The funny thing about customizing an Android or iOS device is that the customization experience generally reflects the companies behind the mobile platforms.
Moving an iPhone from stock iOS to a jailbroken version is an easy, fast, and enjoyable experience, and it has been for several years. Android rooting, on the other hand, is a more hackerish endeavor, requiring research, a handful of developer tools, patience, and the willing to troubleshoot technical snafus.
But those Android hassles are coming to end, at least for one of the most popular alternative Android installations.
The developers behind CyanogenMod recently released a one-click installer application that works with select Android devices, including most Samsung Galaxy and Google Nexus handsets.
All you have to do, CyanogenMod says, is download the installer from Google Play, tether your Android device to a Windows PC, and download the companion app for your Windows PC. Then begin the process on your phone and follow the on-screen instructions.
CyanogenMod says plans are in the works to release an app for OS X as well. For right now, however, using the CyanogenMod installer requires Windows. We haven't had a chance to test the installer out yet, but CyanogenMod's process appears to be pretty straightforward.
Even with a one-click installer, prospective CyanogenMod users should still do a bit of legwork before making the switch. For starters, make sure your phone data is backed up and that the back-up package is not stored on your phone. This will let you return to a factory reset if any problems arise.
Also, only install CyanogenMod on a fully-charged device and make sure any anti-virus programs like Lookout are disabled. And as always, you root your phone at your own risk--the mere act of doing so may void your phone's warranty. (Though if trouble arises, you could reinstall a stock build of your phone's OS before bringing it back to the store.)
If you run into problems using the new installer, CyanogenMod has a help forum up and you can also drop in on the CyanogenMod IRC channel on Freenode.