As a hardcore custom ROM user, I tend to update my current “daily driver” about once every couple of weeks or so. Since CyanogenMod was taking its sweet time in getting here (nightlies just started arriving yesterday) I gave a shot to a very popular up-and-coming ROM for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, Android Open Kang Project. AOKP has been one of the fastest and most stable of the new ICe Cream Sandwich ROMs, and it’s gaining quite a following. When I saw one of the features snuck into the latest build (24), I just had to do a quick demonstration.

It’s called Fast Torch, and you can activate it by going to Settings>ROM Control>Lockscreen options. The Fast Torch is a way of activating your Galaxy Nexus’ camera LED quickly, without touching the screen at all. Just pick up your phone in the “off” position and hold the power button for two or three seconds, and the LED activates, giving you a near-instant flashlight without having to look at your phone, or messing with secondary apps or widgets. This is great for someone like me who’s used to carrying a small flashlight – I couldn’t give it up for a phone LED because sometimes it just took too long to activate. Now I can leave my AAA Maglight at home. Observe:

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The implementation is a little wonky at the moment – random variables seem to keep the LED from firing about 30% of the time. And to be fair, I don’t know if the AOKP team came up with this feature first or if they borrowed it from someone else, as is often the case. Either way, if the next build gets the reliability up it’ll be a great addition to any ROM, and enough to keep me on AOKP over the likes of CyanogenMod. These little tweaks and additions are part of the reason I love Android.

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