Cyanogen has always been my favourite custom ROM for my Nexus One; it’s packed full of fantastic features and tweaks, and is always regularly updated with the latest and greatest version of Android to boot. A few days ago, the Cyanogen 6.1 release candidate became available, so naturally I ran to the nearest computer I could find and downloaded it to copy across to my Nexus One.
I’ve been running the new version for a few days now, and considering it isn’t a major update, it certainly includes a lot of fantastic, long wished for features, so let’s take a look!
Ever since I received my Nexus One at the beginning of 2010, I’ve been hoping that someone, somewhere would enable the FM radio receiver that is unused in Google’s official ROMs for the device. It’s been a long time waiting, but finally we have FM radio functionality, not only the Nexus One, but also on HTC’s Desire and the HTC EVO 4G too!
When you select the FM Radio application, the bluetooth is enabled on your phone so that the FM receiver will kick in (I believe that the bluetooth and FM radio are on the same chip, so it is necessary to have bluetooth enabled for the FM to work in the ROM), and you are prompted to insert any standard earphones in to the phone, which act as an antenna. Once you have some earphones plugged in, you’re good to go, cycling through stations with the retro style user interface, and listening to the charts in all its crackly glory.
The quality of the reception will depend on the earphones that you use, some of mine worked better than others, but overall the quality was very listenable, and I’m incredibly excited to be able to listen to FM radio on my Nexus One.
Power Bar Widget (Notification Bar Controls)
A less obvious change in Cyanogen 6.1 RC is the addition of some controls to the top of the notifications bar, providing incredibly easy access to anything that you can change on the device. By default, you can toggle Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and audio, but there are further options in the settings of your phone to toggle anything from the orientation to airplane mode.
The discrete implementation of the power bar widget in Cyanogen 6.1 really helps increase productivity if you previously had to go hunting through a menu to change some of the options available. Although I have Wi-Fi and silent toggle widgets on my home screen already, it’s great to know I don’t need to clutter my home screen up with even more widgets if I want quick access to something.
Inspired by Samsung’s Galaxy S, this widget is available on all variations of the ROM.
Sound Recording Application
Although it isn’t quite as significant as some of the other changes, having a functional sound recorder available on your phone is a must have for many people, who prefer making audio based notes to something such as Evernote. It’s a nice feature to have, and may come in useful for quite a few people.
Well there you have it! Of course there are more additions than just the three I’ve pointed out here – there are many more minor tweaks that have been made, and you can take a look at the full changelog for yourself here. If you want to download the latest ROM, and haven’t done so already, pick out your model over at the Cyanogen wiki and hit the download button. If you do, don’t forget to tell us what you think to it in the comments below!