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How To Jailbreak and Upgrade Old Android Phones

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the make-your-robot-do-its-job dept.

Android 138

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Serdar Yegulalp provides an in-depth tutorial on how he rooted and upgraded his Motorola Cliq XT, one of many Android phones made infamous for not receiving further Android updates beyond 1.5. 'It turned out to be quite an odyssey, with twists and turns I describe here in order to help those who wish to embark on a similar journey,' Yegulalp writes. 'Was it worth the trouble? Yes, in the sense that learning how to jailbreak your own phone is a valuable skill, and I got much more functionality out of the Cliq, when I was expecting to simply junk it. '"

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138 comments

Was It Worth It? (2, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#36806736)

Was it worth it? Maybe.

Was it worth the trouble? Yes, in the sense that learning how to jailbreak your own phone is a valuable skill, and I got much more functionality out of the Cliq, when I was expecting to simply junk it.

The time spent doing this could have been spent on a billable (or freelance) project that would have paid for a new phone (and then some).

Yes, it's a good feeling to know you beat the technology. And yes, it's your phone and you should be able to do whatever you want with it. But how many times will you have to root the same phone model? Will the process be similar or completely different with your next model? Sometimes the upgraded features are worth your time & effort, and other times it's worth the cost of a better phone.

Re:Was It Worth It? (4, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 2 years ago | (#36806822)

Although the practice of rooting this phone probably wasn't worth the effort for one phone, the fact that it was documented will help others with the same model, so I can see a definite benefit to this. The beauty of information sharing...

Re:Was It Worth It? (3, Informative)

crazycheetah (1416001) | more than 2 years ago | (#36806956)

Except this guy didn't document it at all in a way that's really going to help someone out, unless they do the same stupid mistakes that he did, like first try to root it while having an antivirus program running. Anyone with this phone will probably do a lot better off of looking at different results on a google search. He basically just says "I rooted it by following directions I found online, installed a custom ROM with Motoblur, then switched to Cyanogenmod." Except he takes three pages to say all of that, without ever really describing much of any of the actual steps required to do so (he went a little bit more in depth on the recovery or "bootloader" as he calls it, but that's about it).

Re:Was It Worth It? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36809464)

I remember *never* seeing articles from any of the IDG affiliates (infoworld, comptuerworld, networkworld) on here not too long ago (a few years ago, at least). They're commonplace these days, however, and most of the folks that remember these times like I do find them technically vapid and non-contributory. Despite that, some of the biggest conversation threads I've seen on here are generated by these articles.

If you folks want to mitigate the number of articles from these publishers, stop responding to them. These are not "news for nerds;" they're "news for the upper management that use them."

Re:Was It Worth It? (1)

basotl (808388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36806940)

Reading through his post it shouldn't have taken more than half an hour from start to loaded ROM. Any other time would have been time just spent messing with his phone. It's not like he designed his own custom rom or something.

Even on a new phone I would recommend loading CM7.

Re:Was It Worth It? (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807978)

Hoping to see a CM release for my prevail... for now using ShabbyPenguin's build, which is pretty much stock, but did nuke all the f-ing crapware on the phone.

Re:Was It Worth It? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36807136)

Meh, it took me like 10 minutes to root an old used Droid I got off eBay and I had never done it before. The rest of the time was spent playing with different ROM's, kernels and such.

Of course I made sure the phone was easily rootable in the first place before I bought it because I believe in only owning hardware that I can fully control.

Re:Was It Worth It? (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807202)

The time spent doing this could have been spent on a billable (or freelance) project that would have paid for a new phone (and then some).

The time you spent writing your comment could have been spent on a billable project. Don't you ever do anything just for the hell of it?

Re:Was It Worth It? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36807352)

No.

That'll be $2.50. Bitcoins are fine.

Re:Was It Worth It? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807392)

The time you spent writing your comment could have been spent on a billable project.

I was actually talking someone through changing some code while I posted. It wasn't billable but they had already paid for their project.

Don't you ever do anything just for the hell of it?

Sure, but not just to squeeze a little more functionality out of something. It has to be something I enjoy, and it certainly doesn't sound like the Cliq conversion was an enjoyable process.

Re:Was It Worth It? (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 2 years ago | (#36809546)

The result might be a more enjoyable phone though, i rooted my vodafone 845 nova (99 euro prepaid bargain bin android phone a year back) and i enjoyed it a lot more with root acces and a different launcher, even if the process of rooting wasnt exactly fun.

Re:Was It Worth It? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36807240)

The time spent doing this could have been spent on a billable (or freelance) project that would have paid for a new phone (and then some).

What time? TFA author could have rooted the XT in 1 click: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=834428 [xda-developers.com]

But how many times will you have to root the same phone model?

Never.

Will the process be similar or completely different with your next model?

Rooting manually is always the same: copy the 'su' binary and the 'Superuser.apk' app to the phone. It takes less than 5 minutes after doing it for the first time.

