Saturday, 13 July 2013

Do you root your droid?

Sounds highly personal and deeply intrusive doesn't it?  Perhaps I should mind my own business!

Or perhaps something from Gardeners World?

Put those green fingers away, I'm talking about Android smartphones.

Rooting means giving yourself full administrative control (like you already have with your PC).

Rooting enables you to remove limitations put in by the phone company or handset manufacturer and allows you to change system settings or run specialised apps.

But the big reason for rooting a phone is to change or upgrade the operating system.  Once a phone is rooted, replacing its operating system (aka flashing a custom rom) is a doddle.

You are not then stuck with an old operating system for the life of the phone. And more importantly you get rid of all those annoying phone company apps or modifications (aka "bloatware").

Sounds too geeky?  Not really.  Remember you don't have to get involved in the development of new roms or rooting tools.  There are plenty of dedicated enthusiasts who do all this and are happy to share with the wider community.

A little bit of knowledge can save you a lot of money.You can easily get a brilliant new android smartphone for much less than £100 or a pretty decent one for less than £50.  PAYG phone are heavily subsidised by the phone companies.

Unlock, root and flash a new rom and, voila, you have a great phone at minimal cost.

My experiences

My first droid was an Orange San Francisco PAYG phone (aka ZTE Blade).  Very easy to unlock, root and upgrade.  Cost back in 2010 was around £100.  Becoming rather dated now, but I recently sold it to a friend for less than a tenner and she is finding it really useful.

My next phone was a T-Mobile Vivacity (aka ZTE Crescent) which I bought a year ago for £50. The process of unlocking was a little complicated, but very doable once I'd found a good set of instructions.  Ditto for rooting.  Alas I've managed to break the screen and it is currently held together by cellotape.

I have just ordered a Huawei Y300 for £60, due to arrive on Monday.

My favourite apps

I have a strong preference for practical apps that save time and money. My top two are:

WEQ4U  Converts expensive 08 numbers into inclusive geographical numbers. It can also can also take your place in those annoying queues without using up minutes.

London Travel  Has a journey planner like the TFL one and live train and bus times.  The latter is particularly useful as you can time your departure from home/work/pub/restaurant just in time to catch the bus.

No comments:

Post a Comment