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Last Updated: July 24th, 2011

Yesterday, we broke the news that CyanogenMod 6 Alpha 1 was released to the public. Having successfully installed it on an AT&T Nexus One, we can now give you the lowdown on what this release (so far) contains.

User Interface

Essentially, users can expect an experience that will not stray too far from what CyanogenMod 5.08 changed in terms of the UI. An updated version of ADW Launcher does provide a few enhancements, though. Namely, tilt-sensing home screens are now a default feature.

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This is good news for everyone. Given that most touch screen phones are easier to type on and hold with two hands in the landscape format, home screens to match are a welcome addition to the overall experience. Another ADW feature, though not enabled by default, is the Samsung Galaxy S style app drawer; shown below, it allows you to scroll through pages of apps like home screens, from left to right. Also the recent apps list has been upated.

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Generally speaking, though, users will find few UI differences in CyanogenMod 6 from 5.08; most of them resulting from the update of ADW Launcher to version 0.9.

Apps and Marketplace

Cyanogen is using the updated FRF85 version of the Google Apps package for CyanogenMod 6. This updated package appears to include Twitter by default, as well as the latest versions of the various Google-developed apps. CyanogenMod 6 contains the updated features for the Android Market as well; supporting manual or automatic updating, as well as support for applications with Apps2SD enabled by their developers (The Froyo native Apps2SD method), as shown below.

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For whatever reason, the CyanogenMod team has temporarily removed the “old” Apps2SD method previous CyanogenMod releases utilized, which allowed any application to be moved to the SD card. It is currently unknown whether it will return in later releases of CyanogenMod. Cyanogen has also added the supremely useful ROM Manager to this release as a standard application. Standard dev tools and a terminal emulator are also, as usual, included. It does not appear this release supports retrieval of your previously installed apps via your Google Account (At least on a fresh install).

One app that is not included but is certainly going to be high on your must-download list, Adobe Flash, is available in the Market on CyanogenMod 6. Screens below of the Market page, and a Flash test page/version check from Adobe.

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Performance and Settings

While we can’t provide any videos showing CyanogenMod 6 in action currently, I can tell you it is fast. Boot times are drastically reduced, hovering around 30 seconds from power on to home screen. Froyo’s general speed improvements seem to have made a noticeable difference in overall performance, as well. Navigating from app to app is smoother than it has ever been on CyanogenMod. I’ve also noticed that turning the WiFi radio on and off is far snappier than it was previously. We’ve posted results from a common performance benchmarking app as well, below.

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Currently CyanogenMod 6 has few of its own custom settings embedded into the mod, though more are likely to follow. The often-requested trackball screen wake and unlock setting has been added to this release. For Nexus One and other trackball device users, it’s a handy function.

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Anything Else?

If it’s a Froyo feature, CyanogenMod 6 probably has it. Built-in tethering, the long-awaited update to the gmail app, greater Exchange support, the list of Froyo features obviously goes on and on. At this point, it does not look like Cyanogen has chosen to exclude any particular Froyo features from CyanogenMod 6.

Running CyanogenMod 6 Alpha? Have any bugs to report? Features we missed? Let us know below!

David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • miked

    What's that benchmark app? It seems to be pretty standardized for the community but no one ever mentions the name.

  • Kane

    So why should I be using CM6 alpha vs the stock final Froyo? I see the difference between Eclair due to Froyo but what's the difference between Froyo and CM6?

  • n8dyddy

    dude, Google Apps were included in the alpha build because the alpha is nothing official. Google Apps (Market, Gmail, YouTube, etc) will never be included within an official CyanogenMod release. What version of Google apps (FRF84B, etc) you choose to use is totally up to you. So mentioning those features about Market and Gmail have nothing to do with CM

    • David Ruddock

      This release of Google Apps only works on devices running on Android 2.2, so yes, it is in a way a new feature of CM6, if you want to be technical, it is "support" for the newest version of Google apps. Regardless, it is something CM5.08 users cannot experience, but CM6 users can.

      • n8dyddy

        I understand what you're saying. Yes it does offer support for the new Gapps.

        I'm not trying to dog your article. Expect a whole lot more though in CM6. They're still working hard and it still has a lot more features and goodies to come =)

  • Anonymeuse

    Running great on my N1. I wanted to add that after a full wipe (data, cache, dalvik) Google did grab all of my old applications.

  • CoZ

    So, I guess if I am running a non-rooted N1, I should hold out for the "final" release? As Froyo has been giving me NOTHING but PROBLEMS lately. Re-booting, slow to start, icons missing, slow performance..etc..etc..etc...

    • MRCUR

      You're doing it wrong...

  • wcs2

    How is battery performance?

  • http://www.compressionstockings.com/cep.php CEP Socks

    Looks pretty sweet. The horizontal home screen is clutch. Me likey!