One of biggest underlying changes that Google made in Ice Cream Sandwich was to H/W accelerate the whole UI. H/W acceleration is the reason why WP7 and iOS are so buttery smooth, and the lack of it was the reason why Gingerbread used to lag sometimes on decent spec’d handsets.
Some Android manufacturers manually make some changes to the Android OS code so as to hardware accelerate certain part of the OS for better performance. For example, the stock browser on the Samsung Galaxy S II is hardware accelerated, even though it runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and is silky-smooth and can even play a 1080p HD video on YouTube without any stuttering.
Even CM7, the most popular AOSP based Custom ROM out there for Android handsets, does not feature a hardware-accelerated browser, which I am sure many users would have liked. It’s not the fault of CM developers though. CM is based on AOSP, which does not have any code to H/W accelerate the whole UI.
Now, one XDA member has (apparently!) managed to get hardware acceleration working on the stock browser on CM7 running handsets. He achieved this mod by using some stock browser library files of the HTC Desire Z.
The mod works on any Android handset running CM7. To install the mod, users need to download and flash this zip file via Recovery on their handset. If for some reason the flashing fails, users can extract the lib files from the zip file and then manually transfer it to /system/lib and then restart their phone. It is highly recommended that users make a nandroid backup before proceeding. Some users on XDA reported an improved browser performance, while for some others the browser simply stopped working after installing this mod.
Do drop us a comment and let us know how the mod works on your phone!