CyanogenMod CM7: Teach your old Droid New Tricks

CyanogenMod CM7: Teach your old Droid New Tricks

Summary: CyanogenMod CM7 brings Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" to a wealth of devices, including the original Motorola Droid.

TOPICS: Mobility, Android, Google

CyanogenMod CM7 brings Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" to a wealth of devices, including the original Motorola Droid.

Has your Android smartphone's OS gotten long in the tooth? Thinking about upgrading to a new device mid-contract, but can't bear the thought of getting hit with a nasty "early upgrade" fee and paying full retail? Do you want to try the latest features of Android Gingerbread? Then maybe CyanogenMod is for you.

If you've been closely watching the Android space, you're probably aware that Google has recently released version 2.3 "Gingerbread" of its smartphone operating system, which currently only ships on the Samsung Nexus S phone.

Carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are taking their sweet time getting out updates for current model and older model phones such as the HTC EVO 4G, The Droid Incredible, The Droid X and even the original Motorola Droid.

Many of these phones, such as the Motorola Droid which was released back in November of 2009, will probably never see "Official" carrier builds of Gingerbread -- they'll be stuck on Froyo 2.2 forever. The Gingerbread release will be reserved primarily for new models.

However, if you're willing to live a bit on the edge, these devices can be injected with new life and new software, through 3rd-party Android ROM implementations. One of the most popular of these community-driven Android firmware upgrades, CyanogenMod, has recently started releasing nightly builds of beta releases of their Android 2.3 implementation, CM7.

If you own a device supported by CyanogenMod then you can enjoy the benefits of this software.

However, before you can install CyanogenMod, you have to "root" or "Jailbreak" your phone.

Depending on the type of phone you have, this could be as easy as downloading a simple Windows application that you use to connect to your device via USB to run a rooting procedure (aka "Superoneclick" for the Motorola Droid, Samsung Captivate and Nexus One or Unrevoked for various HTC devices) or a more complex procedure that involves flashing your device with a special "recovery" ROM that unlocks the device.

The CyanogenMod wiki has comprehensive instructions for rooting supported devices, such as the Motrola Droid. Another good resource on rooting is the XDA-Developers discussion forum. It should be noted that rooting your phone voids your manufacturer's warranty. However, if your device is a year old or even older, then it's no longer much of a concern, since your warranty coverage is over.

Once this root procedure is complete, you simply download the ROM Manager application from the Android Market. The free version of ROM Manager permits the updating of your device to "Stable" versions of CyanogenMod, such as CM6, which is a highly-modified implementation of Android 2.2 "Froyo".

Installing the ROM Manager will also install Clockwork Recovery, which adds additional functionality to your device's bootloader and permits ROM backup as well as ROM firmware installation by ROM Manager. From the ROM Manager UI, you can back up your existing "rooted' ROM with all of your application data or even revert to original stock factory ROMs.

To get access to CM7, you'll need the "Nightly Builds" which requires purchasing the Premium version of ROM Manager for $5. Installing CM7 is simple -- choose "Download ROM", choose "CyanogenMod Nightlies" and then pick the current build.

This will then spawn a Downloader process that runs in the background, which could take upwards of 10-15 minutes depending on how busy the CyanogenMod download servers are.

As of this writing, CM7 was at Build #3, and even though it is considered beta, I've found it to be quite stable and use it on a daily basis without issues.

The Downloader will also prompt you if you want the Google Apps -- you'll want to say "Yes" to this. Additionally, when prompted, flush your cache. When the Downloader has finished pulling down the new firmware, it will automatically reboot your device, flash the new firmware, and boot into CM7.

Have you taken the jump into CyanogenMod yet? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Google


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • RE: CyanogenMOD CM7: Teach your old Droid New Tricks

    Sweet... seriously thinking about throwing this on my Nexus One...
    • RE: CyanogenMOD CM7: Teach your old Droid New Tricks

      I looked at this, and it was nice, but Myn's Warm 2 plus 2 is far, far superior in almost every way. It is even better than raw Gingerbread itself and really makes one wonder how Apple will compete with its rapidly aging iOS platform.
      Reggie Middleton
      • RE: CyanogenMOD CM7: Teach your old Droid New Tricks

        @Reggie Middleton Big fan of Warm 2.2. Can't wait to see what Myn does with Gingerbread.

        Still considering giving Cyanogen a go, but I doubt I'll ditch Warm for good.
    • RE: CyanogenMOD CM7: Teach your old Droid New Tricks

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    • RE: CyanogenMOD CM7: Teach your old Droid New Tricks

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  • love it

    I am using it right now and love it!
  • Will give it a try. Samsung Galaxy S Captivate

    Wish me luck.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
    • RE: CyanogenMOD CM7: Teach your old Droid New Tricks

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate
      Keep us posted!
  • HTC Desire install wasn't so great

    I tried it on my Desire... some acore service kept consistently crashing and throwing up annoying error messages. I reverted back to Cyanogen 6... Will wait for a more stable version. :D
    • RE: CyanogenMOD CM7: Teach your old Droid New Tricks

      @geqo7@... i have exactly the same device as you .
      after one week of purchase, i rooted it using unrevoked, made a clean install of cm7 and now it works super fast. no crashes as in original froyo+sense.
      just do a fresh and clean install.
  • Says who?

