After being bombarded with upgrade notifications for Android 4.0.4 that I couldn’t actually install due to being rooted I thought I’d reinstall stock Android, but first see what’s changed with MIUI since I last used it about a year ago.
Android is open source, i.e. the code for Android is available for anyone to download and edit. MIUI is a ROM; an edited version of Android.
Extended App Security
When you install an app you should always read the permissions it’s asking for. Given that no one actually does MIUI has added a firewall which asks the user to manually approve the app’s access to things like the contact list and location. In my opinion this feature should be standard. It’s simple and fairly obvious, but totally negates any possibility that malware could run wild on your Android.
Themes have always been a strong point for MIUI. China is home to some incredible graphic designers and MIUI really reflects that. The MIUI theme app now lets users mix and match between themes, letting you install app icons from one theme and a lockscreen from another.
Call and SMS Firewall
Apps like this are available on stock Android, but this is is woven more deeply into the OS giving users a more fluid experience.
On the off chance that you haven’t applied a screen lock to your phone MIUI gives you the ability to lock individual apps with a pattern.
Switches in Notification Area
This can be done with third party apps, but MIUI doesn’t use a notification for this and the UI is far nicer, giving you the choice of a tab or a scroller at the bottom of the notification area. All of the switches you’ll ever need are here, from disabling screen rotation to restarting the device. Another nice feature of the notification area is the ability to hide app icons in the status bar and only display the ones you actually need to see, similarly to Windows.
Not necessarily a feature but important none-the-less. MIUI feels very iPhoney, with rounded corners, large icons, and a general design that’s been thought about longer than a few minutes. If you too hate the design of stock Android I strongly recommend trying out MIUI.
If you’re interested in trying out MIUI and have no experience in this kind of thing I suggest you first look into rooting your phone, from here it’s very easy. You can even use an app called ROM Manager to handle the installation for you.