Sometimes the upgraded features are worth your time & effort, and other times it's worth the cost of a better phone.

Would you tell a Windows 95 user to not upgrade to Windows XP? Because that's exactly the level of difference between Android 1.x and 2.x.

It's astounding that some phones are still running 1.5 Android. I had an HTC G1 (the 1st Android phone) running 2.1 more than 1 year ago. The official firmware for the G1 (Android 1.6) was an awful awful experience. After updating to 2.x, many tasks, like browsing, were usually just as fast with the Droid.

Re:Was It Worth It? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36807424)

Would you tell a Windows 95 user to not upgrade to Windows XP? Because that's exactly the level of difference between Android 1.x and 2.x.

I would tell them they should not be installing XP on hardware that came with Win95.

Re:Was It Worth It? (1)

lowlymarine (1172723) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807266)

The time spent doing this could have been spent on a billable (or freelance) project that would have paid for a new phone (and then some).

I'll admit, I don't know how long it took the writer of the article to do whatever he did. I'm not particularly inclined to read the article since it keeps referring to "jailbreaking" an Android device which indicates the writer has no clue what he's talking about (Android doesn't run in a chroot jail to begin with so "jailbreaking" it is meaningless). However, the entire process of taking my Galaxy S from stock to a custom ROM took about 10 minutes, and the process of changing from one custom ROM to another even less (admittedly the Titanium Backup restore takes about 45 minutes, but it's also a "fire and forget" process that runs in the background). If you could share with me where you're getting these billable contracts that pay in excess of $3000 an hour, I'd much appreciate it.

Re:Was It Worth It? (0)

stms (1132653) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807370)

But but but.... I'm not supposed to get an iPhone because I'll have to go to a website and press a button to unlock it. I'm supposed to just get android and pay 2x-6x more and have it unlocked to begin with.

Re:Was It Worth It? (2)

Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807540)

Where the hell do you see anyone paying 2x-6x more for Android vs. an iPhone?

I think I paid $79 for my HTC Desire with contract, which if I'm not mistaken is actually less than most people pay for an iPhone - and I didn't have to decide "Gee, do I want to buy the base model or pay an exorbitantly high markup to have more storage space?" - I just bought my phone with the only capacity it's available with (8 GB microSD) and then went out and bought a 16 GB microSD card for $19 to upgrade it - vs. paying $100 (or more!) more to get the larger iPhone - which can't have it's storage capacity increased.

Oh, and then I loaded about 80 free applications on it, and how many free apps are available through iTunes, oh, that's right - they start at $0.99 and go up, so I saved another $79+ there, too....

Re:Was It Worth It? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36807906)

Millions bought the Droid X when it was new (and $570 w/o contract) for $0 through Amazon Wireless and other deal suppliers. It had comparable hardware to the iPhone 4. I'm sure similar deals exist now for modern Android phones.

Re:Was It Worth It? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36808036)

I think you missed the "have it unlocked to begin with" part of his comment. Unlocked phones aren't subsidized by the telco plans, so of course they're more expensive - regardless of iPhone/Android-ness.

Re:Was It Worth It? (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808116)

The android phones you get with a contract are usually locked and loaded with 80 crappy apps and stupid custom UI that slows down your phone and drains your battery life. The only android phone I would consider buying would be a Nexus and last I checked it was $99.99 for a locked version with a contract or $500 unlocked.

Re:Was It Worth It? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36808488)

Oh, and then I loaded about 80 free applications on it, and how many free apps are available through iTunes, oh, that's right - they start at $0.99 and go up, so I saved another $79+ there, too....

Err, there are so many free apps for iOS that there's infrastructure built in for finding them. I've got 180 apps, 10 by me, 40 that cost money, and the rest were free.

The apps that come with the iPhone and iPod touch, especially the browser and Mail, are good enough that you could get by without ever buying one or even having an iTunes account.

Re:Was It Worth It? (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808808)

I must point out that there are literally ~thousands~ of free apps on iTunes. Indeed I have far more free apps than paid ones.

Other than that I agree with your post. The markup paid just to get more storage space on the iPhone is ridiculous.

Re:Was It Worth It? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#36809384)

Oh, and then I loaded about 80 free applications on it, and how many free apps are available through iTunes, oh, that's right - they start at $0.99 and go up, so I saved another $79+ there, too....

FUD++; Credibility--;

Re:Was It Worth It? (1)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 2 years ago | (#36809458)

Don't talk about the iPhone ecosystem unless you know what you're talking about. In the midst of trying to sound superior it ends up making you sound incredibly ignorant. There tons of free apps on iTunes.

Re:Was It Worth It? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36809164)

iPhone 4 with a two year contract is like $300. I bought a brand new, unlocked G2x for the same price and my phone is superior to the iPhone 4 in almost every aspect.

Re:Was It Worth It? (1)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 2 years ago | (#36809476)

"my phone is superior to the iPhone 4 in almost every aspect."

