According to the fact that there are no impressive game releases these days and I have a small amount of time left in my spare time, I was digging a little the Android scene. My main intention was to get some hands on on the latest Android – Codename “Ice Cream Sandwich” – and see how it works in my phones. The HTC Desire S and the Motorola Defy.
I tried the Virtuous Quattro RC3 and the CyanogenMod 9 Alpha builds for the HTC Desire. The Defy got stuffed with the experimental builds of CyanogenMod 9 as well.
At first glance, for all devices, ICS looks amazing and the overall redesign looks very homogenic and a lot of obstacles in the menu structure has been ridden. When you’re used to Android and use it for quite a long time, you’ll find yourself in a re-orientation situation. But ICS is very user friendly and now, in my opinion, on the same level with Apple’s iOS.
Virtuous Quattro RC3 was one of the first ROMs I installed and my impression was, ‘Yeah, looking gooood.’ But in the end, the speed and smoothness of this ROM was terrible. And even though it was an RC it felt more like a fast pushed alpha version. It had several bugs like the clock crashing and syncs that did not sync. All in all, it looked cool, but it felt awful.
CyanogenMod 9 for the Defy was, because it was alpha, the same buggy experience, but it felt usable, except for the camera, but that’s a problem on lot of devices. I was expecting that this ROM would not work completely fine and that it would be another first look thing. Anyhow, despite the slow performance can I say, that the CM team is definitely on the right way and without a doubt, the old Defy is capable running ICS.
Last but not least, I installed the alpha build of CyanogenMod 9 on my Desire S. I tried the builds from January 27 and 30. The first one had almost the same low performance like the Quattro ROM, but the nightly build of January 30 runs almost smoothly and came pretty close to what you are used to with CyanogenMod 7.x
Only one camera is currently working on the Desire S. With the latest release I got some issue with syncing Facebook to my contact list. This ROM still’s got the issue that WiFi is not running fine with certain router/access points and various encryptions. The issue is well known in many bug reports, even for stock ROMs and I was hoping for a final fix. Bummer!
As a summarization can I say, the AOSP ICS developers have done a great job so far and I’m so dead certain that CyanogenMod 9 will be a giant hit. On the other hand, there’s still a long road to walk till it’s time to announce the first beta releases and it’s even further more away to announce a real release candidate. Lots of RCs that you can find these days for many devices are quick born, badly supported ROMs that you should only use when you like to do some bug fixing or if you’re just interested in Android Ice Cream Sandwich.
I personally switched back to CyanogenMod 7.2 on my Defy and will also switch back to Reaper (CM7 derivate) on my Desire S.