Editorial: How Long Does An Android ROM Last?

This has been a question in the back of my mind ever since I flashed my first ROM on the Samsung Captivate almost two years ago. It seems so long ago, but the question remains: how long does a ROM last? It has really come to mind while on a cross country road trip, watching my current ROM deteriorate over time.

This has been a problem across all phones I have used, be it Samsung, HTC, or Motorola. This also does not apply only to rooted phones, but seemingly to all Android phones. Now, this is purely anecdotal, and your mileage may vary, but it seems to be much less of a problem on unrooted phones. But the longer you keep the same ROM, the slower it gets.

In this case, my ROM lasted approximately 4 weeks. This is awfully short, and I’ve never had a ROM last this short of a time. It started out blazing fast, truly showing off the wonderful hardware in the Exynos-based Galaxy SII. Currently, it takes half a second between presses in Settings and the keyboard often lags. Again, a ROM has never deteriorated this fast for me before on any phone, but this strange occurrence has caused me to really think about this issue.

My girlfriends stock Motorola DROID 3 has deteriorated quite badly over time. My mothers rooted Captivate deteriorates after a few months and requires a reflash. My Galaxy SII needs a fresh start every few months too (my flashing addiction has calmed down lately). Often, wiping cache helps, but not fully. You’ll need a good factory reset to get everything working as fast as it should. Even the latest Ice Cream Sandwich bogs down, and no slower than Eclair ever did. This is strange of a consumer product. You don’t see an iPhone bogging down nearly as much (yes, it does, but not at the same rate), nor do Windows PC’s nor Macs slow to a crawl in less than a year. Google, you should change that sometime soon. You’re lucky many people don’t mind and those who do mostly know how to fix it. With Titanium Backup and root, it takes 10 minutes max, so it’s really not a big deal to me. But this shouldn’t happen in the first place.

But really, I’m curious about your experiences with this issue. Name your phone and how long a ROM lasts until it’s slower than an HTC G1 (I’m going to get so much hate for calling the G1 slow). We want to know, how long does your ROM last? And is there any way to keep away the inevitable? Tell us in the comments!

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