Although it has not yet reached the same levels of awareness as CyanogenMod, AOKP, which stands for Android Open Kang Project, is becoming an increasingly popular custom ROM to put on an Android device.
Like CyanogenMod it is based on the Android Open Source project, so replaces the launcher and apps that you device’s manufacturer pre-installed with a ‘vanilla’ version of Android – stock launcher, core Android apps and no additional bloat.
In fact, many builds of AOKP will be based on CyanogenMod in the first place. But while that means that the two custom ROMs look essentially identical, and in by and large perform at the same level, AOKP adds one extra feature in the form of ROM Control. This is a veritable goldmine for tweakers.
ROM Control collects together all of the configuration options available within an AOKP ROM into a single section within Settings. It enables you to change how the UI functions to an insanely detailed degree – from someting as simple as changing the colour of the clock in the status bar, to something more functional like reassigning the functions on buttons.
It also offers real control for the power user – the Performance panel enables you to configure the clock speed of your processor, manage memory and tweak the kernel settings (where supported), and also set tasks to happen on start up.
A version of AOKP is available for many popular Android phones. ROM Control makes it well worth trying out.
Locating ROM Control
Once you’ve flashed your AOKP ROM finish the setup process and then head for ROM Control. It is located in Settings. Open it up and you’ll see the options split into User Interface, Functionality, Status Bar and Tools. Tap the General UI option to begin our tour.
Within General UI you can perform a number of simple but quite powerful tweaks to how the user interface functions. Scroll to the bottom of the screen to find Rotation delay. Here you can adjust how quickly the screen will switch from portrait to landscape mode when you rotate the phone.
Change pixel density
Staying within General UI scroll back up the list to LCD Density. With this feature you can increase or decrease the pixel density of you display. Follow the instructions on screen – choosing a higher pixel density will fit more on screen; lower will increase the size of text and icons.
From the main ROM Control screen now select Lockscreen options. Here you can customise almost every aspect of the lockscreen, from text colour to overall style. Scroll down and enable Lockscreen calendar. This will put show your upcoming appointments on the screen without you needing to unlock the device.
Tweaking the status bar
Now find the Statusbar settings within the main ROM Control screen. The AOKP is highly functional and can be configured to put all your key settings at your fingertips. We especially like the ability to change the screen brightness settings, and the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggles are essential.
More simple tweaks
It is possible to tweak the look of all the fixed elements within the status bar. A useful one to explore is the battery option. Select Battery icon style and you can pick from a number of diiferent ways of showing how much power is left in your phone.
Going for power
ROM Control is more than just UI tweaks, though. Locate the Tools options and select Performance. Tap on Max CPU and you can overclock your processor so it runs at a faster speed. Tap Set at boot to save the settings. Beware that overclocking can sometimes shorten your battery life.
Free up some memory
If your phone has limited memory and you want to maximise the speed of your forgeround app (at the expense of multitasking performance) select Free memory and choose an amount of RAM to always keep free. A larger number will close background apps, so experiment to find the right balance.
Finallly, open the Start-up tweaks screen. This powerful feature gives you the ability to run certain tasks when you start the phone. Tap the Enable button to give you access to the options. Some of these are very technical, or can significantly lengthen the boot process.
Speed up your SD card
Enable SD boost and then tap the Read ahead value option. This will speed up the performance of your memory card. Setting a number such as 2048 or 3072 should give a noticeable boost. You can use the free SD Tools app from the Play Store to check before and after speeds.