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12 best firmware for Android phone

The advantage of Android is that it is an open source operating system, which makes it possible to develop custom builds of the OS, or firmware based on its source code. They keep the OS running and add new features. The main reason for their appearance is the refusal of companies to update their devices 2-3 years after their launch. Third-party firmware speeds up the work of outdated smartphones and tablets, expands functionality, and protects against malware.

Good firmwares are immediately recognizable by an active community and user support, unlike many official OSes. Smartphones become obsolete very quickly, manufacturers stop supporting them, you have to buy a new generation smartphone. Another reason is that the functions of the standard operating system are limited. Read the article to the end and find out about the best firmware for Android.

LineageOS

Firmware LineageOS started out as CyanogenMod. Back in the fall of 2016, Cyanogen Inc. announced that it was stopping development and closing this area. But the developer community has kept the project alive by changing the name to Lineages.

Lineage has a compact launcher, a full-featured camera app, several pre-installed apps (which don't take up much memory space), different volume profiles. And most importantly, Lineage makes old smartphones fast again.

Built on top of Google's AOSP code and adding its own custom code to it, LineageOS runs as a standalone OS, officially supporting over 160 smartphone models from Samsung, HTC, Motorola, LG, Xiaomi, OnePlus and more. This project has the largest development team.

The OS includes features that are not limited to customizing the notification bar, changing the overall theme, editing the navigation bar, etc. Google's AOSP is a skeleton, LineageOS helps it build muscle.

Paranoid Android

Paranoid Android is one of the recognized firmware. The development team brings everything to perfection with minimal use of smartphone computing resources. There are few options and settings compared to other firmware, but there is a unique hover mode: viewing and interacting with notifications from any screen (later it was integrated into AOSP as part of Heads-up notifications). The non-standard approach of developers to improvement has already allowed Google to transfer several of its options to their devices.

In the summer of 2016, updates for Paranoid ceased. Since June 2017, they began to appear again, the developers promised to release them more often. After a hiatus, this firmware is better than ever, officially supporting Nougat and Oreo 8.0 on Nexus, Pixel, OnePlus, Sony, Oppo and more devices. Compared to LineageOS, Paranoid offers an easier OS update.

MIUI

This is the most global project from the mobile device developer Xiaomi. MIUI is one of the biggest success stories of the last decade. Despite the fact that the declared basis is Google's Android OS, in fact it is a standalone firmware that uses only its shell.

MIUI can even be installed on an iPhone. All applications are visible on the main screen, the interface is very bright. MIUI battery life is the highest to date. Although MIUI is only officially used on a few devices (Xiaomi, Huawei, Meizu, Oppo, Moto), it has been unofficially applied to many other smartphones from well-known manufacturers as well.

FlymeOS

Those who are not interested in technological innovations from China are most likely unaware of the existence of FlymeOS. In fact, this is the official OS, installed on a number of Meizu smartphones. Originally developed for Meizu, the project has been adapted to other OEM devices as well.

FlymeOS acts as a direct competitor to MIUI, but the interface is almost identical. The built-in set of tools is unique: compass, ruler, settings switches directly from the main menu and others. This operating system has its own Security Center providing support for FlymeOS.

Finally, this assembly comes with the mBack key. If you're bored with the look of Android and MIUI looks too simple for you, you might like FlymeOS. It officially supports Marshmallow, but just a couple of weeks ago there was a build with Nougat. The development of the project is gradual, but it exists, so you can be sure of its future.

XOSP

The Sony Xperia line was a completely different version of Android that users liked. The video and sound quality was really good. Xperia Open Source Project (OSP) has a number of useful settings and features that allow you to achieve the same high quality sound and video. Use Sony's Walkman apps and enjoy your music. Although you can get the same result by combining Walkman with Viper4Android.

XOSP has stable versions for Marshmallow 6.x, Nougat 7.x, but not yet forOreo 8.0. It will appear only after Sony officially announces its intention to release it.

Resurrection Remix

The Resurrection Remix developers' philosophy is to offer the maximum number of functions available to the user. The operating system is based on AOSP, some SlimRoms chips and Paranoid Android.

