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If you own an Android phone and have noticed sluggishness or short battery life, it may be time to consider a streamlined version of the Android operating system. Before considering a modification like this, understand that tampering with your phone can give unexpected results and possibly void your phone's warranty. In order to run modified versions of Android, you must obtain access to your phone at the root level. This is done by granting superuser rights, allowing you to have full control over your phone. This is a relatively easy process, but requires a significant amount of detail which will not be covered here. You should also have a strong interest in tampering with technology as many of the modified Android releases are experimental and can be somewhat quirky. Look for informational links at the end of this article for more information on rooting your Android phone.
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What is Cyanogen Mod?
Cyanogen Mod, put simply, is a super efficient, very streamlined version of the Android operating system. Developed by Cyanogen (Steve Kondik), Cyanogen Mod is constantly being improved and tweaked, with new versions released almost daily. It is available for free, but requires a rooted Android phone. Cyanogen Mod offers many features that will greatly extend the capabilities of your phone. Features such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB tethering, the ability to run applications from your microSD card, overclocking the processor, multitouch functionality and many others become available when running Cyanogen Mod. Cyanogen Mod uses Froyo for the user interface, which is extremely sleek in both look and feel, and includes many customization options to tweak your phone exactly how you like. Since Cyanogen runs efficiently, expect to have increased battery life on your Android phone.
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Cyanogen Mod uses the Froyo Interface for navigating your way around Android. The most noticeable thing about Froyo is the speed. I would go so far as to say that Froyo has increased the speed of my HTC Hero by 5 times. This is accomplished through Froyo's just-in-time-compiler that translates Android and application code into a form your phone can understand more easily. Navigating Froyo is similar to most other interfaces with multiple screens you can switch to with a swipe of your finger or by moving the trackball. One feature that stands out is the ability to set the number of screens, from 3 to 7, and set a specific screen as default. Froyo includes a handful of widgets such as a clock and calendar.
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To Root or not to Root
Rooting your phone to unlock advanced features and the ability to run modified ROM's like Cyanogen Mod can be a great experience. I strongly suggest that you feel comfortable toying with technology and know the risks that modding your Android phone can bring before you dive in. Modifying your phone is a relatively easy process, but skipping or doing a step wrong could turn your Android phone into a paper weight. To help you decide check out 5 Reasons to Root your Android Phone and 5 Reasons you Shouldn't Root your Android Phone.