29 June 2011

Deeper Look into Reason to Root Android Phone and Benefit

Some of us might see this in Android Market: 'this application can only be run on rooted phone' , and we wonder what 'Rooting', 'root', rooted, is? if you're reading this, you not alone, and might have been bored with what the stock ROM that come with the phone. I used to wonder what kind of possibility would open for me after voiding the 'warranty' and after give up the original HTC Desire HD stock ROM. I will tell the difference here. You might discover these after stepping into the world of 'rooted' phone.

Rooting the phone = gain root user access right, and take more control of the phone

Reason for Rooting the Android phone

  • Root Access to the device. In another words, we gain more access right, such as able to use the Android Debugger Bridge (ADB) from the Android SDK do perform 'write' operation to the system partition, pushing apps into /system/app, modify theme, changing every aspect of your phone. For an instance, Widgetsoid, (a widget-like app that allows create many custom type of control on your homescren). If you would like to have more access, ie One-click to turn on/off debugger with Widgetsoid, you will need to have root access, and push the Widgetsoid app installed into /system/app partition. 
  • Flashing other a different custom ROM.Yes, this is something exciting. Manufacturer would tend to have slower release of the updated rom on the device. Update the 'software' in the phone is the only way to keep it fresh and new. There are a number of rom that are exciting. For example cyanogenmod. You can also get some 'vanilla' flavour rom(no phone manufacturer bloatware added) something close like what's having in the Google Nexus Phones. 
  • Battery Saving - The Battery juice! People have been discussing how to save battery more efficiently. With root access,you gain more, to control the 'CPU' to save battery. There are few options, such as using 'SetCPU', which you can set the cpu MAX and MIN value, and having the cpu runs are the specified under certain condition. Or, my choice, I prefer Juice Defender to manage my device cpu, and set the cpu level accordingly to the device state, 'screen on, idle' etc. 
  • Market Enabler! Until now, we still see android market , some of the Apps are region-based. NOT all the apps are able to be installed from the Market, (it depends your mobile network carrier, and region.). For example, not even all the Google Applications can be installed. For myself, I'm not the lucky one. I don't have access to quite some apps either. However, Market Enabler saves the day. It allows the device to fake other network provider to gain access to wider market apps. 

  • Recovery -General user probably won't need this. But if you're a regular modder, and would like to make modification and customization, and would at least need a fully phone backup. Rooting and flashing recovery app, such as ClockworkMod gives you a huge advantage for this. 
  • Applying custom theme, circle power battery? Different notification bar icon, have you heard of UOTKitchen? (Ultimate Online Kitchen). if you looking for customizing the battery icon etc, well after rooting and flashed the recovery (ie. ClockwordMod) it gives you the freedom to do so! Bear in mind, do recovery, or Nandroid backup, before performing customization ;) 
  • Superuser access more, Wifi Password Recovery, Screen capture with a root phone, when we type $su in the terminal emulator, we get a # sign (superuser). if we want to know what's the wifi password, we can do #cat /data/misc/wifi/wpa_supplicant.conf and it listed all the key of all the wifi network that stored in the phone. (amazing huh?) or We can make our life simple by using WIFI key recovery app. Screen capture on android phone? (Maybe samsung galaxy s phone has the built in feature in the stock rom.), other than that, well almost all screen capture app requires the phone to be rooted. 
  • Patching and Flashing firmware related improve performance. Kernel Patching, Baseband or known as radio flashing? Wow this sounds very technical, and scary it seems. However, this will become something easily approachable and simple when you get you feet wet in the Android modding, customization world. Kernel patching, unlock more options on setting the CPU, even allow overclocking the processor of the phone. Baseband or more commonly known as radio flashing, might improve the battery performance, lower power consumption, improve network signal, GPS satelite reception, or FM radio reception too! (At least in my case yes!). Most of the time, when you do flashing the rom, the kernel, or radio would be included in the process. Depends on the how the rom is packaged mostly. 

Lastly, still not convinced? Don't worry, take sometime to enjoy the stock rom, explore to the utmost first. Then take the step into rooting the phone, when you're ready. :) [There are a lots of guides and tools available when you have determined to root the phone.]

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