Most developers fill the software with standard features and a couple of new ones, while the creators of RR add almost everything that can be offered to their firmware. This, of course, has its price: the system becomes quite heavy and more demanding on system resources, bugs periodically appear. In our January 2018 test, no apps could be installed from the Play Store (error 963).

RR works on all major devices from Samsung, HTC, LG, Moto, Lenovo, Huawei, OnePlus and more. And in the near future there will be a version of the software that will support Android Oreo 8.0.

Dirty Unicorns

Dirty Unicorns is the remix version of Resurrection with many customization features. The increased stability of the firmware lies in the fact that Dirty Unicorns, like RR, combines various codes into one main project. But the Dirty Unicorns team is actually rewriting all the code from scratch to keep the system stable. For this reason, updates are delayed. They usually appear every two weeks.

Developers use their own DU-SmartBar and FlingBar. The former adds buttons to the navigation bar, the latter replaces the navigation bar with the ability to customize it according to personal preferences.

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Dirty Unicorns recently removed features from the OS that are rarely used in real life. As a result, the latest versions have become more stable: the system weight and system requirements have decreased.

Dirty Unicorns currently supports Android Nougat 7.1.2, and Oreo 8.0 is expected to arrive in a couple of weeks. The build will work on all major devices: Samsung, Xiaomi, LG, OnePlus, Nexus, Pixel and so on.

AOSP Extended

As the name suggests, the AOSP Extended firmware is built directly from the AOSP source code and adds features to it that presented in other projects. The firmware is stable and does not slow down, just like the official version of the Android OS, which lacks some features, such as the ability to change the notification bar, lock screen, etc. The navigation bar is the same as Dirty Unicorns. There are other useful features that go well with Google Android.

The AOSP Extended development team is very active, delivering massive updates every month, usually in the early days. The assembly has a high level of reliability. It rarely lags, and all bugs found are quickly fixed. Updates with improved security are released regularly. As soon as "patches" are released by Google, they are almost immediately available to owners of AOSP Extended.

The software supports many models, including LG, Xiaomi, Lenovo, HTC, Samsung and OnePlus.

Pure Nexus

Imagine that you were given the opportunity to change the operating system of your smartphone, add new features to it, without affecting the system requirements. The Pure Nexus project has been around since the Nexus 4 was introduced. It supports all Nexus and Pixel devices.

Developers use AOSP, which is exclusive to the Google lineup and time-tested, as source code. The number of errors that occur in the system is minimal. The Pure Nexus firmware is only officially available for the Pixel and Nexus line, although it has been ported to other devices. It already has support for Android Oreo 8.0.

Carbon ROM

This build is very popular. At the first start, it is difficult to detect any fundamental differences from standard Android. But when used for a few days, you can see all the charms and know the true beauty of Carbon ROM.

Added a large number of mods for the system, notification lines, buttons, signals, and other options. At the same time, Carbon ROM does not lag behind RR in the race for the highest possible settings. Those who have been using this assembly for a long time rarely switch to another one: the interface is simple, there are additional functions, and stability is high.

CarbonROM works on many devices: Samsung, HTC, LG. With support for Android Oreo 8.0, the issue will be resolved soon.

SlimRoms

SlimRoms is the lightest, minimal firmware based on the AOSP code, but containing a number of useful settings. It's a stripped down version of Android with a handy selection of Google Play services. The user decides which ones to add to the operating system; itself changes the resolution of fonts, icons, making them as small as necessary.

Slim Recents and Simple show recently used apps in the sidebar, meaning they won't take up the entire screen like they do on the official Android version. Navbar works well in idle mode. Other features of the SlimRoms OS can change the interface of the dialer window, create tiles and lock screen shortcuts, set protection for certain applications.

SlimRoms is available on all major phone models: Google, LG, HTC, Moto, Samsung, Xiaomi, OnePlus. However, the last release was back in February 2018.

ViperOS

ViperOS is another build based on Gerrit's AOSP, but with its own custom mods. You may not have heard of it as it is a relatively new project. The software appeared after the launch of Android Nougat 7.1, it is reliable and stable. There is no way to customize your own interface, but there is a balance between battery and performance.

For Android Oreo 8.0, the developers recently updated the source code. We think the Vipers are a near-perfect build with a few extra features and long battery life. The list of supported devices is still small, but the developers say that this firmware will work with all major smartphone manufacturers.