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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Cyanogen on the Galaxy S 2
So yesterday I finally bit the bullet and put CyanogenMod on my Samsung Galaxy S 2.  I'd heard a lot of good about this replacement OS, and very little bad.  Sure, it'd mean the official Samsung apps wouldn't work anymore, but there were few of those I'd miss 'cause most had alternative versions from other developers.

And finally I'd get some Bluetooth support for using Wii controllers to play emulated games, which was one of the reasons I made the jump to Android in the first place.  The Galaxy S 2 has a Bluetooth stack that's not compatible with the Wii, but CyanogenMod uses a different stack which is.

The replacement procedure was pretty painless.  There were some omissions in the Full Update Guide which slowed me down, but I got it working after making the recommended backup, a step that'll come in very handy later.

The initial impressions were good.  CyanogenMod ships with ADW Launcher, which is the user interface like Samsung's TouchWiz or HTC's Sense.  It's the only thing the user really sees when it comes to navigating the 'desktop' and 'applications' of the device.  I've tried it before on the stock Galaxy S 2, and I didn't like it, so I immediately replaced it with GO Launcher EX.

The overall experience was really solid, surprisingly so.  DRM'd apps would complete license-checks without complaint, live wallpapers worked (and I think might have even been smoother than on the stock firmware) and, basically, it was a 100% complete replacement.

All was well.  and I set to trying out the new and different features, and fixing the little niggling issues that sprang up.

Like the Camera app which would show a live preview but not do anything else but force-close (crash) after a few seconds of operation.  Turns out I had to delete all the existing photos and 'cache' files in the DCIM directory, and then it worked fine.

Like the video viewer which would lock up and force the phone to reboot every time I tried to watch a video.  This sorted itself out a few hours later, I don't know how or why.

Like the occasional crash-and-reboot, usually after waking the phone from sleep mode, which basically never happened on the stock firmware.  Some of the lock screens caused the phone to either sleep or display a frozen image.  I consider myself lucky that I could eventually get it to respond long enough to turn them off.

Like Twicca, my Twitter client of choice, which was completely unresponsive when I pushed the buttons to try and authenticate my Twitter credentials.  After a minute of bashing the screen, I'd finally get the browser to launch and I could sign in.

Like the fact that installed applications would just disappear after a crash and reboot.  This was sort of scary, 'cause you just don't want things uninstalling themselves!  What else is going wrong?  These programs would leave generic icons and blank widgets behind so you knew they were gone now.  When clicked only an error would appear.

Like the way I would organize all my apps into carefully labeled and arranged folders only to have all of this work undone when the phone would crash and reboot.

Like the way the WiFi was unbelievably slow, taking up to 60 seconds (when it didn't just time-out) to load the Android Market.

I suppose it's possible that these issues were caused by the existing phone's data, it was sort of nice to find some of my apps could be reinstalled and have all their data intact.  One of my games (Babo Crash) even happily let me resume a game in progress, which was pleasing.

I am completely uninterested in wiping my phone out completely to see if that makes CyanogenMod work better. 

After most of a wasted day installing and tweaking and reinstalling and re-tweaking and basically becoming more and more frustrated, I restored my original firmware backup.  It took about five minutes, and the phone leaped to life exactly as I left it, and for that I am exceedingly grateful.

I love my Galaxy S 2.  CyanogenMod, not so much.
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