Taking control over our Android phone
Fully-integrated services offered by Smart phones like the iPhone and Android devices have now ushered us into the era of mobile 2.0, where normal phone calls are overshadowed by new options such as downloading applications, social networking, video, internet, high resolution photography, Skype, WhatsApp, etc. These small machines are computers in every measure, however marketed with certain limitations. In the case of Androids, many companies ( if not 100%) ship them with pre-installed applications which does not allow the user to uninstall. More over, most users are unaware that they have restricted permissions. Operators justify it by saying that this is a security measure so that the novice avoids damaging the system, but this argument crumbles. It’s like purchasing a PC where we are not allowed to uninstall preinstalled antivirus systems or some programs may not work because we do not have Administrator permissions. Not logical but this is exactly what happens with our smart phones.
Thousands of users have to live forever with game demos and applications unique to operators because they cannot uninstall them. Aside from that, they are also prohibited to use other applications available in the Android Market like Titanium Backup, an interesting tool that allows us to backup all our applications and system data. Others such as the Galaxy S Unlock (also available in the Market) can unlock the Samsung Galaxy S to use with SIM cards from other companies, but we are also required to have administrator permissions, which is essentially the same as having “root access”. In fact, there are several ways to get root access. One is to flash the firmware terminal and install an unofficial but customized Android with the help of programs like ODIN, but this is not an easy process and poses some risks. However, there are other options to get root access without compromising the original firmware which I will discuss later.
In the case of Samsung Galaxy S, the new versions of firmware can be obtained through a program called Samsung Kies. If we use Kies to update our phone, there’s an assurance that we are using an official version for our Samsung Android. However, until it is available through Kies, it may take months before Google releases the code for the new version of Android. Until then, we cannot enjoy the improvements of the new version. In addition, there have been several cases where users tried to update the firmware with Kies by first restoring the phone back to the factory settings, resulting in loss of all applications (without the possibility of making a backup since they do not have root access and cannot use tools like Titanium Backup).
This lack of freedom poses a problem. Personally, I recommend Android root on terminal and master the official version. Of course, we should not stop hoping and having patience until we can resolve this issue.
Until recently, Android version 2.3.3 Gingerbread could only be accessed by installing a non-original firmware root, but DooMLoRD of XDA Developers has developed a program to have root access on the original version of Android 2.3. 3. If you want to see the tutorial in English, click here. I tried it on my Samsung Galaxy S a week ago and it worked perfectly. One of the first steps in the tutorial is to have ADB drivers installed on your terminal. These are the drivers supplied by Google for people who develop programs for Android. They are easy to install. This link is also another tutorial in English, which includes a video that explains how to install drivers on an Android phone ADB.
If you ever want to return the phone to its original state and lose root privileges-for example, update it with Kies, it is explained here. Remember, most of the new applications that come to the market now require root access. One of the most recent is Call Master, which allows us to block calls, block SMS spam, automatically pick up call and also hang up after a few seconds, and so on. Another interesting application that does not work properly without root access is Lapse It. Lapse It Lapse allows us to create time lapse videos with the phone, but the shutter makes a sound in every shot which we can only put in silent mode if we have root access.
Anyone who wants more information, stop by the blog of El Androide Libre.
Become superuser and take control of your Android!
Update: You can get root access very easily with the new version 2.3.1 SuperOneClick without ADB drivers installed first. This new version works on terminals of Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread), such as the Samsung Galaxy 2 or the Xperia Neo and others. More information here.