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I have seen a bunch of posts online saying that you can download some hack of android 2.3 on your phone..are these safe to use?

or better yet, is there a legitimate version that I can download and use from the android dev site?

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There are many custom ROMs that are perfectly legitimate. They are built by dedicated people who put a lot of effort into the work. I wouldn't disparage them by calling their work "hacks". CyanogenMod is the most popular, but there are plenty more.

There is not an installable phone image available for you to download from the Android Dev site. Those are emulator images only.

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    I disagree with the idea that "hack" is necessarily a disparaging term. – newuser Apr 29 '11 at 14:14
  • Hack itself is not disparaging, but in the context of the OP's statement, "some hack" suggests "any bit of thrown-together ROM". I'm sure you have your own interpretation. – Eric Cloninger Apr 29 '11 at 14:45
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It depends on your phone. I have been using Android 2.3.3 for about a month now on my N1, and it is not hack, but Google's own version.

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If you download the source for Android 2.3 you can compile it and install it on your device. You can even make any modifications that you want before building it. This is what the folks who make all of those custom ROMs do.

Unfortunately even downloading and installing vanilla Android is a bit more involved and complicated than it sounds.

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