Sooooo, based on that statement you could also say that the iPhone 4 is superior to your phone in almost every aspect too? I mean there are some things the iPhone is better at and some that your phone is better at, so really you made no point at all with your post.

Next time just post "I hate Apple" and quit wasting everyone's time.

Re:Was It Worth It? (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 2 years ago | (#36809600)

'in almost every aspect' pretty much means that the reverse of the statement is impossible, unless you start looking for edge cases and just being a dick (like, 2 aspects, 1 is 'almost every aspect')

Next time, just post "i'm being a annoying dick" and quit wasting everyone's time

Re:Was It Worth It? (1)

brim4brim (2343300) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807472)

Was it worth it? Maybe.

The time spent doing this could have been spent on a billable (or freelance) project that would have paid for a new phone (and then some).

Actually the time spent could have been used to try to find a freelance project, I'd say he would be lucky to get a freelance project and complete it in the time it takes to upgrade his phone with a custom rom after using an exploit to gain access.

I've rooted my phone but not upgraded it and it took me about half an hour to do it in total. I got my last windows mobile phone to duel boot android in a similar amount of time. It doesn't take effort or skill, usually someone else does most of the work and your just following their instructions. The people that learn how to do the actual hacking and actually create the custom Roms are learning skills that could be useful on future projects if they continue to work in the Android area since they will learn a lot about different parts of Android.

Re:Was It Worth It? (2)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807626)

Was it worth it? Maybe.

Was it worth the trouble? Yes, in the sense that learning how to jailbreak your own phone is a valuable skill, and I got much more functionality out of the Cliq, when I was expecting to simply junk it.

The time spent doing this could have been spent on a billable (or freelance) project that would have paid for a new phone (and then some). Yes, it's a good feeling to know you beat the technology. And yes, it's your phone and you should be able to do whatever you want with it. But how many times will you have to root the same phone model? Will the process be similar or completely different with your next model? Sometimes the upgraded features are worth your time & effort, and other times it's worth the cost of a better phone.

It'd be nice to have that option. Not everyone does.

Re:Was It Worth It? (1)

mldi (1598123) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807864)

Was it worth it? Maybe.

Was it worth the trouble? Yes, in the sense that learning how to jailbreak your own phone is a valuable skill, and I got much more functionality out of the Cliq, when I was expecting to simply junk it.

The time spent doing this could have been spent on a billable (or freelance) project that would have paid for a new phone (and then some). Yes, it's a good feeling to know you beat the technology. And yes, it's your phone and you should be able to do whatever you want with it. But how many times will you have to root the same phone model? Will the process be similar or completely different with your next model? Sometimes the upgraded features are worth your time & effort, and other times it's worth the cost of a better phone.

What's wrong with fun? Freelance work is boring. This person had fun and accomplished something useful for himself in the process.

Re:Was It Worth It? (1)

DeeEff (2370332) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808026)

Was it worth it? Maybe.

The time spent doing this could have been spent on a billable (or freelance) project that would have paid for a new phone (and then some).
 

I would disagree. It took me about three or four hours to root my Cliq/Dext, no previous experience. Most of that time was reading documentation or waiting for it to install the new ROM.

Besides, this is the same argument many hackers use when refurbishing a desktop. Why buy brand new when you can just format it into a server/ linux machine.

There is a way to get the most out of old hardware, and in this case can be much cheaper. (the exception being you brick your phone, in which case it probably costs around the same as a new phone.)

Re:Was It Worth It? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36808758)

Oh but he _did_ spend the time on a billable project! He fumbled around with other people's tech expertise, then wrote about it for Infoworld.

Using 3 pages, no less. Actual column inches comes to about 7% of the total area of all three. Great, high-value content - well worth linking in Slashdot.

Can you do it with a broken screen? (1)

SleepyHappyDoc (813919) | more than 2 years ago | (#36806750)

I have an old HTC Hero that has a badly cracked screen, that I'd love to repurpose as a UPnP audio server over Wifi, but every method I've seen to root it requires touching the screen at some point (and I don't know how to get VNC access without rooting it). Is there a way, or is it garbage now?

Re:Can you do it with a broken screen? (2)

scubamage (727538) | more than 2 years ago | (#36806794)

Many older phones let you install a recovery partition, which should give you access to the phone via ADB. From there you can do most of the work (AFAIK, YMMV)

Re:Can you do it with a broken screen? (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808448)

Many older phones let you install a recovery partition, which should give you access to the phone via ADB. From there you can do most of the work (AFAIK, YMMV)

I beleive what you're talking about is called Fastboot

Re:Can you do it with a broken screen? (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 2 years ago | (#36806806)

If you are really set on doing this, you could replace the screen. I don't know how to root that particular phone without using the touchscreen, but I do know you can buy a replacement screen for $30-50 or so. Or buy a non-working/broken one on ebay and swap parts? Maybe not what you were looking for, but it could work.

