modaco switch
Last Updated: June 2nd, 2014

Though there's a definite streak among power users to prefer Google's "pure" Android on their phones, some of the manufacturer skins from HTC and Samsung have charming features as well. Modder and ROM developer Paul O'Brien, better known as MoDaCo, has been testing a solution to give you the best of both worlds. MoDaCo.SWITCH is a dual-boot solution for power users that lets two ROMs (manufacturer stock and AOSP, for example) which share user data, allowing a seamless switch between interfaces.

In the demo of the beta version above, the SWITCH feature is pretty seamless: start the SWITCH app and the phone reboots into its secondary Android OS, complete with apps, settings, files, and user data. This is easily the best dual-boot solution we've seen yet, since previous implementations were more or less like using two phones which happened to be housed in the same hardware. It should work between any custom ROMs - the above video shows HTC Sense and the Google Play Edition ROM for the HTC One, as included in the beta, but it could just as easily be AOSP and CyanogenMod.

MoDaCo's closed beta program for the HTC One has just ended, and is now in open beta. It's only officially supported on the international GSM version of the One (installing on other versions has not been formally tested, but some users have had success on US variants). For the beta version, you'll need to be rooted, with a custom recovery and preferably S-OFF as well. If you're got all that, the installation shouldn't be a problem for root and custom ROM veterans.

switchb1-gpeswitch switchb1-gpeabout switchb1-senseswitch

Right now the only supported device for SWITCH is the HTC One, but MoDaCo is planning to expand to the Samsung Galaxy S4 as well. The team has started an IndieGoGo campaign with an extremely reasonable £1,000 goal to raise some cash for a test device. Backers can donate as little as one pound (about a buck fifty) to help out, but higher donation levels get you early access to the SWITCH ROM, premium accounts for the MoDaCo forums, and T-shirts, among other things.

Dear HTC and Samsung: feel free to steal this idea any time.

MoDaCo.SWITCH Beta Forum

SWITCH Galaxy S4 Indiegogo

Source: MoDaCo Blog

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Darshan Shah

    You don't need S-Off and it works on most GSM variations of the one. I got invited to the closed beta earlier. I have the AT&T edition without S-off. It works perfect as long as you follow the instructions and flash the S-Off package when you flash the rom.

    • Jeremiah Rice

      Thanks for the info, I'll add it to the article.

  • Lasse

    I hope he has changed his Twitter password xD

  • Merri Mogridge

    I mis-read the title the first time, mistakenly thinking the Japanese carrier DoCoMo had introduced this!

    • Darshan Shah


  • unhappybirthday

    I was a big fan of the old "Boot Manager Pro" app that allowed multi-boot of an unlimited number of ROMs (limited by SDCard space). It didn't make it far past Gingerbread and the previous generation of HTC phones. It's nice to see MoDaCo (hooray for VISIONary!) pursuing this. Probably too much to ask for the US S3 to be added....

  • wideopn11

    Great concept. This would be great way for users to test ROMs. It sounds like I could load CM, AOKP and still have stock. If I like the features in AOKP on Monday but CM adds some new feature that I want to try I don't have to wipe my phone to install CM. I could just switch to CM and if for some reason the latest nightly is too bleeding edge I could switch back without wiping my phone again.

  • Misti curia

    Cool but I think in the end the user will pick one or the other not just keep switching between the two

  • bungadudu

    I really don't see no need for this..

    If after you get accustomed to the stock s4 you take the Nexus 4 for a spin, that stock nexus experience feels like last year's.

    Same case with the HTC one.

    They have great, hard worked for interfaces, cool functions, which maybe even more than the hardware makes them the best smartphones.

    Why cripple them?

    • jonathan3579

      That's why this gives the user the best option available - choice!

  • xnifex

    Reminds me of switching between windows phone 6.5 & android on the HD2!

  • Ivan Myring

    I hope this comes to the note 3. Or at least some kind of dual boot system

  • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

    Samsung, HTC and others should make this the standard bootloader for non Nexus (Nx) devices.

    In 2013, 32GB also should the minimum internal storage standard!

    • Mandeep Singh

      All international samsung devices ship with unlocked bootloader

  • Pan Szym

    Wow, this is great :D

  • Clifford Rebelo

    Wasn't there an article not that long ago posted here with something just like this? I believe it was some people from Germany that developed it but was still in the works. I'd love to be able to use apt-x audio with the stock rom while in my car and use CM or anything else for daily use. Been wanting this for a long time! If it works with the Verizon HTC One I may have to pick it up.

  • http://www.stevenmattera.com Steven Mattera

    This sounds amazing! How does it work when installing Cyanogenmod delta updates through CyanDelta or the internal updater?

  • Danial Hassan

    can I use this on t mobile htc one