Originally Posted by zetsui
and places where Android/Google products fail to address user needs time and time again?
What do independent ROMS/kernel do that Google products aren't tailored to do, or say an unlocked nexus wouldn't be able to do?
What makes android such a great product over say apple (form a dev/programmer/designers 's POV)
well, if you aspire to be a programmer, developer, you should have a working knowledge of how any piece of technology operates, the software that handles that wonderful piece of fiberglass, tin, copper and all sorts of fun stuff is usually limited first to the equipment manufacturer, and second to the carrier on which the phone is on. What this means is they gave you a fancy computer that can do all sorts of crazy stuff but they decided it would be unethical so they (in gamers terms) "nerfed" it. Anywho, the only real difference between apple and android is really the way they talk. That being said both apple and android are UNIX based operating systems. Which basically (but not totally) means that they are the same.
What custom ROMS/Kernels allow you to do is take control of the hardware and how it operates. Which means you can do things like emit different frequencies to say, make a car alarm go off; or control the hertz on your processor (make it go faster). Unfortunately, most of the children just want the latest version of android on their phone to look cool.
That being said, a developer and a designer would really have no use for a custom rom, Maybe the developer can keep the files in his phone LOL. However for a programmer, this is a really fun toy. the phone can almost interact with any piece of technology weather it be the new RFID chips in busses and credit cards, wifi, bluetooth, and the obvious radio frequencies.
in conclussion, unless you are developing/programming something that is android specific, or uses some sort of obscure technology within the phone that cant be normally accessed, it essentially useless to have a custom ROM (from a "professional stance"). For the last, I'm not entirely sure what a designer would use it for, maybe to take pretty pictures of the entities they will draw for my manipulation.