Re:Can you do it with a broken screen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36807038)

You can get a new screen from DealExtreme for $14.

Re:Can you do it with a broken screen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36807222)

wifi keyboard should not require root.

Re:Can you do it with a broken screen? (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807364)

Go to XDA. You can do everything you need using ADB. If you don't find instructions in the Hero forum check out the Eris forum (Same phone)

Re:Can you do it with a broken screen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36807908)

Some models, you may not even need to bother with that once you get past the initial root/ROM stage. I've slapped ROM Manager on several Android phones so I can change ROMs out when I feel like it. Since it completely backs up the ROM using nandroid, if I find the new ROM lacking in some way, a restore is just a re-run of the app away. Reloading apps is easy with Titanium Backup, so changing ROMs is very painless, other than the time taken to copy to and from the SD card.

Re:Can you do it with a broken screen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36809432)

Should be able to flash system and boot images with fastboot, xfer them with adb and install/restart to recovery with that as well. You might have trouble rooting it, since I believe the latest exploit relies on you enabling wireless or Bluetooth on the phone itself. Check out forum.xda-developers.org for more info.

jailbreak on an Android phone? (2)

MrDoh! (71235) | more than 2 years ago | (#36806816)

Unlock bootloader/or root it. There's a linux core there, rooting seems to make more sense than Jailbreaking.

Re:jailbreak on an Android phone? (1)

basotl (808388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36806868)

I get annoyed at the overuse of the term "jailbreak" in the context of Android devices. I just feel it's not all that accurate of a description.

Re:jailbreak on an Android phone? (1)

MDMurphy (208495) | more than 2 years ago | (#36806964)

Agree. By default Android isn't locked down like where you need to get Steve's permission to run something. I can't imagine someone familiar with Android using that term. Android phones aren't usually in the walled garden where they need to be broken out.
Rooting, and/or running an alternative OS is another thing altogether.

Re:jailbreak on an Android phone? (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807270)

Jailbreaking doesn't make sense in the Android realm. It is akin to calling lockpicking something like safecracking. Similar, but what is needed to get a safe open has little to do with getting tumblers to line up.

There are also degrees of getting a phone functional in the Android realm that are not present in the iOS ecosystem. With iOS, you have the usual locked down state, a tethered JB, and an untethered JB. You also have if the phone is locked or unlocked.

With Android, you have a lot more granularity. You can get root that is read-only or vanishes on a reboot (which is useful for Titanium Backup), you can have a device with a completely custom ROM and completely unlocked, and various degrees in between (such as having a ROM that kexecs over an existing stock ROM due to signed kernels, a common way to deal with Motorola devices.)

Re:jailbreak on an Android phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36806926)

He just rooted it and installed a version of cyanogenmod on it. That's really not even jailbreaking...

Re:jailbreak on an Android phone? (1)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807086)

It's more or less the same thing. You have to root the thing to jailbreak it, usually.

The tablet manufacturers seem to be a lot nicer about this. PanDigital released the source to their Android-based readers, and Archos lets you do pretty much anything you want with their Android-based PMP's and tablets.

Re:jailbreak on an Android phone? (1)

Trufagus (1803250) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807298)

No, it's not the same thing.

"You have to root the thing to jailbreak it, usually."

Please explain what this 'jailbreaking' is that you do to your Android phone after rooting it?

Android can have its own problems - depending on what the manufacturer or carrier get up to - but there is no jail.

MY GOD MAN !! EBAY AND BUY A NEW ONE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36806840)

This is nonsense !! Spending two months "jmailbreaking" outdated gear for what ?? Waaay too much time on his hands !!

Bootloader (1)

skjaidev (546202) | more than 2 years ago | (#36806954)

So he rooted and installed cyanogen? And he wrote a technically inaccurate article about it? Wow!

This is just a sampler -

        Another addition -- that, again, isn't immediately visible -- is a new bootloader. This
        lets you perform all sorts of low-level functions with the phone: wipe the user data,
        back up the currently installed version of Android, or install a modified version of
        Android

Re:Bootloader (1)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807316)

Hey - I wrote this comment with LILO.

Maybe he was getting confused with OpenFirmware - a firmware bootstrapper that lets you write bootloaders, or just about any other app, in Forth.

Er, probably not...

It is worth it. (5, Interesting)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 2 years ago | (#36806958)

I rooted my HTC Magic, a long time ago and have been running aftermarket ROMs on it.

It's kind of cool that I have current generation Android running on 2008 spec hardware which was abandoned by carriers at version 1.6 and the community has lost interest in updating Android for such decrepid hardware (CyanogenMod has stopped supporting this past 6.1). It's a testament to how awesome the OSS & modding community is.

Was it worth it? The phone works fine for calls and texts, has 90% of it's battery life, and is still working flawless after some horrific abuse that would have seen a iPhone 4 shatter into dust. (They don't make Droids like they used to). But increasingly many new Apps just don't work on such a old phone, let alone run acceptably. Many crash due to lack of RAM unless I enable a swap partition on a SD card (yes it's linux after all, can do that easily).

