CyanogenMod Team has announced official CM12.1 nightlies, which are the latest CM12.1 ROM based on the latest Android 5.1.1 (not Android 5.1) Lollipop. I’ve flashed these official and unofficial CM12.1 ROMs on many of my Android smartphones and boy, these are definitely the best CyanogenMod ROMs I’ve seen so far.
What I notice with these CM12.1 builds is that they are more stable than ever as upgrade from CM12 to CM12.1 was really an incremental Lollipop upgrade, not a major one like we saw from CM11 to CM12. It seems like the CyanogenMod Team is skipping stable milestone releases for CM12 and jumping straight to CM12.1 Well, the good news is that these CM12.1 don’t have early beta bugs like we saw with earlier CM12 builds. In fact, these CM12.1 nightlies could be considered one of the first milestones as they are nearly bug-free, at least on many Android devices I’ve tried.
So, what are the new features on CM12.1?
Of course, Android 5.1.1 brings more stability, slight performance improvement but the biggest change I found was with the Buttons in settings for phones with hardware buttons. Just like they did with CM11S/12S on OnePlus One, the latest Buttons setting feature the ability to disable your hardware buttons if you want to enable the soft buttons(on-screen nav bar). This is actually one of the most useful new features as having both soft/hardware buttons can be confusing and prone to accidental presses. With this feature, you will also be able to make use of navigation ring targets, allowing you to fully transform your phone into button-less device.
Themes were introduced with Lollipop but it has gotten better with every iteration. One of CyanogenMod’s goals before they were revamping the theme engine (according to Steve Kondik the founder of CM) was to really make it as good as MIUI themes. Well, I think we’ve definitely hit that point now. Couple years back, you could find just a few dozen themes that were actually usable but now there’s a ton more themes that are much more refined and fun to actually use new themes.
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