If you are an avid Android user like me and love to tinker with a rooted mobile phone, there will be times where you will find your phone wiped and close to factory settings. Having root access allows you to load custom ROM's, replacing the factory image with kernels compiled from the very active Android open-source development community. These developers strip the stock operating system down and remove all of the extra fluff that cell phone companies like Verizon and AT&T add to it. They call this fluff "bloatware". They put the system back together from the ground up in hopes to create a smooth and customizable experience.
Loading a custom ROM to your phone is not a difficult task, but it may be tedious because most require you to wipe your data and cache settings from the phone's recovery menu. This is required to format the system to allow for a fresh install of a new one.
Once the new ROM is loaded, all of your apps and data will be gone. You will still be able to back up your settings to the Google servers before wiping, but that direction for me was always buggy, only restoring some apps or having outdated settings. I only use Google's backup tool for my Contacts and Bookmarks.
Titanium Backup is a free application from the market for users with root access. This app lets you back up all of your apps and their data to your SD card. It is also packed with more features like freezing applications so they don't run in the background, clogging your memory, and completely removing those useless system applications that you never touch like Stocks or Car Home. The paid version of Titanium Backup allows you to donate to the developers and run batch processes to back up, restore, freeze, unfreeze at the push of one button.
I am currently on the Galaxy Nexus, and I'd like to mention that is the best Android phone I have ever used. On top of the phone's features and capabilities, the developer support is remarkable. Just a few months after its release, there are over 20 custom ROM's available and a vast amount of themes made from well-known developers and teams.
Because of this, I have been diagnosed with a disease called "crack-flashing". Whenever a new build is released, (which could be every couple of days to every couple of weeks), I have to try it out so I would wipe my phone and load the new ROM. I love to see what the developers add and how much better an already amazing phone can get. Titanium Backup has saved me lots of time, and if you suffer from crack-flashing, it could for you too.