Ultimately I learned a lot about how the OS works, and learned quite a lot about how an OS should be done. Innovative multitasking and memory management and security too. Puts desktop OSes to shame. Somehow, it's Linux, yet you can make a lot of changes to your OS above and beyond installing apps without ever having to punch in a password to elevate to root. After decades of desktop OS practice, this is refreshing security practice.

It is always worth it for the learning and the insight.

Re:It is worth it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36807092)

Similar experience with the even older G1/HTC Dream, but found that going from 1.6 to 2.2 (BiffMod) actually increased performance and battery life. There is still the issue with some of the newer apps being too resource hungry, but all in all it's running a lot better than I would have considered given the age of the phone. It's really a shame that a lot of this 'old' hardware doesn't get taken advantage of more often.

Re:It is worth it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36807310)

An HTC Magic is not a Droid, it's an HTC Magic.

Yes it was worth it. (3, Informative)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#36806990)

I had to do the same with my wife's Cliq. I was told when I bought the phone it would get 2.1 in less than 2 months. I told them I wouldn't get it if it wasn't going to get the update. 10 months later and Motorola is telling me 2.1 will not work because it only has 256 Mb RAM. Well XDA [xda-developers.com] and Simply-Android [simply-android.com] to the rescue. I was rocking Gingerbread in no time and with a little tweaking the phone is stable and fast. Somebody handed me a stock G1 yesterday and I'm thinking it's just not fast enough or enough RAM. 2 hours later I have it rocking a custom Gingerbread ROM and it is quite snappy. My son replaced his dumbphone and is enjoying Android goodness via WiFi.

This is exactly what the manufacturers don't want. (2)

Thantik (1207112) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807024)

They would much rather your phone become so unusable as time goes on due to advances in software, that you have to buy a new phone every 18 months. This is why Verizon never carried the Nexus One. Another good example is that Samsung Galaxy S 2; it's not available in the United States yet because of the stranglehold the US carriers have on the market.

Re:This is exactly what the manufacturers don't wa (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36807460)

This is something that has bitten the phone makers in the derriere. Yes, they did get some more churn on Android phones, but what it has done is made people start drooling over the iPhone, especially now that it has a CDMA version.

The iPhone doesn't have the hardware specs an Android phone does, but for the average user, it will have a current OS and run current generation apps for at least one year, maybe two. If Android device makers allowed older devices (like the Motorola Cliq) to be able to keep up with 2.2 or even 2.3, maybe there wouldn't be this wholesale shift away from Android to iOS as the platform of choice.

Android phone makers need to start doing cool stuff so they are not viewed as the phone for someone who didn't get an iPhone (think how people's attitude was about the Zune.) Instead of 3D capabilities, maybe some basic but more useful stuff should be put on Android devices:

Better Exchange support. Without this, Android remains a consumer level curiosity in the IT sector.

Encryption of on board storage and the SD card. Easily done with LUKS and EncFS. This would make Android devices a lot more welcome in businesses.

Better Facebook support. Like it or not, the iPhone FB app is a nose better than the Android one. HTC Sense and MotoBlur are steps in the right direction, but ideally, there should be a unified effort.

Ability to back up securely. I would like to see phone makers embrace apps like Titanium Backup and nandroid to allow for backups to be done either to the SD card, or even to a cloud provider where the data is encrypted on the device before being sent up. Android makers either should see about a common cloud, or start making deals with Dropbox. Other than classifying music, Dropbox does pretty much everything one would need.

Ability to sync music. DoubleTwist is a solid step in this direction, but maybe Android phone makers should see about making something that does similar function to iTunes, but is much lighter in weight? Perhaps work on MediaMonkey?

Re:This is exactly what the manufacturers don't wa (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808842)

I dare say an iPhone will run 'current gen' apps for a lot longer than "a year, maybe two". A lot of people out there are still using the (3 year old) iPhone 3G, and that still runs ~most~ current apps just fine. Maybe not some particularly resource-intensive games or graphics software, but most other stuff. I can't imagine apps on ~any~ platform (Apple, Android or otherwise) becoming unusable in so short a time frame ... most people keep their phones for 2-3 years at least.

Interesting that you mention the FB iPhone app being better ... I always thought that the iOS Facebook app was nothing more than an HTML rendering wrapper around their standard mobile site. It's not really an 'app' at all, is it? Just their mobile site viewed in its own (non-browser) window? In which case it should behave the same on all platforms. Or am I completely mistaken...

Re:This is exactly what the manufacturers don't wa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36808270)

Given that you subsidize new phone purchases via contracts, why wouldn't they want you to keep a phone for 3 years rather than 2 and waste a year's worth of subsidy?

Re:This is exactly what the manufacturers don't wa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36809016)

Sometimes, you can get a new phone when you renew your contract early(and stay on the carrier-locked treadmill).

