Team Venom, creators of one of the most popular HTC ROMs of all time, has posted its newest masterpiece for HTC’s newest flagship, the Droid DNA. ViperDNA, as it’s called, is currently the most customizable of all the ROMs available for the DNA, and has just come out of beta.
First, a little history – Team Venom developers m0narx and j4n87 originally developed venom tweaks for ICS with RichmondoUK, who then first brought those tweaks to Jelly Bean for the One X. Now that m0narx has an international One X+ he is actively working on bringing back all the “missing” features in Jelly Bean Sense that were present in ICS Sense 4. Also, RootzWiki developer nitsuj17 (the Team Venom member who supports the popular Viper ROM on the DNA) said m0narx will soon bring additional features completely new to the rooted Sense community. As you can see below, Viper ROMs are among the most widely distributed ROMs in the HTC rooted community – they are available for the following devices:
|Ice Cream Sandwich||Jelly Bean|
Evo 4G LTE
Incredible 4G LTE
Evo 3D CDMA
Evo 3D GSM
Evo 4G LTE (currently in beta testing)
ATT One X+
Intl One X+ (currently under development)
THE VIPER EXPERIENCE
You can go to the ROM’s thread to get a full list of features and modifications to the HTC Sense experience, but for the purposes of this article, I will simply point out a few features that I find outstanding, and rather unique to Viper ROMs:
- Venom Tweaks, the central hub for choosing from the rather extensive list of modifications unique to Viper ROMs to apply to your device – it functions much like ROM Control for AOKP or BAMF Settings for BAMF Paradigm (my two favorite AOSP ROMs )
- Venom Hub, a repository of Sense skins, themes, fonts, mods and addons contributed by team members and by other users – for theming purposes, it acts much like MIUI’s theme engine in that you can choose specific elements of your ROM to apply the theme of your choice to. For example, you could choose a green icon pack from one contributor, a red-themed Sense skin from another contributor, and a blue status bar theme from yet another contributor.
- App installer – if you’ve never used a Viper ROM before, you might wonder what you need an app installer for. I found this neat utility useful for isolating apk files from the rest of the files I have in my download directory, and for installing more than one apk at a time.
- File Explorer – a MIUI-like root-enabled file explorer. I really like the main view, in which your available space is displayed in a bar graph at the bottom of the app and you can browse through files by file type with one tap.
- Superuser specific to Viper ROMs – a preselected list of apps intrinsic to the Viper experience (such as the file explorer mentioned above, Venom Tweaks and Venom Hub) are automatically granted root access without prompting you the first time each one is opened.
Among the mods available in Venom Tweaks is one that allows you to choose specific long-press actions for each of the DNA’s capacitive buttons. When you first boot into ViperDNA, you might notice that the “Recents” button actually acts as a menu button by default. You could choose to revert that button to show your recent apps by default (in which case you could choose to show the menu on long-press of the button). You can set the following long-press actions for each button:
- None (if you don’t know what this one does, you might want to reconsider if rooting is for you )
- Recent Apps
- APM (advanced power menu which shows reboot options)
- Power menu (different from APM in that it offers more options such as taking a screenshot, activating airplane mode, toggling Internet access, and setting the ringer to off, vibrate or ringtone)
- Custom app
- Toggle flashlight
- Toggle status bar
- Kill foreground app
- Google Now
- Turn screen off
Personally, I choose to set the home button long-press action to turn the screen off, while the back button will show the power menu on long-press. This way I don’t have to stretch my thumb or finger all the way up to the top of this massive phone to mash the hardware power button as often.
There were only a couple of issues that I could find in my brief time running this ROM (and my time testing beta versions). First, the Aroma installer sometimes freezes (as it sometimes does with anything else you might try to flash – I had Aroma freeze during my brief time with the Galaxy S III on a TouchWiz-based ROM). Clearly this is an Aroma issue and not specific to ViperDNA, but you still might encounter this issue when flashing ViperDNA.
The second issue is that when you choose which bloatware apps to remove while in the Aroma installer, some of the apps will remain (for example, I had unsuccessfully tried to remove Facebook several times between my beta testing and installing the official release). Nitsuj17 said he’s working to fix this issue, but in the meantime you can still use Titanium Backup to uninstall any unwanted apps that survive the Aroma installation process.
Again, the full instructions that you need to follow are on the ROM’s thread, but the basic prerequisites are as follows:
- Obviously, your bootloader must be unlocked via the method posted by jcase
- You will have to use the stock read/write kernel boot image by dsb9938 in fastboot either before or after flashing the ROM in order for the main features of the ROM to work (on some other ROMs you would also have to flash the modules, but ViperDNA already contains those modules).
Home screen, App Installer, File Explorer
1. Default homescreen (called “ViperDNA” in the Scene section of the Personalize screen)
2. App installer scans your storage for apps not downloaded from the Play Store, and lets you batch install all of the apps that you check from the list.
3. Root-enabled File Explorer brings the functionality and the look and feel of the native MIUI file explorer to Sense.
4. “About” screen lists key team members and their roles in bringing ViperDNA to you, and includes links to their Twitter, Facebook and Gmail accounts. Also, you can create presets containing collections of mods chosen from this app.
5. Status bar screen shows options for battery icons, notification toggles, status bar themes, notification panel options and lets you choose whether your recent apps list appears vertically (AOSP style) or horizontally (HTC Sense style).
6. Sense screen lets you choose options for your launcher (provided you kept the HTC Sense launcher when you installed the ROM), including icon packs, app drawer options and HTC clock/weather widget options
7. Lockscreen options screen lets you choose between AOSP and Sense-style lockscreens, custom lockscreen shortcuts, carrier label and security features.
8. Buttons screen lets you choose long-press options for the capacitive buttons on your Droid DNA and set options for the volume keys while the screen is off, among other things
9. Misc screen lets you choose transition animations, HTC Car mode options, and other miscellaneous settings (hence the name “Misc” )
10. Advanced settings screen allows experienced users to perform various under-the-hood functions such as wiping cache, fixing permissions, zipaligning apks and disabling logcat reporting. If you don’t know what these settings do, I strongly urge you to leave them alone until you do some research on how they work.
11. Main screen, which organizes available content and information into the following categories (FAQ is not included because it is empty at present):
12. News about Team Venom “and other useful info” (tapping on the article leads you to Team Venom’s website venomroms.com)
13. Icon packs for Sense
14. Skins for Sense
15. Themes for Status Bar
16. Statusbar logos
17. Operator logos
18. Backgrounds (for the app drawer and notification pulldown)
21. Useful Links (there is a FAQ here that takes you to an XDA post, but that’s for a discontinued Ice Cream Sandwich version of Viper)