The ROM is the soul of your Ideos. It controls how the phone performs and also what hardware features are accessible. You can install a great many apps to transform your Ideos into any one of a wide range of tools, but if a feature required by an app isn’t supported by the ROM, then it wont work. For example, a good number of Ideos phones support multitouch at the hardware level. However, the standard vanilla Android ROM that runs the Ideos does not support multitouch. As a result, pinch-to-zoom that is supported by apps such as Opera Mini and Google Maps does not work.
If you want to transform the ‘personality’ of your phone, then you have to change the ROM. This is known as ROMing. There are people that ROM their new phones as standard procedure not only to access functionality that doesn’t come standard, but also to feel that they have free reign over their phones. I stayed away from such radical customization owing to the risk of bricking a perfectly working phone. Besides, it wouldn’t have served any purpose beyond feeding my curiosity. However, over time my Ideos became sluggish, and boring. I’d go for days without tinkering with it to discover a new app, or new ways to customize it. And I was getting really pissed off at the sluggishness. So one day this here guy passed by my blog and mentioned Dronix. I hadn’t heard of it before and I liked the name right off the bat. I was hooked, and I went searching.
Dronix isn’t really that unique in the sense that most of its features can be found on other ROMs. But it does have that name… and it promises a significant speed boost. Among the features that it boasts, Dronix won me over on:
- Multitouch support
- Speed boost of up to 748MHz – My Ideos was previously running at 600MHz
- SSH support – allowing me to access the files on the phone over wifi, therefore avoiding the whole USB connectivity drama.
- Responsive user forum – very useful when you get stuck on something
- Extremely good reviews – especially from people who have tried out a number of ROMs
“Yes, it’s bigger on the inside”, to quote the words of Doctor Who whenever he’s addressing a first time visitor to the Tardis. Anyone regarding the Ideos from the outside tends to dismiss it. Despite being a nice looking phone, it has characteristics that immediately put you on your guard when phone shopping. For starters, Huawei is not exactly a leading name in the smartphone market. Next up is the size. It’s small, very small. So you can be excused for being skeptical about its utility as a smartphone. Finally comes the price tag. USD 100 (KES 8,500). In Kenya it’s even cheaper when you factor in the bundled talk time and data package. Did I mention it’s unlocked? So in your mind there must be a catch. Someone somewhere is going to be having a good laugh at your expense if you buy this phone.
Here’s the thing. I’ve been having an Ideos for some time now and, well, I’m still the one laughing. There’s so much you can do with this little smartphone, you literally forget the size. All courtesy of the Android 2.2 operating system running inside it. And the best part is I haven’t had to invest in a larger SD card like I had originally planned. The 1GB card is sufficient for plenty of apps and data. What apps you ask? I love customizing any device I own, so I got down to shaping the Ideos to my preferences from the moment I unboxed it. Here’s some of what I’ve done with it: