If you’re new to the Android world, chances are high that you’d have come across the term MIUI ROM or MIUI Port when browsing the web. Many users are left wondering as to what this means, what an MIUI Rom is and why is it any better than your current Android operating system.
In this article, we’ll attempt to explore the concept of MIUI, what are the pros and cons and the future of the project.
WHAT IS MIUI?
On the very basic, it is a Chinese customized version of the Android OS, built from stock with additional goodies taken from manufacturer modifications like Samsung’s TouchWiz launcher, iPhone’s looks and the full potential of Android 2.2 platform. If you were to translate the name ‘MIUI’ to English, it would probably sound something like ‘meeooee’. This ROM was initially developed only for Chinese users, based on the FroYo build of Android and totally localized with Chinese locale and language. The group behind the ROM had no intention of bringing it to other devices at the beginning, but as of now, several ports have surfaced for various other devices and with translations.
Check out a video of MIUI ROM for HTC Desire and Nexus One after the jump.
WHAT ARE THE PERKS?
The biggest advantage that you get with the MIUI ROM is speed. Just like the CyanogenMod, it is based on an AOSP build of Froyo (Android 2.2) and hence brings unparalleled speed utilizing the hardware to its fullest.
Then, you get the customizations. As you can see in the video preview above, the MIUI ROM does not resemble any of the currently available customized builds of Android OS, neither does it look similar to the stock FroYo build. It borrows heavily from the iOS platform, like having no app drawer at all, but at the same time it offers customizations like themes, effects etc. that iPhone users can only dream of. It also allows you to change the look of almost any aspect of the interface, ranging from the order of home screens to icons in the dock. MIUI features squarish icons, giving it an even more similar look to the iOS, but definitely better.
The developers behind the MIUI ROM also brought in some of their own applications, most notably, the FM app and the MIUI music player, which work better than any other offering (including the stock ones). They look beautiful, are more user friendly, and use less memory. Some of these have been incorporated in CyanogenMod builds as well, while others can be used independently with almost any other device, Check out a preview of the MIUI music player below.
MIUI ROM also features dedicated call and message icons on the lockscreen, which can take you to these applications without having to unlock your handset – very useful in our opinion. Their lockscreen customizations also surpass any other Android build, and in fact, Samsung with their Galaxy S variants seems to have taken a leaf out of their book, offering four different lockscreen settings that other manufacturers have yet to catch up to.
DISADVANTAGES OF MIUI ROM
As with any modification, there are some catches, and MIUI is no exception. For starters, most of the ROM is in Chinese, and while ports to other devices and locales have been done, part of the ROM remains in Chinese yet. This can be a huge setback for most of the users across the globe where Chinese isn’t the native language and cannot be used as freely.
The second major disadvantage, as many users have pointed out, is faster battery drains. This does make sense taking into account the heavy customizations that have been done to the user interface, but the reviews are mixed in this regard. In my opinion, users who do not flash the MIUI ROM with fully charged battery, or those who do not calibrate their phone’s battery afterwards, face the battery problem more than those that follow otherwise.
Furthermore, and this may not strictly be a disadvantage, but since many Android fan boys are die-hard iPhone haters, the similarities in appearance of the two may be a huge turn off for them. Indeed, many users have already complained that it is too much ‘iPhone-alike’. Personally, I like the new touch. The iOS looks great, to begin with, and MIUI ROM has only taken the best elements of both platforms combining them with the raw power of the hardware – hardly sounds like a deal-breaker to me.
FUTURE OF THE MIUI ROM
While the project was initially meant only for the Nexus One and HTC Desire, and the original developers still don’t intend to take it beyond these two devices, the user community has ported the ROM to various other Android phones, including the Droid X, Evo 4G and others. Cyanogen has expressed a keen interest in the development of MIUI ROMs, and so is the XDA-Developers community working on porting it as quickly as possible to other devices. While the biggest challenges are the language and locale limitations, the future of MIUI ROM looks promising.
As for the original ROM, weekly updates are released over-the-air (OTA) that bring the newest enhancements, bug fixes and other goodies to users running the ROM.
The MIUI project brings a new dimension to the power of the already-brilliant Android platform. Despite its minor shortcomings, it works wonders and brings out the true potential of your Android devices, which in some cases, surpasses even the CyanogenMod’s blunt, stock-interface.