So you have been hearing about the AOKP ROM for Android lately but don’t know what the buzz is all about? If you have been into the Android custom ROM scene, a few names must be quite familiar by now, the first one coming to minds of most of us being CyanogenMod, followed by MIUI. Over the past year, another entrant has made it to the top of the Android custom ROMs list – AOKP. In what follows, we will take a look at what AOKP is all about, its brief history, its present status and where it seems to be headed in the world of Android.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of custom ROMs, they are modified versions of the operating system made available by independent third-party developers (rather than operating system vendors or device manufacturers) and can be installed by interested users manually on their devices.
AOKP stands for ‘Android Open Kang Project’ and is based on AOSP – the official Android Open Source Project maintained by Google. For those of you who don’t know it already, ‘Kang’ is a slang term used in the custom ROM scene to refer to work based on someone else’s work and is often used in a derogatory manner, but the use has been changing to include even genuine works that do credit the sources, and AOKP is amongst the latter.
AOKP was started by Roman in last November in an aim to modify AOSP Android with performance tweaks and add some advanced features that should be there in the first place. Initially aimed only for Nexus devices, the project quickly gained popularity and was ported to a wide array of devices unofficially at XDA-Developers forums. This lead to the expansion of the project itself to bring official support to a lot more devices.
Right now, AOKP is available for most – if not all – Android devices as either an official release by Team Kang (the team lead by Roman to maintain AOKP) or an unofficial ‘Kang’ of the Kang by other XDA-Developers members, if you get the drift. In a recent update on AOKP’s official Google+ page, Roman revealed that there are over 50,000 devices are running the official version of AOKP and adding the unofficial takes this number up to 120,000. That is a huge achievement in just under a year for a project that started as a hobby.
When it comes to the look and feel, AOKP keeps you as close to pure vanilla Android experience as possible. It’s the customizations that set it apart. The list of options is not as extensive as that of CyanogenMod but it is just right for most users, not making it overwhelming for beginners, while providing enough options for the seasoned users to feel at home too. Having been using AOKP as my daily driver ROM for months, I can definitely say I couldn’t be happier with another one.
So what lies ahead for AOKP? While it may not become the next CyanogenMod or MIUI by sheer number of installations overnight, AOKP has definitely earned a reputation, which will likely continue to grow. With the recent release of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the Team Kang has officially announced beginning work on a Jelly Bean based version of AOKP as soon as the JB source code hits the AOSP (which recently happened), and from the sign of things, there is no stopping.
You can learn more and find download links for your device at the AOKP website, grab it for the officially supported devices at the AOKP section on RootzWiki, and find unofficial downloads in the Android Development sections of your device forums at XDA.