Looking to get something extra out of your Android device?
With Android gaining popularity in the region, I’m sure than many will look into extending the functionality of their devices by rooting their phones. But what exactly is rooting and what advantages does it bring to the Android platform? That’s what we will talk about today.
Rooting basically allows you to gain access as a super-user on your Android platform- a bit like what Jailbreaking does on the iPhone. On the iPhone, there is no way to download an application outside the App Store unless you Jailbreak your device, however, with Android devices, this is not the case- rooting isn’t required to download applications from outside the Android Market. So why would you want to root your device? Here are three good reasons to:
1) Flash a custom firmware
Your android device is very much like a PC, allowing you to customize the Operating System to your liking. What is this means is that you are no longer restricted to the OS that is provided by the manufacturer of your device and generally, the more popular a device is, the more options you have for the OS. For example, the HTC Desire has more than twenty customized OSes available for it with things like saving Apps to SD, adding Arabic support or removing the SenseUI completely for a stock and faster Android experience.
2) Backup and Restore your device
Rooting allows you to back up the entire image of your device to an SD card- a bit like using Acronis or Ghost on the PC or Time Machine on your Mac. This works real well if you want to try out new Operating Systems as it gives you the opportunity to restore your previous OS in case you don’t like the new one.
3) Run “Special” applications
Although we mentioned that rooting isn’t required to download apps outside the Android Market, there are a few apps that require your device to be rooted in order for you to use them. For example, if you want to under/overclock your device, an application called setCPU allows you to do this but required rooting. Similarly, ROM Manager is an excellent tool for flashing ROMs from SD card to your device but requires rooting.
So there you have it- some good reasons to root your Android device. I will not go into the specifics on how to root your device and is varies from device to device. A good place for that is xda-developers forum. Word of warning though- if your device is branded or locked, you need to make sure you follow instructions properly and ask question before rooting otherwise you might end up with a bricked phone.