Special Report by Sean Brantley
With the New Year ringing in, we’ve heard plenty about Google’s latest treat, Gingerbread.
No matter where you turn, tech sites all over are abuzz about Android 2.3. For those of you
lucky enough to get your hands on Google’s latest device, the Samsung Nexus S, you’re already
experiencing the likes of Gingerbread. For those of you who are like me, you tend to get
impatient in waiting for the update of OS goodies. With the December release of the Android
2.3 SDK, the folks over at XDA took to the forums and posted fresh out of the developer’s
kitchen, stock Gingerbread ROM’s. I will be reviewing MicroMods STOCK Gingerbread ROM that
has surprising stability and fluidity.
Let me start first by saying this ROM is an absolute MUST for any Nexus One user who have an
itch to taste the goodies. It’s highly stable and is only getting better. This ROM will hold me over
until Android developer Steve Kondik, famously known as Cyanogen, releases his Gingerbread
ROM. It is also a ROM that I felt hesitant to flash over the highly regarded Cyanogen Mod based
off FroYo. Let’s get started after the break!
MicroMods Gingerbread ROM is based off stock and has all the same features as Android 2.3
contains. The first bit of eye candy that you will run into is the newly featured UI. Gingerbread
brings a whole new sense and feel to your phone. You will notice a change in the battery,
USB, carrier and wireless signal displays. Unlike FroYo, the status bar in Gingerbread receives
a bit of life with the addition of a different style and color indicators located at the top of your
screen. The lock screen remains the same, but gives you a gingerbread feel (if you’re running
the stock Gingerbread wallpaper). I’m not a big fan of live wallpapers, but with Gingerbread
stock live wallpaper, I am able to gloat about my goodies to other fanboys alike. MicroMod
did an excellent job porting Gingerbread to the Nexus One. He maintained the stock feel and
added in some useful applications such as Google News, Brightness level widget, and the Tesla
LED widget that enables your phone to be used as a flashlight. Some may agree to disagree as
to whether these applications should be packed in with the ROM, but that is a whole different
Once you navigate past the lock screen, you will notice that the dock bar looks much more
attractive. For those of you who use ADW or LauncherPro may laugh this off, but coming from
stock FroYo to stock Gingerbread, you tend to believe that this should have been implemented
a long time before. The phone and browser button got a new makeover. The browser in itself is
still the same, but there are significant UI changes to the phone menus. They switched it up and
went from a gray FroYo feel to a solid black and glossy gray feel in Gingerbread.
One of my favorite features is the change in the menu options. When you hit the menu button,
you are presented with the highly anticipated new menu option, manage apps. Here you are
able to manage your internal and external storage of your applications. You are able to uninstall
and stop application processes as well. The neat thing about this is, on the bottom of your
screen you are presented with how much free space you have on your internal storage or your
Moving onto another stock feature in Android 2.3 is the new Market.apk. Some of you may
already have the new Market, but there are also some of you who don’t. The new market
comes with a new fresh UI and personally, I believe it makes it a better candidate as an eye treat
than the previous version. This includes new categories for applications that the new AND old
Market.apk has. Also a neat features sliding app bar at the top of the application. Is it a neat
feature and big change? Yes and no. If you’re going to update the UI with Gingerbread, you
might as well make some changes to the Market as well! Kudos Google.
For being a custom ROM, MicroMod did a good job with the tweaks. This aspect was the front
runner of my worries before flashing this ROM. Coming from Cyanogen, I was all about speed
and fluidity. With frequent updates and tweaks by MicroMod, this Gingerbread ROM can be
easily classified as a daily driver. Screen animations are blazing and if they aren’t fast enough for
you, SetCPU can definitely aide you in that area. The application drawer springs up in an instant
and the apps are as responsive as they were in FroYo. There is a significant speed boost from 2.2
Although MicroMod has done a fantastic job in porting this ROM to Nexus One users, there are
still problems that need to be fixed. Previously there were camera issues. Video ceased to exists
and photos were grainy. This has been fixed and I can currently record and snap pictures just as I
was running FroYo. When MicroMod fixed the video capability, this disabled the ability to watch
YouTube videos in HQ. For now, it’s either one or the other. I am sure this will be fixed in the
coming days or weeks.
Unlike Cyanogen Mod 6.1.x and many other ROM’s, trackball wake has yet to be implemented
into any Gingerbread ROM’s. This is a big downturn for Nexus One users who fear the dreaded
power button malfunctioning issue. With time and the appropriate funds, I am positive that the
XDA geniuses will come through with trackball wake on Gingerbread.
The stock Gingerbread keyboard isn’t as responsive as I’d like it to be. I’ve found it to be laggy at
times (nothing major) and blazing at some. The multi-touch is nice and overall, the UI…Yes the
UI is a nice change. It is not a major issue in terms of interfering with your texting, unless you’re
a Guinness World Record holder in texting.
***Note: In regards to the trackball, there are color trackball notifications and the ability to
answer a phone call just by the pressing of the trackball.
First off let me say that MicroMod and his team did an excellent job in maintaining and fixing
common issues within this ROM. That being said, this ROM IS A DAILY DRIVER. It’s stable, fast,
fluid, and accurate in commands. The GPS has recently been fixed and I get a 1-2 second lock on
my position. My battery life is surprisingly GREAT. I would compare it to the latest stable release
of Cyanogen Mod, if not better. I don’t know about other ROM fanatics, but I got incredible
battery life off of the latest CM6 release.
With this ROM, I experience no random reboots as I did with CM6. I run my CPU at 1GHz set
on performance(for those of you who use SetCPU) all day every day, with no issues at all.
Although still in the early stages of its development, there is one thing certain, we will see plenty
of goodies and custom settings coming to a phone near you within weeks or months. With
MicroMod and his team continuing their development and other developers such as Cyanogen
and MoDaCo working close behind, Nexus One users and other Android phones abroad have
much more to look forward to.
Are you feeling left out of this tasty treat? Head over to XDA and get to flashing! This ROM can be flashed with any HBOOT and
will not brick you phone.
-You need to be rooted
-You need a Custom recovery (ClockWork or Amon-RA)
This is a Thedroidguy special community member contribution. As with all pieces on modding/romming/hacking please proceed only at your own risk. The author, nor thedroidguy can be responsible