A Tribute To All The Marshmallow ROMs
We make this transition every year, don't we? Last year it was Lollipop to Marshmallow. One year later, the tables have turned and the latter in the last sentence is the former in the next sentence. Marshmallow to Nougat, we start this journey of Nougat hoping that we would be able to find more interesting features in our favourite ROMs sooner this year. Before we take a dive into the Nougat ocean, it would only be fair to recall what Marshmallow based ROMs had to offer to us throughout the course of last year. I guess after doing about fifty custom ROM reviews, I might be able to write something good today. However, only you can decide it in the end!
Dirty Unicorns (DU)
Just as I write this, DU's final Marshmallow release, DU 10.6 would be getting compiled on some server for some unofficial device or someone just might be flashing it. Official builds were out yesterday. As stated above, DU has officially drawn curtains to Marshmallow and is already preparing the stage for Nougat to take over in the form of DU 11.x. There are no ETAs for DU 11.x though, but doing a bit of math won't hurt either. Let's do it then.
Google had released Marshmallow's AOSP code in October last year. Test builds for Marshmallow based DU were available in February, only to be followed by official ones in March. This year Google announced Nougat in August, which means that if we consider the same time Alex and his team took to cook Marshmallow based DU for us, DU 11.x might be up for testing in December and official builds may follow up in January. Hmm.., this is just an estimate, don't take it seriously. Just expect that all this math proves out to be wrong and DU releases 11.x sooner.
Coming to what DU gave us this year, frankly it was a lot. After March, the Dirty Unicorns Interface (DUI) package was a must have in each ROM. DUI bought in SmartBar, Fling and Pulse. SmartBar and Fling were the bifurcations of the navigation bar DU offered. SmartBar allows us to customise our navigation bar, which includes customising the tint color, button animation and navigation bar actions (single tap, double tap & long press). You can also add and remove navigation bar buttons at will. Fling was another great idea on how we think of our nav bars. Fling divided the navigation bar into two halves, right and left, separated by the ROM's logo. You can then customise the single tap, double tap, long press, swipe up, short swipe and long swipe gestures on both the left and the right halves. Yeah, Fling is based on gestures. Then you can also configure the ripple, trail and the logo color. Next up Pulse bought music equalisers to the navigation bar. I mean as I type this on my phone, with my earplugs humming romantic songs into my ears, the solid lines of Pulse bring a smile across my face. Those solid lines can further be divided into blocks and their spacing, width can be customised too. Sanity level settings help us in setting up what I like to call as the "aggressiveness" of the music equalisers. Initially, I did experience compatibility issues with Pulse when I used it alongside Dolby Atmos and ViPER4Android, but all of them were sorted out by the ReDUX edition of guitardedhero's installations of Dolby and ViPER. I did test out many editions of those installations, tried different music players, until everything was there as per my liking. ReDUX edition worked really well for me though. Pulse also inspired some Xposed modules too.
I just wish that DU should add the Pulse feature to the status bar as well. I somehow like it there. That Xposed module has that functionality.
Then DU also introduced the #DUCertified feature, where in they certified themes suited for the ROM. This bought in some changes in the way theme developers made their themes and all of them did try to get that certification too. So, who doesn't want a pretty ROM? DU's certification ensured that. DU then also got themselves the Arcus certification. Too much of certification in this para. Huh! #StayDirty.
The blur king, this ROM had all sorts of settings that allowed you to configure the transparency of the status bar background, quick settings panel, panel header and the notifications. I had a hard time figuring out the differences between blur scale and blur radius. However, I was able to figure that out in the end and presented to you the same in Marsh 2.0.2 review.
It was not a smooth ride for the Marsh ROM. The project was about to be shut down after Marsh 2.0, but after a change in the project owner, the project still stands. We hope that Marsh is back with Nougat builds too.
Bit lately, Marsh's blur settings have been seen in a lot of ROMs including Orion, Zephyr, AICP, XOSP and Resurrection Remix.
The all rounder ROM in my opinion, Resurrection Remix is accredited for cherry picking features from other ROMs and at the same time being original to introduce their own features. My personal favorite was Quick Setting Colors. Combine that with Action Launcher's QuickTheme and Tasker, you wouldn't be short on colors at all. Sukarn S Maini was the one to resurrect that Tasker script. Quick Theme changes the app drawer background, folders background as per the wallpaper. Now imagine having a task which automatically sets those QuickTheme colors to the Quick Settings panel too. Fucking cool in my opinion! So, in short you would be getting a launcher and Quick Settings panel that is themed as per the wallpaper you are using. If you use an app which changes the wallpaper after a regular time, then you can further automate a profile in Tasker that executes that task after that regular interval of time.
