The MIUI custom ROM has pushed the limits of creativity and customizability ever since it was unleashed a few months ago by Chinese developers, seemingly out of nowhere. At times, you can't even recognize that this is actually Android, which, I suppose, is actually a compliment to Android itself. If it didn't resemble the iPhone UI so much at times, I would have probably enjoyed it a lot more, but nevertheless, it's incredible to see what a smart group of talented people can come up with when they put their minds together.
A few days after releasing the Android 2.3 SDK, Google officially pushed Gingerbread to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Shortly thereafter, developers (such as the CyanogenMod crew) immediately started working on their custom ROMs based on the AOSP code (e.g. CyanogenMod 7).
It has only been a few days since CyanogenMod released version 6.1.1, their most recent stable update, so it's still likely to be a few weeks before a stable release of CM 7 is available.
Those of you acquainted with the inimitable Ander Webbs have been waiting for this one for a while. Once dubbed ADW Freak, the souped-up version of everyone's favourite open-source launcher has arrived, and it's now named ADW Ex.
On the surface, Ex brings ... well, it brings crazy transitions and UI effects, mainly. But underneath all that is some pretty impressive performance improvements. In a launcher, the real place where performance counts is in the drawer scrolling, and if you've been feeling that ADW is a bit laggy lately, Ex will quell your frustration with its silky smoothness.
Remember Larva Labs, the Android development team behind the awesome home replacement SlideScreen? Well, they're back and working on SlideScreen 2.0, a more advanced version of the original. With 2.0 (a beta preview is now available, get it here), things have been taken up a notch. For example, developers will now be able to write plugins using an API and release them on the Android Market - which means you no longer have to wait for the Larva Labs team to add new features.
Many people who use custom themes or launchers are familiar with WidgetLocker. What many people don't realize, though, is that customizing WidgetLocker itself is a fairly straightforward task. Better still, there are plenty of existing customizations available, meaning that you have to do little more than shove your modified .PNG files into the APK.
Before / After
It's no secret that my EVO 4G runs a custom ROM called Fresh - it is one of the best EVO ROMs, free of bloatware and full of tweaks that make it fast and efficient, while keeping stability rock solid. The developer, flipz, is very good - he's responsive to Sprint OTA updates and bug reports and usually sorts out any issues in a matter of days.
Earlier today, Kmobs updated the NexusKang live wallpaper app with the Nexus S live wallpaper background, compatibility with Android 2.3, and some bug fixes for good measure. For those unfamiliar with the app, it's pretty damn cool, letting you build customized versions of the standard Nexus live wallpaper found on the Nexus One. Users can choose their own backgrounds and even their own custom colors to fly around the screen. For a custom live wallpaper app, this one is top notch!
Take a look around Google and you can see that people are seriously peeved by the lack of notification LED in the Samsung Galaxy S line of devices (excluding the Epic 4G). Developer and i9000 owner Michael R. - better known as neldar on the XDA forums - was annoyed enough by the glaring omission that he decided to come up with a solution. The result: BLN (BackLight Notification).
The basic idea behind the app is quite simple: as there's no LED on the devices, the logical decision is to light up the soft-touch keys.