Re:This is exactly what the manufacturers don't wa (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808362)

it's the usa carriers buying in huge batches in advance, thinking they get a better deal that way. they don't.

Re:This is exactly what the manufacturers don't wa (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808838)

The Galaxy S2 is pretty awesome. A friend of mine has a shiny new one that I played around with last week. Even as someone that's a firm Apple/iPhone fan, I must admit it's got me thinking about Android next time I am due for an upgrade. The larger screen is a real selling point and makes me wonder whether Apple might actually increase the screen size on the next iPhone to compete, even though they've said in the past they aren't interested in increasing the current model's screen size.

I am not sure (1)

renzhi (2216300) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807200)

I am not sure if that's worth it. I have an HTC Touch Pro, I love the keyboard, it's only 3 years old, but I don't feel like abandoning it yet. So I grabbed the xdandroid code, and built a custom bundle to run on it, spent a lot of time making it work the way it is now (but still a lot of crashes), so I think it would be probably better off to work on something else to earn the money and buy a new phone. But what a waste to give it up, the hardware is perfectly fine, just that the software/platform has been abandoned.

So I am really wary about locked-down phone. I looked at the new Moto Droid 3, really like the hardware, but I don't think I'll get a phone that is so tightly locked down. The manufacturers and the service providers conspire to obsolete the phone every two years, so that we are on a spending treadmill. And the problem is, there is not a real open phone. OpenMoko is pretty much dead. After my N900 was stolen, I am back to my TP, and I think I'm going to use it until I find something open enough, and with a nice hardware keyboard. Not that TP is an open platform either.

Re:I am not sure (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807306)

I'd look at the next generation HTC offerings. HTC does not lock bootloaders anymore, so you can install what you wish.

Re:I am not sure (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807556)

The #1 reason I refuse to buy from HTC is because they continue to violate the GPL, releasing kernel sources months after the phones release, often kernel sources that dont match whats on the phone.

Re:I am not sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36807610)

At least they release *something*, unlike any of the other people. It may not be the right kernel source, but it can be used. Other phones, you have to figure out what drivers are in use and hopefully get that working for your ROM to be even remotely useful.

Re:I am not sure (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808032)

Well, yes, that is not a Good Thing(TM).

But once you install your own firmware, say CM, do you really care anymore?

Sometimes, you make your decision based on the hardware, and you throw away the bundled software.

An example: an OEM box preloaded with crap from Redmond.

Re:I am not sure (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 2 years ago | (#36809484)

The last true "open" phones were believe it or not..... Windows Mobile based devices like your Touch Pro. No locked boot loaders, an active custom ROM community, and easily modded. I was hesitant on going with another touch screen only phone after having a Samsung Omnia (small screen + failing/drifting digitizer made it impossible to type), but the newer phones with 4.3" screens made it much easier to type.

i thought (2, Insightful)

smash (1351) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807504)

android was open, and all this jailbreaking malarkey was something only iphone users trapped by steve jobs had to deal with

Re:i thought (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807758)

The difference is Jailbreak an iPhone = install any app. Most Android phones already allow you to install any app. Root=replace the ROM/kernel/OS and get superuser permissions so you can work outside the normal Dalvik sandbox permissions.

Re:i thought (1)

DeeEff (2370332) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808062)

Rooting actually has nothing to do with replacing the ROM, kernel or OS.

Rooting is the act of installing the superuser.apk file into your phone's flash memory. Basically, giving you admin/superuser permissions in your own phone.
This sort of thing is normally locked via bootloaders by carriers or manufacturers because superuser permissions can be just as dangerous as they are useful. It's not necessarily just Dalvik permissions that do it, but normal users are denied su permissions on the default install because they don't have either the knowledge or the attention span to bother learning how to use and restrict those kinds of permissions. (imagine your grandmother seeing the su permission request pop up, and hit yes every time. For everything. Ever.)

Note that some people often mix up this process with flashing a custom recovery, or even installing a custom ROM. These are both very different and separate procedures that require a rooted device to work.

Also note that you can't install a different kernel if you plan to use android (what comparable alternatives would work on an android phone anyways?) and installing a different operating system (OS) means you're not using android at all. Remember: ROM = version/instance of android OS, OS = an entire entity of a system of core utils, kernel etc that work together to form the components of what you see when you use your computer/ phone.

I'm not trying to sound like a smartass with this post either, just trying to clear things up a little.

Re:i thought (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808996)

I think maybe you're missing my point? I dont see where this idea comes from:"Rooting actually has nothing to do with replacing the ROM, kernel or OS." If they require root, then they are related, no? I know they are separate processes but rooting is the "enabler" -- akin to jailbreaking's enabling of non-App Store app installs.

  I only threw in Dalvik because a rooted device can use apps that have su permissions beyond that of typical apps. Another one of the things it enables.

By kernel I mean people have flashed kernels that have been modded, often to allow overclocking the CPU. This was pretty popular with the Droid 1.