    <i>"It should be noted that rooting your phone voids your manufacturers warranty."</i><br><br>I'm sorry but my warranty from Samsung does not expressily state that gaining root access will void your warranty. In fact such a stipulation may run afoul of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1976. Per the act the warrantor can only deny a warranty if it can be shown by the warrantor that the consumer damaged the product with either unreasonable use or due to a lack of, or improper, maintenance. The key word here is "damage" to the product. The act of rooting your phone does not fall under either of these catergories.
    • RE: CyanogenMOD CM7: Teach your old Droid New Tricks

      @MisterMiester Exactly. I was thinking the same thing. Phones can be unrooted as easily as they can be rooted. The ROM developers make a big deal about the warranty because they are afraid that people are going to blame them if something goes wrong.
    • RE: CyanogenMOD CM7: Teach your old Droid New Tricks

      Yes and no. Rooting modifies the devices original approved software. Lets say you go to root and your phone and it bricks. Warranty will not help you as you used an used unapproved not factory software that was tested by the maker.There are also in the fine print parts that say any cahnge or manipulation which basically causes a failure will be left up to the manufacturer to decide meaning if they think you changed it they can deny warranty.
      • You don't understand Magnuson-Moss


        No, under Magnuson-Moss any ambiguous terms are a strike again the warrantor. The manufacture cannot arbitrary deny your warranty because you rooted your phone. Yes they can deny warranty service if the use of such software not released by them damages the phone, but that's for ANY software product. The warranty itself is still not voided, only the services for the damages that were caused by you will not receive a remedy. The act of rooting the phone does not violate any warranty unless it clearly states this in the warranty documentation.
      • RE: CyanogenMOD CM7: Teach your old Droid New Tricks

        @MisterMiester Maybe I am not understanding it correctly but what you said just sounds like semantics to me. You state that only the services for the damages that were caused by the unauthorized software would be excluded from the warranty. If you brick your phone while doing this would they not be able to deny services to rectify the issue based one what you said. Wouldn't that essentially void the warranty because they phone is bricked and they don't have to get it back up and running? I could be wrong but that was my take on what you said. Of course, I think if somebody is going to root their phone they should know enough to get it back to stock before hand.
      • Magnuson-Moss Not Hard to Understand, People.

        @Fletchguy:<br><br>Your paraphrasing demonstrates only that you understand Verizon's claims--they do not describe actual law. While the original may be written in legalese, Verizon is not free to establish such rules arbitrarily.<br><br>Carriers are free to continue to make such claims only until they have been contested and decided in a venue of high enough standing to establish precedent (e.g., the Supreme Court). Insofar as the only relevant federal statues are described by 15 U.S.C. 2301 et seq., they would need to get the law reversed by a Tea Party Congress if they expect such claims to survive even a civil suit.<br><br>@ "Non-Biased":<br><br>Ever notice it's the most strident advocates for one side or another that feel compelled to publicly declare their neutrality (e.g., Fox News - "Fair and Balanced")??<br><br>There is more you fail to understand than MisterMiester's argument if you can use a phrase like "just sounds like semantics" about a legal document. Nevermind the fundamental meaning of your Droid's warranty--its value (to both manufacturer and purchaser) is invested entirely in the way it is worded. As MisterMiester has correctly pointed out, the rules proscribing the way a warranty must be written and effected are established by another legal document--U.S.C. Title 15 Chapter 50 (FTC Improvement Act, a.k.a. Magnuson-Moss).<br><br>Just in case you have a typical Fox viewer's education, allow me to give you a little background:<br><br>Magnuson-Moss is commonly invoked with regard to automobile repairs--a manufacturer is not allowed to void a car's warranty just because its owner has installed aftermarket parts.<br><br>Introduced by Senator Warren Magnuson (D-WA) between dates with heiresses and cover models, it was signed into law by President Gerald Ford (R-MI) January 4, 1975. The Federal Trade Commission was given six months to prepare for it--the law went into effect July 4, 1975.
        Science--It Works, Bitches.
  • Funny how a phone that is no more than 1 year old is now &quot;OLD&quot;

    Android phones somehow become obsolete in less than a year. Thank Google for releasing updates every other month and (most of) the manufacturer for no providing OS updates for their products.
    • RE: CyanogenMOD CM7: Teach your old Droid New Tricks

      Preaise google for the updates and B1tch at the providers for not updating like they should. it's to bad that the NexusS isn't as good as it could be, because vinilla android beats manufacturer versions every time
    • RE: CyanogenMOD CM7: Teach your old Droid New Tricks

      @wackoae I think the onslaught of Android based phones the past year or so has been a bit of a double edged sword. It's great to see the capabilities of these phones grow at such a rapid pace but it also means that everything because obsolete that much quicker. Then add the fact that manufacturers and carriers are not getting update out fast enough if at all and you just compound the issue.
  • RE: CyanogenMOD CM7: Teach your old Droid New Tricks

    I rooted my MyTouch3G with CyanogenMOD about 3 months ago and haven't had a single issue with it. In fact, I wish I hadn't waited so long to do it. It's great to finally have access to Gmail Priority Inbox, camera tweaks, and other stuff like the cool kids already have. My only niggle is that the phone's boot time is insanely long now, but that's a small price to pay for access to extra features.