the permissions you get access to. You might not be able to do a whole lot of anything after a root, I've rooted a phone and the only thing I could do was change the OS. Finally, don't worry about ICS for your phone if
you're not too sure as to what the root does for you
how it is accomplished or
troubleshooting should root go wrong.
as for apps, I recommend the following after root
LBE privacy gaurd
AntTek App manager
Titanium back up
also look into using google to store all your contacts, after root a routine contact backup by your carrier may wipe out all of your contact information.
hope this helps
Go to the XDA Developers site and find your phone. Typically there will be a complete instruction set with download links to both root and install a new rom. On my phone after root you install recovery which does just that, it backs up whatever rom is on the phone and if something happens you can boot into it and restore the image. New roms are copied to the sd card as a zip file and in recovery you simply load from zip and in about a minute you have a new rom. Why do this, well typically the developers remove all the bloatware from the phone so it runs faster, uses less battery and you can use software that requires superuser permission.
I had an old phone Motorola Milestone (Driod 1) and they stopped the update after 2.2..
I moved to CM7 and now i have a 2.3.7(higher then current officially updated ginger breads),with over clocking and other features which give me extra ram and internal memory.
Now my phone runs at 800/1000 MHZ compared to 550 MHZ and its much faster then before.
Now there are already beta updates available for CM9(4.0) for my phone!!!
why, mr. Anderson, why, why do you persist?
Because I Choose To...
Yep, Android is just a better choice.... than anything else available, despite their service track record....
Android Forums is another good place for information on phone models, rooting them, etc.