Anywho, you dont sound like a smartass or anything, that was a perfectly respectful post :) But I think maybe you're confused about what you're clearing up :)

Re:i thought (2)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 2 years ago | (#36809500)

Most people root their phones to delete the crapware their provider loads the phone up with. That alone can provide a nice performance boost.

Re:i thought (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808012)

Its not really jailbreaking, to 'root' your phone only really gives you the ability to install custom ROM's (version of the OS) on the phone. Jailbreaking was different and nessecary if you wanted applications that are not on the iTunes store. Rooting your phone is only nessecary if you want the latest version of Android and Samsung, Motorola, HTC, etc cant be bothered upgrading.

Of course you can just get a Nexus phone if you really care about having the latest Android.

Re:i thought (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808378)

rooting also gives you a way to mess with apps you installed from android market(for example, copying them to another phone, messing with their settings and "private" files).

Re:i thought (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808134)

Android does not have a walled garden (in the sense that you can install apps from non just the official Andorid Market, but from anywhere you please). You still dont get root access by default (atleast most phones done), and the ability to modify the bootloader or kernel is not guaranteed. But yeah the source code is available, and people do build custom roms, though they still have to get past the locked bootloaders (Only a few motorola phone had the bootloader locked I guess).

I cannot believe people still keep asking about.

once again (2, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807532)

I ask why do we need to jail break an android phone? Wan't the point of Android that it was supposed to the alternative to the evil Apple phone that trapped people in a walled garden. Doesn't it seem that android is the worst of both world. No benefit of the security of the walled garden, but no benifit of automatic upgrades and protection from the telcos.

Re:once again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36808080)

It's not really "jailbreaking", just rooting it so you can access the bootloader and rom bits.

Re:once again (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808398)

Having an iPhone doesn't guarantee automatic upgrades, etc. either. Apple really likes dropping hardware support as soon as they're able to get away with it, just like any other manufacturer. Try putting the latest iOS on the 1st generation iPhone. Good luck. However, you can put the latest Android on there.

Re:once again (1)

jedrek (79264) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808790)

My iPhone 3G won't take the latest iOS, it was also released before the first Android phone came out.

Nothing like some good old freetard FUD.

Jailbreak != Root (3, Informative)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808444)

I ask why do we need to jail break an android phone?

You dont, you can do everything you can do on a jailbroken Iphone on an un-rooted Android phone.

You only root when you want to properly tinker with the OS itself, not the programs running on it.

Make sure you understand the distinction between jailbreaking and rooting:

Jail Breaking: Getting around the manufacturers restrictions on what you're allowed to install on your phone. Hence you're "breaking" your phone out of its "jail".
Rooting: Gaining root level access to the OS itself allowing you access to change (or break) every part of the OS.

Jailbreaking does not grant the level of access Rooting does.

Most people root as a precursor to installing a custom ROM, last time I checked there were not custom IOS ROMs out there.

I did more or less the same thing.. (3, Informative)

toonces33 (841696) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807576)

I too have a Cliq, and I got tired of the overall sluggishness and instability of the thing. Yeah, I could have gone out and gotten a new phone, but I still have 8 months to go on the contract, and I would have to buy my way out. The installation of Cyanogenmod was kind of an experiment to see if I could make the thing more tolerable. Worst case, I brick the thing and go out and get something else.

The only thing time consuming for me was to back things up ahead of time. Using different forms of backups that most people have never even thought of. Including

a) First use Sprite Backup (a paid app) to backup things like text messages and so forth.
b) Back up all of my contacts out of MotoBlur, and then import them into Google. I would never buy another Moto phone again, so I would have needed to do this anyways..
c) Use "Astro" to back up all apps installed on the phone.
d) Root the phone. Cyanogenmod instructions for my phone were pretty clear, and this was easy.
e) Then back up the recovery partition. Basically use the "dd" command to back up the partition to the SD card.
f) Install custom recovery code "ClockworkMod".
g) Use the custom recovery to again back up the phone - this backs up the MotoBlur version of software currently running.
h) Download and install the new ROM. There were a couple of other important steps I needed to do as well - flushing caches to make sure things are stable. The Cyanogenmod instructions were pretty clear as to what needed to be done in which order.

After that, I was done. And it was like a new phone. Quite responsive, and it seems quite stable.

What's a Jailbreak? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36807580)

I think that's a term used in the iWorld... it's rooting from what I understand....

T-Mobile G2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36807764)

I rooted and installed an alternate kernel for my handset, and have it clocked up to 1ghz. To be honest it handles everything I throw at it just fine, so all these dual core and tegra stuff really have no appeal to me. If I want emulation or to play games I have my psp for that (also by having custom firmware on it, which was easier than my handset).

Re:T-Mobile G2 (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 2 years ago | (#36807984)

I was performing an update for my Desire Z (unbranded G2) and it managed to completly corrupt itself, now its sitting with the warrenty guys where they have been twiddling their thumbs for three weeks saying they haven't been able to fix it. Personally I intend on rooting this phone the minute I get it back. Any good mods for Desire Z / G2?

