What are Android ROM, Stock ROM, Custom ROM, and Ported ROM? Explained in human language – We heard the term but we never actually think what is an Android ROM? What is the meaning of an Android ROM in your smartphone? This simple article will expand your knowledge with some basic definition about what is an Android ROM. We try to make the explanation easy to understand especially for newbie. Of course, geeky developers have understood about the terminology and they might not want to look back about its definition. But here it is an article for Android newbies.
The term ROM stands for Read Only Memory. Sometimes people get a little bit confused with the term itself versus a Custom ROM. Despite the “ROM” is basically an abbreviation, the usage of this term usually refers to something else. When people talks about an Android ROM, it usually refers to the operating system that runs on a smart device whether it is a smartphone or a tablet.
When we talk about a ROM file, it refers to a file containing the executable instructions (a system image) of an Android OS and some of its affiliated apps.
You may have heard about two other terms: the Stock ROM and the Custom ROM. The “Stock ROM” refers to the one come installed on the device, while a “Custom ROM” comes from a third party developer. By flashing a custom ROM, you can unlock extra features and sometimes improve the performance. However, nowadays, the term “Stock ROM” usually refers to the original basic ROM file released by Google itself.
When users buy Android devices, they comes with what we call a “stock ROM”. This terminology often being confused with “Stock Firmware” as well. In general, you can simply understand both terms as the pre-installed operating system.
Have you been confused enough? Now we give you a question: what about Xiaomi MIUI, HTC Sense, Samsung TouchWiz and Huawei EMUI? Are they Stock or Custom ROMs?
There is another term that what we call OEM Stock ROM. It is basically a stock Android ROM that has been customized by the OEM (device manufacturer) either by adding new features or simply make it more compatible with specific hardware specifications. Some people still use the term Stock ROM while other mention it as OEM ROM or firmware.
From MIUI official site:
MIUI is a customized Android ROM developed by Xiaomi for smartphones and tablets.
It says “a customized Android ROM” so it is a custom one. However, since it comes pre-installed with the device when users purchase them, so other still call it as a stock ROM.
Comparing Android vs MIUI or EMUI is like comparing Car vs Honda or Toyota. If Android is a car, then MIUI or EMUI is Honda or Toyota. Android is used to operate mobile just like a car is used to travel. All cars look different but they offers different features according to its brand and series.
Now let’s go back again into the term “Custom ROM”. Most people use this term referring to all custom-made ROM by third-party developers others than the device manufacturer. People commonly use custom ROMs to replace the official one running on their devices. Custom ROM is an Android operating system cooked by third-part developers.
Now there is another term called “Ported ROM”. This usually refers to the official ROM like MIUI that has been modified, altered, and ported by making it compatible for devices other than Xiaomi devices.