Editorial: The Root and ROM Flashing World Isn’t Worth It Anymore

Just about 2 years ago, in 2010 (seems like such a long time ago, no?), I purchased my first Android device. After playing with my friends DROID, I needed to have one of my own, and purchased a Samsung Captivate. At the time, it was the super phone to have. It featured the original Super AMOLED display, a 1GHz processor, a 5MP camera, and I could not have been more happy.

Prior to that, I was an iOS guy. I owned the iPhone 3GS before the Captivate, and the difference was night and day. The Captivate was capable of so much more, with integration to Google services like nothing I’d ever seen. But that wasn’t enough. I wanted more.

About a month or so after I got my Captivate, I took interest in the world of rooting phones and flashing ROMs. My 3GS was jailbroken for the majority of the time I owned it, and I figured it would be more or less the same on Android. That was my first mistake. After about an hour of getting my Captivate rooted, I started to look into flashing my first ROM. The moment finally came, I flashed the ROM, but there was one mistake: I forgot to back everything up. Long story short, I screwed up the first time, with nothing but a sour taste left in my mouth.

Over time I got the hang of things, and about 15 Android devices later I hit a point. I no longer had any desire to root a phone. There was a time where I was buying, selling and trading Android phones like there was no tomorrow. Most of the time I would get them pre-rooted, from outlets like XDA. With each new device came a new set of ROMs, and I almost felt obliged to try them all. Android itself was not enough for me. It was either too slow, there were features offered through a different ROM, or a new mod only worked with a certain ROM. And there was not a single ROM that did not have one flaw or another.

I could not be pleased.

Anyone who is familiar with flashing ROMs will know that it is simple enough, but comes at a cost. There’s always backups to be made, apps to be installed, and accounts to be synced. As time went on, I got more and more busy, making flashing a ROM more of a chore than anything. I no longer had time for it, and made the realization: is Android really worth it if I have to modify it, just to make myself happy?

And I finally made the decision: if I need to root it to make it usable, then it is not worth it to me.

That decision has worked out very, very well for me over the past few months. Starting with the Galaxy Nexus, Android was finally ready for me. Sure, there were a few instances where the device would get bogged down, and my urges to flash a new ROM would return. I fought them off. Manufacturers seemed to fix even that slightest bit of lag, as shown by the Samsung Galaxy S III, the HTC  One X, and even the Pantech  Marauder. Custom UIs fixed the lag, and did not add to it.

Jelly Bean made Android smooth, and I haven’t had an urge in the slightest to root my Nexus 7. I’ll touch back on this again towards the end of the year, but for now, Google and its manufacturers are doing something right.

image via IntoMobile

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