Re:T-Mobile G2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36808908)

I just run cyanogen's baconbits kernel with stock everything else after "s-off"ing it. Then SetCPU from the xda forums/marketplace to overclock. Then LauncherPro. I mean I could run a complete other baked rom, but what I have suits my purpose just fine~

Re:T-Mobile G2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36808626)

My O2x is buttery smooth at everything that it does. I never want to use a shitty single core Android phone again.

Custom roms are the best! (2)

trunicated (1272370) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808024)

A few weeks after the Captivate (Galaxy S i897) 2.2 update got pushed back several times, I decided to take the leap into custom roms for my phone. I found XDA, which had a decently understandable guide on how to root your phone, and a list of roms that one could use, along with tons of different kernels and modems one could use to make various tweaks to your phone. I tried a few different roms, and settled on an older, slightly more stable 2.2 rom names Firefly.

The hardest part of the whole process was rooting the phone initially. Once you can put Clockwork Recovery on, you're set.

More to the point, I lucked out and the Cyanogen Team [slashdot.org] started development of their lovely AOSP based rom for my device. Even better, it was based off of version 2.3.4, and the group has a great track record for getting updates made, stabilized, and out eons ahead of carriers. I took the dive, and dropped a nightly build of the rom onto my device, and have loved every minute of it. Besides having Netflix on my device, I can customize tons of aspects of the OS, and all I give up are some of the proprietary things that Samsung/AT&T bundle with the phone (like codecs and video players that utilize the graphics hardware to play video).

Outside of very minor complaints that are easily worked around (Hello Rockplayer, and soon VLC), it's the best thing I could have done with my phone. If you don't find yourself using any of the bundled stuff from your carrier or manufacturer on your android phone, I suggest you head over to XDA to Cyanogen and try out a couple of roms until you find out one that works for you.

Standard Disclaimer: YMMV, follow instructions closely so you don't brick your phone. While hard bricks are rare, they happen, and all of this stuff voids your warranty!

A Bit Contradictory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36808112)

He justifies his rooting of the phone by making a song and dance about manufacturers not providing updates and then drops this in:

Since jailbreaking involves exploiting security holes, there's constant tension between those who create jailbreaking strategies and the phone or phone OS manufacturers. Not long after a hole is discovered, it's usually patched by the phone maker.

If the manufacturers aren't providing updates then the holes will never be patched. If the manufacturers are providing updates, what's the incentive for rooting the phone - beside getting the telco's skins and bundled apps out of the way?

I've done the Cliq/Dext, Don't use /. to brag! (0)

Nemo's Night Sky (1051346) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808180)

but i hear the XT is similar just less powerful hardware. it was easy with instructions on xda developers forums. as well as many roms ready for flashing. there is no reason to do this on your own unless its to brag that you cracked something thats already been cracked. this isn't news. its not even a discussion. why is this on the front page? this guy is using /. to tell everyone how cool and smart her is.

Motorola I1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36808360)

At Mexico Nextel have motorola I1 like one of their betters smartphones, but the reality is that use android 1.5 and motorola don't have plans of update, somebody can't help?

JAILBREAK = IPHONE; ROOTING = ANDROID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36808836)

People..Please learn the differences between iPhone and Android before posting to the entire world.

There is no such thing as "jailbreaking" an android phone and anyone who regularly messes around with flashing custom roms will know that there is major differences to jailbreaking and obtaining root.

This guide was obviously written by an iPhone user FOR iPhone users.... please stick to your iPhail

Re:JAILBREAK = IPHONE; ROOTING = ANDROID (1)

Koutarou (38114) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808920)

Actually there IS an analog to jailbreak in android. Some carriers disable the "Unknown Sources" checkbox in Settings -> Applications. The act of re-enabling this is almost exactly the same thing as an iphone jailbreak.

Re:JAILBREAK = IPHONE; ROOTING = ANDROID (1)

thunderbox666 (2389726) | more than 2 years ago | (#36808968)

The act of re-enabling this is almost exactly the same thing as an iphone jailbreak.

But thats not what this article is about. The author is writing a guide on how to Root a phone. I agree with one of the commentors in the link "I can't take an article about rooting an Android phone seriously when it has "Jailbreak!" in the title and throws "'Droid" around. "

Re:JAILBREAK = IPHONE; ROOTING = ANDROID (1)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 2 years ago | (#36809514)

Well the good news is that most people don't care and they just want to use their phone with the latest OS installed without having to root their phone. So the only "fail" would appear to be on the part of Android phones that are unnecessarily locked out of OS updates. On my iPhone I always get the latest OS update, and I don't have to go through the process of rooting the phone. How's that walled garden you're living in there pal?

Phones? Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36809554)

All of this incessant chatter about phones really makes me reconsider having ever become a nerd. It's not even cool anymore.

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