Throughout history, man sought to control everything around him more and more. And as technology progresses, some may feel frustrated by the lack of control they get from their mobile phones. As a basic user of your new Android phone you may feel happy for a little while. But there are always those who like to tinker a bit more and take the phone that they own to the next level.
Because Android is a Linux-based OS, a root or superuser is the top of the food chain, and has access to pretty much anything and everything – hardware and software. Of course, if superuser was available on all phones based on Android straight out of the box, we probably would have seen a lot more “broken” phones today. But in the hands of a capable person like you, I’m sure many good things will come out of it.
Ok, let’s answer the “why” question first. A lot of times, even though phone hardware supports certain features, manufacturers choose to limit or not include those features in a certain product, usually to encourage people to buy new stuff, instead of upgrading software for free. Take for instance Samsung or HTC, big companies that have done these kinds of limitations in the past.
For example, there is a flashlight application for HTC that allows you to use the camera led for this function. You cannot however make this work without rooting, because it requires direct hardware access. Then there’s the problem of customization: lots of phones, lots of brands, and sometimes users just get software shoved down their throats, even if they don’t want or need it. Whether it’s just a few custom icons or backgrounds, or applications that can’t be uninstalled like Moxier Mail for Sony handsets for example, these can take extra resources and become a memory and CPU hog.
Your SD card is mounted and accessible, but you can also make changes to the internal phone memory after you root your device, maybe see what mess applications installed and uninstalled over time on your phone have left and deal with that appropriately. After rooting, you will be able to find various custom ROMs written by the community for your phone, containing many speed and UI tweaks that can really help you interact easier and faster with your mobile phone.
Overclocking now becomes a possibility as well, because you have full access to your hardware. There are many applications to be found on the Android Marketplace that can help you set up pretty safe clock and memory speeds.
One of the most important and popular backup apps for Android, Titanium Backup Pro, only functions to is full potential on rooted phones. It can back up everything and restore it back when upgrading to a new software version for example, saving you the hassle of hours of reinstalls; or it can help you asily transfer every little setting, shortcut and app to a new phone.
Another really cool feature not present on software versions older than 2.2, but available on rooted phones from 3rd party app developers is the JiT compiler, a tweak for Linux based OSs that compiles byte code into machine code when an application is ran, significantly increasing performance and responsiveness in all of your applications.
SuperOneClick, Z4Root and Universal AndRoot are the most popular rooting software found on the net right now, and you can find them and much more Android community stuff on www.xda-developers.com. I recommend you also search the web starting with the XDA site for rooting and custom ROMs tailored specifically for your phone brand, before trying the generic utilities.
What do you risk by doing this procedure you ask? Well first and foremost it is possible to void warranty, but that is on paper only. It should never happen, because even a broken, poorly flashed phone that doesn’t work anymore can always be reflashed with the original firmware and thus reverted to its original state. If you are still worried, better play it safe and find your default software before attempting a root process, and of course don’t be a fool and back your data up. Especially your phonebook contacts and other sensitive information.
Good luck and have fun rooting!
Article by Guest Author: This article is written by Kevin Moor who writes for slow-computers.com, a site reviewing and testing various slow computer issues.