I was particularly disappointed with RR when they reduced the number of coloring options on the lock screen after RR 5.6.5. I know it sounds like a silly reason to be disappointed about, but you know, I was that time. Then we also had some lag issues in RR which were solved after 5.6.5 when the CM Drag Panel was replaced by the AOSP based panel. RR also changed it's bootanimation this year with the introduction of it's new logo.
RR being the all rounder also has the DUI and Marsh's blur personalisations. Being one of the most feature rich ROMs out there, RR was truly a gem to have.
A ROM that is a theme in itself. I mean this ROM had so many coloring options that I just couldn't help myself when I was making a one hour long review video for this ROM. Although this ROM did have support for Layers, but I seriously doubt who would have even used it.
Just to give you a brief hint of what the ROM had to offer, imagine you are using the dotted circle battery icon. You can now customise at what fraction of the circumference of the battery circle can the dots be placed. Now what do you think about that. As I mentioned for the coloring options, you have so much that you can actually call yourself a theme designer and you need to give yourself at least two hours to setup the ROM.
Cyanide did have a few problems in starting up too. It only started in May but that was after VRToxin was dissolved because of some internal disputes. But, once it started, there was no looking back at all. We had to major releases of Cyanide, 4.0 and 5.0. Kudos to Brett Rogers and Akhil Narang for getting such a great ROM out.
Paranoid Android (AOSPA)
Paranoid Android dropped in June this year. One of the most exemplary ROMs the Android community had ever seen, AOSPA's Marshmallow builds brought in some interesting features such as the floating mode and the ability to drag and drop the toggles into the Quick Settings panel.
The drag and drop feature are a part of Nougat too. I somehow believe that Nougat's QS panel was somehow inspired by the CM Drag Panel too. Anyway, Paranoid Android also had some really very interesting features inside it's inbuilt browser application too. We covered that up and all the other features which AOSPA has to offer in the video below:
Android Ice Cold Project (AICP)
Panel Porn, Multi Shit, Various Shit & "Move it you wanker". These are actually all present inside AICP 11. Before you decide to quit reading this, these are actually name to the headers under which many great settings are present. "Move it you wanker" was present under the power menu dialog customisations, power to wank, what was Davor thinking? What am I thinking? WTF! Davor Bertovic has got a nice sense of humour there, not nice maybe, but definitely his conversations with Alex Cruz sometimes seem to be. BTW, Davor is AICP's core developer and Alex is DU's core developer.
Inside panel porn, you won't be finding any new videos, but some cool innovative stroke settings. Stroke here refers to the border color of the panels which include the QS panel, volume dialog and sometime ago even the power dialog was there too. You can customise the stroke color, it's width and in the QS panel, we have the panel logo too. David had spent a huge time getting all this to work with the blur settings too.
The ROM Evolution & Some Complaints
Let's start with the complaints first. Back from Lollipop days, I found two options missing from most of the MM ROMs. The two of them being the dotted circle battery icon and double tap to sleep on the navigation bar. I strongly wish for these two to be included when Nougat based ROMs come up. Lastly, I wish for the ROMs to give me an option to choose where I can setup the trigger region for Gesture Anywhere, left or right. It is present by default on right in all the ROMs.
Some of the ROMs need to be accredited for introducing something new. I tried to highlight that in the above paragraphs too. Nameless ROM deserves a credit here for originality. They got rid of the boring colorless app optimization screen and introduced a brand new app optimization screen which was good to look at and neatly done. All the other ROMs followed suit and had this same screen in them.
If we look back, then CyanogenMod this year introduced something known as "weather providers". It is clear from the name itself that these are weather clients which provide you with the current weather and weather forecast of the desired location. What Cyanogen wanted to do with this was to give the users the freedom to choose their own weather client. Contrary to this, most of the ROMs with the exception of Mokee, chose to stick to the old clock widget in CyanogenMod which had Yahoo and OpenWeatherMap as the weather clients. Some of the users experienced issues with both of these weather clients and there were cases only when either of them worked. As a part of my reviews, I ensured that I cover up whether the weather feature is working or not. Many of the ROMs today have given up Yahoo weather and have sticked to OpenWeatherMap.
This has been a long blog post. But, I still believe that even this text can't summarise the immense efforts developers and maintainers have put in getting out various ROMs to our devices. I couldn't cover up a lot of ROMs in here. To know about the greatness of these ROMs, you can give my written reviews on Mokee ROM, AOSiP, XOSP, Slim6, Exodus, OwnROM and Zeus ROM a read. For recorded reviews, you can head over to this link.
By the start of next month, I hope that we would have stable builds of Nougat for our devices. CyanogenMod 14 is even in the making and let us hope it turns out to be great too. Cheers to the great ROMs to come up in run to Android O!
A Tribute To All The Marshmallow ROMs Reviewed by Krittin Kalra on 9/11/2016 08:29:00 pm
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