I’ve been avoiding the temptation to throw Jelly Bean on my Galaxy Nexus ahead of the long-anticipated OTA from Verizon. My patience wore thin this weekend and I made the move.
On past phones – specifically the HTC Incredible, rooting and putting a mod on like CyanogenMOD was expected and pretty much necessary in order to get the maximum power and benefit from the phone. Carriers bog these things down so much that even though Android itself is a much more free-form OS, with carrier/manufacturer locking it sorta felt like we all had iPhones right?
Unlocking/Rooting/Modding has usually been for higher level geeks – it takes some work and you take on some personal risk in doing so. How many of you have a stack of bricks at home from all your toying around? And so when I went searching for _THE_ method of prepping my Nexus for Jelly Bean, I nearly got lost in the interwebs.
Until I found:
quite possibly the easiest method I’ve found for any phone I’ve ever had. It seems like developers are getting a better grasp on automating much of the process, but still providing the manual steps and workaround for those special situations where it just doesn’t work the first time.
The other issue is that no two phones are ever alike – even if they are from the same carrier and have the same OTA on them. The Verizon version of the Galaxy already has multiple versions and OTAs to choose from so the Unlock+Root process always requires some work.
The software and process described on the Extreme Tech website was actually quite straightforward – and compared to three other sites I poured through, was the easiest to follow with the fastest results.
Which brings me to Jelly Bean (which incidentally I’ve had on my Xoom for a while now) and my Galaxy Nexus. I recommend that you either go with CyanogenMOD (which has been my personal favourite) or Vicious (which is what I’m now testing out). Vicious is based on CyanogenMOD 10 (even though you’ll see a 9 when it boots) and brings in the best of what it has to offer, including an alternative to Launcher called Trebuchet. I always thought it was just a font . They even offer a MIUI version if you’re into that MOD too.
JB is fast. Battery performance should continue to improve, and the speed of the device has jumped significantly even from 4.0.4 ICS. Icon movement on the desktop is more intuitive – things move out of your way if you add a new icon or just want to quickly move stuff around. Widgets dynamically size themselves based on available space, and allow you to resize them at will.
But the real reason I wanted JB right away is because I want to explore Google Now and what it can do for me. So far it has followed me around to show weather whether I’m at home or work, and I’m “training” it to give me traffic reports for my commute. Voice response (and its ability to actually understand what I’m saying) is a significant improvement over past versions. I’ve also tested it against the S Voice interface on the Samsung Galaxy SIII, and the JB version wins hands down on hearing me correctly the first time.
So Nexus owners – now is the time. There’s really no reason to wait any longer if you want to get Jelly Bean on your device (especially if it’s from Verizon and you’re tired of waiting). The process is quick and easy and it took me less than an hour to Unlock+Root+Jelly Bean+Restore all my stuff.
As always you take your life into your own hands if you mess with your phone – and of course you won’t be enjoying a warranty if that’s a concern for you. Enjoy!
* Image from XDA Developers