One of the more popular terms you’ll hear during your quest through the wide world of Android modification is kernel. Essentially, the term kernel in Android refers to the virtual bridge between the hardware of your device and the software, that also manages base services. In the more technical wording of the Android Developers Blog,
Android relies on Linux version 2.6 for core system services such as security, memory management, process management, network stack, and driver model. The kernel also acts as an abstraction layer between the hardware and the rest of the software stack.
So why would you want to change your kernel, or flash a new one? Because developers work hard to create new kernels, specific to each device, that give you better battery life, the ability to overclock to different speeds, and more. Thanks to newer app known as Kernel Manager, flashing those different kernels is now easier than ever.
Kernel Manager for rooted devices is available in two different forms: Lite and Pro. According to the Market listing, the differences in the Pro version include the following:
-Lets you flash a kernel straight from the SD card
-Will soon have the ability to flash the official nightly CyanogenMod kernel for every device
-Easy-to-use kernel filter menu, which helps users find a kernel that best suits [them]
The Lite version of Kernel Manager, which comes in at 325k, is available for select phones on 2.0 or up. The Pro version, 339k, is $3.99, and is also available for select phones on 2.0 or up. The current list of compatible phones, which is constantly growing, is as follows:
Samsung Nexus S
Samsung Epic 4G
HTC Nexus One
HTC Evo 4G
HTC Evo Shift
HTC Desire (CDMA)
HTC Desire HD
HTC Droid Incredible
If your device isn’t supported yet, be sure to keep checking back as devices are being added as quickly as possible. Today, the specific version I’ll be taking a look at is Kernel Manager Pro, 1.1.0.
The opening screen of KMP is where most of the action takes place. From here, you can view the different kernels available to download for your device, press the “More Info” button next to any kernel in the provided list to view extended information, select “Flash Kernel From SD Card,” filter kernels, or press the menu key to view the advanced options.
The kernel list is the centerpiece of Kernel Manager. Here you’ll find the kernel name, the author, the “Android Flavor” (CM7, AOSP, etc.), a download count, the more info button, and some abbreviations (which are the same as what you can filter by) that provide some quick info on the kernel.
After pressing the “More Info” button, you’re taken to a different page where you can find a detailed description of what each kernel is, and view a download count, Linux version, Android flavor, and Android version. You can also rate the stability, rate the kernel in general, and use the “Download + Flash Kernel” button, which can be changed in the advanced settings.
The filter list for kernels is set up to be slightly intimidating to novice users; there’s a list of six abbreviations, along with a recently updated filter, above “Clear Filters” and “Filter Kernels” buttons. The abbreviations are OC, UV, CFS, BFS, HAVS, SBC:
Completely Fair Scheduler
Brain F–k Scheduler
Hybrid Adaptive Voltage Scaling
Superior Battery Charging
For more information on what these terms mean, check out this excellent guide, Kernel starter guide and other information, from XDA member mroneeyedboh. In fact, before you flash any kernels at all, I encourage you to at least give it a look over.
This feature is the most self explanatory. Available only in the Pro version of Kernel Manager, you can browse your SD card and select kernels to have KM flash.
Pressing the menu key doesn’t do anything throughout Kernel Manager Pro, unless you’re at the main opening screen. If pressed from the opening screen, there’s two options to choose from: “Filter Kernels,” which just opens the kernel filter list, and “Advanced Options.”
For now, the advanced options only contains three settings. You can change whether or not the download button in the more info screen also flashes kernels you download right away, and choose whether or not to clear the cache and Dalvik cache when flashing kernels. For most users, you will always leave “Clear Cache” and “Clear Dalvik Cache” checked.
Of all the essential root-only apps to come out in a long time, Kernel Manager is one of the absolute best. If you plan on rooting your Android device and sticking with it, I can’t recommend Kernel Manager Pro enough — it’s a definite white list app.