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Samsung hands its latest smartphone over to the hacker dark side

Custom ROMs, Infosecurity notes, are what the open source Google Android platform is all about, as witnessed by the number of custom ROM images now available for a growing number of tablet computers and smartphones.

Custom ROMs get their name from the microcomputer era of the 1980s, when physical read only memory (ROM) chips were used to store the firmware of the machines. These days the ROMs are really CMOS memory stacks or solid state drives that store the firmware of the smartphones and tablet computers.

And now Android smartphones are getting the same treatment, as according to the Knowyourmobile newswire, the CyanoenMod team - the group behind a number of Android custom ROMs - are working on a ROM for the Galaxy S2, with Samsung's approval.

Cyanogen hacker AtinM is said to have tweeted: "W00t! Just received the SGS2 from Samsung so we can work on CyanogenMod for it! You will not hear me bad-mouth Samsung again. :)"

Samsung's volte face on custom ROMs is also being mirrored by HTC, which the newswire reports as recently pledging to unlock their smartphone bootloaders.

"At the time Peter Chou, HTC CEO said 'There has been overwhelmingly customer feedback that people want access to open bootloaders on HTC phones. I want you to know that we've listened. Today, I'm confirming we will no longer be locking the bootloaders on our devices. Thanks for your passion, support and patience.'" says the newswire.

Whilst the news from Samsung and HTC will go down well with Android users, it is unlikely to curry favour from the cellular carriers, most notably Orange and Vodafone, who regularly create their own branded versions of smartphones in the UK.

There are also smartphone stability issues with unofficial ROMs for Android handsets, not to mention malware questions, but since smartphones are solid state software-driven units, they can be re-ROMed in a matter of minutes, Infosecurity notes. 

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