Diving into the world of rooting and modding your Android phone or tablet can feel like an overwhelming endeavor. Open a forum thread with some instructions and you’ll find yourself staring at all sorts of strange words and confusing combinations of letters. ROMs, Kernels, Nandroids, TAR images…what does it all mean?! We’re here to help! Below you’ll find the newb’s dictionary to the strange language of modding/hacking. This is not intended to be a technical definition of each concept, but an easy to understand explanation for the average Joe.
Get reading after the break:
If you currently own a rooted Android device, or flashed a custom ROM, chances are you’ve taken at least one nandroid based or titanium based backup of your system settings and application data. As you know, in order to take either of these backups, root access is required.
What about if you want to unlock your bootloader after you’ve been using your device for several months? Since it’s unlikely that you would already have root access, you were forced to lose this precious data.
Whether you’re a novice or a pro, when it comes to rooting and flashing things to your phone it seems there’s always something new to learn. The topics in the title are often the least understood and yet the most sought after enhancements to our devices. That being said they generate a lot of questions and typically few concise answers. For instance, have you ever wondered any of the following?
- “OK I have flashed this xyz kernel. What’re all these governors? How do I know which one is the best for me? How do I tweak them to bias their characters towards Battery-life/Performance/Balance between the Two?”
- “What’s this about these modules that come with the kernel? What are they? How do I use them. Are they any good? Is it OK to neglect them?”
- “What roles does an I/O scheduler play? How do I choose a reliable I/O scheduler?”
- “Can I have more control on CPU? Can I get more info and tweaks on dual core CPU, bus frequency, etc?”
If so, you should check out droidphile‘s post over on XDA’s forums. Droidphile writes,
“Hope this thread could give you answers for all these questions. We’re covering governors, modules, i/o schedulers that comes with Siyah kernel, plus more. That should cover almost all the popular governors/modules/io schedulers! Many people seem to get lost in Kernel dev threads without getting answers about governors and such.”
The thread is extensive! 18 popular governors are finally clearly defined. Sample Governor tweaks are given. INIT.D scripts are explained. A comprehensive list of modules and there functions are listed, and so much more. Hit the source link to be taken to a treasure trove of Android knowledge.
If you’re looking for some real mod-fu, check out the inductive charging mod that a fellow name Qian Qin performed on his Samsung Galaxy S. Qin was looking to get inductive charging going on his Galaxy S, so he decided to go out and purchase a Palm Pre inductive battery cover and Touchstone base for his modding needs. His stipulations for the mod were that it couldn’t be outwardly visible and it couldn’t void his warranty. Low and behold, the man succeeded, by implanting the Palm Pre inductive charging chip in the back cover of the Galaxy S, leading a wire from the chip to the charging port, and using the microSD mount as a ground point. Qin then posted a visual representation of his modding skills via YouTube. Check out the video below and let us know what you think in the comments!
If modding is your cup of tea, you might want to hold off on updating your T-Mobile G-Slate with the 3.1 update that’s currently rolling out as it is being reported that the new update carries with it a locked bootloader.
With a locked bootloader making the flashing of ROMs impossible, is the “update” even worth it? Is the 3.1 update better than what can be accomplished now with 3.0.1 + a custom ROM? It comes down to whether or not you value the access that an unlocked bootloader gives you and whether or not that access is worth the price of an update.
Prior to this update, G-Slate had been one of the more developer friendly tablets on the market. Its both sad and frustrating to see this happen when other manufacturers are taking positive steps in the opposite direction.
The Motorola Atrix was the top of the Android foodchain at the beginning of the year being the first dual-core Android device released. Since then, you gotta wonder how it could be improved upon. How about giving it a software overhaul by way of CyanogenMod 7 for example? CyanogenMod is easily the most popular of any available Android ROMs out there, and for good reason. It’s offers add-ons and features that we only wish were built into the actual Android 2.3 code and left that way when we buy it.
Now that the bootloader has been unlocked for the Motorola Atrix (which was an uphill battle for a long time), there’s no stopping the amount of mods and ROMs that we’ll start seeing. Best of all, testing is underway as you read this to get CyanogenMod 7 onto the Motorola Atrix. No time has been given for its release, but we’re sure at the pace they have worked for many other devices, it shouldn’t be long before it’s up for download.
[via xda developers]
While most Android customization comes from software modifications, every now and then someone brings up a cool way to make your phone’s hardware look even better. Paul white has managed to find a rather simple way to polish the back of the HTC Sensation 4G to get a cool, futuristic chrome look. If that’s not your cup of tea, he also explains how you can get a brushed metal look. The process is actually incredibly simple and his guide to doing it contains a lot of pictures for your visual learners. Even though it’s low risk, modding the outside of your phone can still lead to problems if you aren’t careful. Regardless, I have to say I’m kind of jealous that nothing like this has been done for the Evo. It just looks cool.
When T-Mobile announced the G2, there were a lot of mixed feelings. On the one hand, the G1 has been heralded as the trendsetting Android device, given that it has been kept “pure” as a device, and has served as the standard by which other phones were measured. Due to being developed by Google themselves, it was a very untouched platform, and developers loved it. So, the G2 announcement was great news.
But then came the bad news…the G2 firmware had locks in place to prevent hacking. It was said that if the firmware detected any foreign kernels or tampering with the system, it would shut down and brick. Anger and sadness followed in the wake of this news.
But a few weeks back, we discovered that the G2 had been rooted, and we knew that meant great things lay ahead.
over at XDA-Developers, Scotty2 has managed to advance the cause. He has broken both the lock on the firmware AND the security system that checks to make sure that the firmware is “valid”. He then unlocked the SIM slot so that it can accept other SIM cards. Might as well kill two birds with one stone, right?
The process is tricky, and a lot of phones are still being bricked, so proceed at your own risk. One thing is for sure, though…the mod community took a huge step today. Scotty2, we salute you.
Here’s another one of those DIY macro lens attachments for you amateur cell phone photographers looking to get those tricky close-up shots. Rather then buy one for his phone, Nexus One owner Thomas went the do-it-yourself route using an old binocular lens, epoxy, and a headphone jack to secure it his phone. I especially like the use of the headphone jack mount for easy attachment and removal.
Keep reading to see the before and after shots:
So you’ve got an SNES emulator on your Nexus One,which is great, but you’re stuck using the on-screen controller and you want a better experience than that. What do you do? Well, if you’re this guy, you do some genius-type home modding.
Using only a Nexus One, a Wiimote, a Nexus One bicycle holster, an elastic band, and some MacGyver ingenuity, YouTube user baza210 has created a “svelt and neatly pocketable” portable gaming rig. Even better, he plans to modify his design to fit the Sony PlayStation 3 controller when it gets friendly with the Android OS.
Done some serious modding of your own? Lay down some details and bragging rights in the comments!