Look around the web and it seems like whenever anyone has a "how can I make my <Android device> do ______," the answer is invariably "root it." And to anyone involved in the Android community, you get the impression that most Android users are rooted. Unfortunately, what people tend to forget is that while a few million Android users may be rooted, there are hundreds of millions of active Android devices out there - meaning rooted users represent a small minority of owners.
Even though the device hasn't even hit the street, noted Android developer Chainfire has obtained root on the Samsung Galaxy S III. Chainfire doesn't actually have the device in hand, so don't start berating him with questions on that matter. Rather, he got root on a firmware build that was leaked to him, and has a few juicy tidbits to share with everyone.
It appears that the Galaxy S III isn't going to be locked down in any significant way.
Amazon's new tablet, the Kindle Fire, has been grabbing all of the headlines following Amazon's press event yesterday, and rightfully so. Priced at an aggressive $199, it has virtually alienated all other Android tablet manufacturers in one fell swoop, offering potential buyers a great piece of hardware and all of the content Amazon has to offer to back it up.
Despite this, there are still a few things that the Fire won't offer.
Jamezelle, jcase (that's me), and all of AndIRC (i.e. everyone - AndIRC is an open dev group), the same folks who rooted the pre-production Thunderbolt in February, proudly present:
A Very Dirty HTC Thunderbolt Root V1.02 2011/03/18
- Root with read/write access to /system
- Ability to downgrade and flash any RUU (i.e. signed firmware)
While rooted Android users have been taking screenshots on their phones for a while now, stock, non-rooted owners have been left out of the fun (there are some notable exceptions to this rule, like the EVO 4G). No longer, according to Paul O'Brien, one of the visionaries in the Android community, who posted the following in reply to Cyanogen (aka Android god):
We haven't been able to confirm what exactly changed in 2.3.3, but according to Android Central, screenshots are now possible without root "because of some changes in the way the SurfaceFlinger service handles what it captures from the framebuffer."
This newly uncovered fact means that all phones running Android 2.3.3 and above should be able to take screenshots regardless of whether they're rooted or not.
The Android dev team has generally been assumed to have a passive stance on rooting and unlocking Android devices. That is, do it if you want - we won't stop you. And there's certainly evidence abound supporting this - Google's Nexus One could be unlocked via a simple ADB (Android Device Bridge) command: fastboot oem unlock. The same is true of the Nexus S.
Of course, it only makes sense - Google doesn't want to put any unnecessary barriers between Android developers and the open source OS, especially on developer phones.
People want to own their phones. Try as they might to frustrate their customers, networks and manufacturers are fighting a losing battle against the hacking community. The latest victory is an enormous one: the HTC Vision, better known as the T-Mobile G2 and Desire Z has finally been defeated. That pesky eMMC chip locking up the /system of the G2 has been circumvented, and full, glorious, permanent root has been attained:
12:04 < scotty2> -rw-rw-rw- root root 0 2010-11-09 03:00 test
Yep, that's full read and write permissions there, and it's permanent too.
Since the advent of Android in 2009, the family of devices running Google's mobile OS has grown from one handset to now hundreds and possibly thousands of unique models. In recent months, Android has seen an explosion of devices coming from lesser-known Asian manufacturers, with one of the main selling points being price. The manufacturers realized that with Android they had a readily and freely accessible operating system, a large market of potential customers, and all they had to do was put together a cheap device to capitalize on Android's continued growth.
Android dev TGA_Gunnman has been added to Amazon’s hit list for this latest in a litany of single-click phone unlocking methods. In spite of the impending lawsuit (not really), his Samsung Galaxy S One-Click Root program does exactly what it says on the, err, titlebar.
There are separate versions for the Captivate and Vibrant, so make sure you get the right one. All users have to do is download the program - currently Windows only - run it, and click the One Click Root button with their Captivate/Vibrant connected up to USB.
A common complaint leveled against Android is that it’s too technical or too difficult to use. This is especially the case when it comes to hacking around on your phone. While the command line may be the interface of choice for some Android users, it’s not exactly the most user friendly of solutions. Enter one-click rooting, something that iPhone jailbreakers should already be familiar with. One click. Can’t get easier than that, right?