While designing Robin, the team wanted the phone to be developer friendly and open to hacking and modding. We kept the bootloader unlockable so people could enjoy flashing custom ROMs and software to make their Robin completely unique.
PSA: If you unlock you bootloader and flash a custom ROM and somehow brick your device. WE WILL COVER IT.
For those of you who might not know, Steve Kondik AKA Cyanogen created CyanogenMod (CM) several years ago starting from Cupcake and recently brought up CM13 (Android 6.0.X Marshmallow) on Robin. The ROM itself had a boatload of features not found in typical, out-of-the-box, Android software and has evolved tremendously from community contributions and from ROMs based off of CM. If you’re an Android enthusiast, you might have tried it at one point or another. But if you’re asking, “Why bother?”, then you most likely haven’t and need to join my class, CM101. Below, I will go through the different settings that make CM unique.
Stock Android look and feel
Robin has a only a slightly skinned ROM to tie in with our branding and colors. It is more like stock Android than most OEMs have gone with. But if you want a more Nexus-like feel, Cyanogen has that (Dark settings! WOo!)
Quick settings tiles are editable
Sometimes getting to the Quick Setting tiles you want, or a specific setting isn’t as fast as it could be. CM13 tries to solve this by allowing users to edit the tiles. A long pressor tap opens the setting, but by tapping “Edit Tiles” you can easily rearrange the tiles to your preference.
Notification Drawer: Tap the time and it opens the Clock app. Tap the date and it opens Calendar.
Unlink the Ringer and Notification sound
Okay, this might seem like it’s not a big thing. But sometimes you just want to not be bothered by Notifications, BUT you want to hear phone calls, or the other way around. You can’t do that on a stock ROM. Having this option is really great and once you get it set up, you’ll be glad you flashed a custom ROM on your phone.
Display customizations - There are a bunch!
Some of the best things about CM is the ability to customize your display. Within the Display settings there are quite a few that you can change up to make your experience different. For instance, everyone’s heard of how blue light can affect your sleep. Here, you can enable the LiveDisplay option to provide a filter of sorts to make reading easier at night. You can even make it automatic so based on the time of day, the screen will tint differently. In addition to this, you can calibrate the colors on the screen to be warmer or cooler.
Another option I really like is double tap the status bar to sleep function. It’s a really easy way to turn the screen off without having to press the power button. One of the thing that modders like to do is use important hardware less often to maintain their device longer. This is one of those ways.
One function I really enjoy is the LCD density function. I like having more space on the homescreen so setting it at 400 is still readable, but affords more room.
The last thing from the Display setting is the Lights customization. For one thing, when you plug the phone into the charger, you can enable the LED lights to indicate the level of charge. You can also really customize the Notification LED too and that means changing the pulse length and speed, brightness level, and how they behave with missed calls and voicemails.
Of course, CM fans love themes, and with a CM ROM, you have access to thousands of custom themes that other modders have created. When you go into the Play Store, you can download any number of themes for CM. Just search “CM13 theme” and you’ll find a bunch! In the screenshots below, I’ve got Dark Regression downloaded and applied. I love dark themes and this looks pretty slick. A number of apps as well as the notification menu and settings are skinned black with white text.
Status Bar Customizations
Customization also can be done to the status bar. In this menu, you can change the location of the clock, and hide notification icons if you wish. Another thing I enjoy is changing the battery to the circle icon with the percentage inside. You can even change how the quick pulldown works so that on the right side of the screen, you have access to the quick settings, versus the double pull that you would find on stock ROMs.
And it doesn’t stop there…check out the camera
The CyanogenMod camera has lots of functionality and the UI is pretty upfront with the settings and other presets. The camera performs well and you can definitely play around with the different manual functions that are normally hidden in Robin's stock camera.
CyanogenMod is just the beginning!
Customization with Android is near limitless. You can use widgets, launchers and apps to take your phone even further. Steve Kondik started something really special with CyanogenMod and the community has taken it to extreme levels. This is just a glimpse of the things you can do with this ROM. There are other ROMs out there (ones we’ll soon see for Robin) that have unique features you’ll find really amazing too. If you feel like taking the plunge and want to flash CyanogenMod 13 on your phone, follow this thread: CyanogenMod 13 ROM or check out the Wiki.