December 21, 2010 | by Lars Aronsson
Developer of a popular custom ROM.
Nominated because: Android like we’ve never seen it before.
In September 2010, an advanced and heavily customized version of Froyo from a team of Chinese developers made a splash in the Android blogosphere. It’s called MIUI, and turns elements from Froyo, TouchWiz and iOS into something quite unique that has managed to make many people excited.
Primarily thanks to enthusiasts at the XDA, MIUI received English translations, got ported to more devices and the ROM quickly gained in popularity outside of China. Eventually several dedicated MIUI sites started to appear, such as miui-dev.com. With native apps that could’ve been successful in the Market and an interface that a phone manufacturer could’ve been proud of, it’s easy to understand MIUI’s appeal – and they’re releasing all this for free. It’s almost hard to compute.
MIUI features lots of clever little solutions that make using your Android more convenient, and it’s fast with Quadrant benchmark scores around 1600 – 1800 on the HTC Desire. Another main attraction is the ROM’s one of a kind launcher with preloaded widgets, but MIUI also rocks its own music player, as well as a messaging app, a backup tool, a FM radio (that Cyanogen later got to use), a firewall, a T9 dialer, and a surprisingly brilliant file explorer that can turn your SD card into an FTP server – these guys aren’t your ordinary ROM devs.
MIUI gets a new release every Friday that brings fixes as well as plenty of additional features that often are major. In fact, many fans are so dedicated that they spend their Friday nights translating and preparing the latest release, or waiting for the newest ROM to be uploaded.
Android purists may frown upon some of the iOS inspired design elements, but the very fact that Google’s platform can be made to look like this is a testament to its openness. One can also disagree with the “walled garden” philosophy of iOS, while still enjoying parts of its interface. Besides, with built-in theme support and lots of themes available – it’s easy to personalize MIUI, and themes range from stylish and sober to completely outlandish designs. Listing all of MIUI’s features would make this article far too wordy – suffice to say, MIUI is a unique Android ROM.
Sure, users have had battles with Starship Troopers sized bugs, especially early on, but for most people MIUI has been a smooth ride. The team behind MIUI has arguably done more with Android, and in a shorter period of time, than any other independent ROM developer and for that, the group definitely deserves its nomination. Who knows what kind of innovation they’ll bring to Android in 2011?
This article is part of a series of profiles on the people who most-impacted Android in 2010. Read more about the Android Person of the Year series here.