After successfully rooting my Navon Mizu M500 with Framaroot, I settled down to working out what to do with it to tune it up as a better ereader and all-round Android powerhouse. Only, what to do? Many Android rooters do their phones in order to install custom mods and ROMs like CyanogenMod – but phones running on the MediaTek MT6589 CPU and other MediaTek chips are not exactly overserved that way. So, rather than risk bricking my phone by pushing the wrong ROM onto it, I decided to keep the existing Android 4.2.1 system intact – but tune it up as much as possible.
With a rooted phone, you can flush out excess bloatware, do deep backups, add on extra capabilities, and upgrade obsolete system apps. That may not be as satisfying and comprehensive as installing a complete new ROM, but it can go partway towards delivering the same benefits. And the Mizu M500 was already pretty fast, with around 1Gb of spare memory to install new apps, I didn’t have much incentive to push for performance enhancement.
With SuperSU already installed to handle root access permissions as part of the root, I installed Titanium Backup to handle both backups and deletion of system apps. Titanium Backup’s … well, backups, mean that all system apps and other apps and settings can be fully backed up on a regular schedule, just in case subsequent fooling around messes them up.
Titanium Backup can also delete system apps, though, and I used it to remove needless add-ons like weather apps, and then to start replacing the current default system apps with other more recent versions available on the Google Play Store. Google Calendar was one obvious example, with version 5.2.1 now available on the Play Store; as was Google Messenger – a huge advance on the onboard SMS app. Google Keyboard was an equally massive improvement on the Android 4.2. Jelly Bean system keyboard. Other options I still haven’t looked at include replacing the Camera app, and switching from the Gallery picture display to the Google Photos app.
With most of these, I deleted the original system app, although Titanium Backup and the Apps menu in Settings can be used to just freeze them. This does reduce system clutter and the options you have to sort through on some menus, but others may want to keep them as fallbacks.
There are many other extra programs and tweaks to explore with a rooted system. So far, these are my favourites, but I’ll update with more as and when I find something really interesting. For now, the phone is leaner, meaner, more elegant, and more capable.