CyanogenMod Drops Vibrant: 911 Support Its Achilles’ Heel
When a new custom ROM comes out for a smartphone, especially if it’s one of the more “hacky” releases we see, trying to bring new features or even an entire operating system to some hardware not normally supported, we expect to run into a few glitches. Before a ROM is ready for being a daily driver, it may go through periods with broken WiFi, or even broken cellular data connections; it’s just an annoyance we live with. What if the problem was with voice calls, instead (and a very specific subset at that), and there didn’t seem to be any hope of fixing it? The CyanogenMod team is facing just such a dilemma, and it ultimately means dropping support for the Samsung Vibrant on T-Mobile.
Even though the Vibrant is a Galaxy S device, a family that sees some good CyanogenMod support, and there have been stable releases for the Vibrant up to CM7.1, its future development has hit a brick wall. The problem is with 911 access. The way Samsung has the Vibrant put together, the CyanogenMod team can’t work out how to make these emergency calls route properly. There are some band-aids that can let the call go through, but without fully-functioning audio. Efforts to reverse-engineer the proper way to place such a call have been fruitless.
The source code will sit in the CM repository in the hopes this is worked-out in the future (feel like releasing some code, Samsung?), but until then, this issue has been deemed severe enough to warrant a full-stop to progress on further CM releases for the Vibrant.
What do you think of this decision? Should lack of emergency call support be a deal-breaker? We knowingly install plenty of ROMs with all sorts of broken radio problems; where should the line be drawn of a feature becoming essential for ongoing releases?