Monday, October 08, 2012

Leveraging Android - Part 3 - What's the meaning of Rooting the phone

Prequel posts  Part1   Part2

What's the meaning of Rooting phone

I am not an Android developer per say, but I understand the concept in layman terms. When you say rooting phone, you are getting more powers on your device. Powers!! yes you read it right. More powers. So what you mean by more powers.

To understand it better we need to understand Security concept a little bit. Android is Linux based operating system. Linux is much more controlled environment. Role based permissions can be set for different actions on the operating system. Its like, at your office, who can enter which area of the office. Not everyone have access to server rooms and neither to finance departments etc. 

In similar way within Linux you can fix up the permissions. So in Android. Having root access makes you the BOSS of your device. All the applications (apps) can be considered as your folks reporting to you. Any app wants to have any special permission to read/ write in system folders, or any "not-normal" thing, Android will intimate BOSS, that is you, saying so-and-so app wants to do so-and-so, you want to allow. How cool is it. You can say yes, no, remember this selection and always allow him to do that job etc. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Rooting your phone

  • As you have already read, above, it allows you do more things than you could have done on a non rooted phone
  • It makes you the BOSS
  • More control on your device. You can overclock and undervolt your CPU (Will explain in future posts)
  • Some cool and important Apps like Titanium Backup need root access.
  • You can browse entire system file systems. Usually you can only browse anything in /sdcard and /external_sd only. Once rooted apps allow to browse started from "/". which is called root folder. 
  • You can play around and Tweak CPU (Central Processor), GPU (Graphic Processor), Touch sensitivity  and many other hardware related entities
  • You can install some cool custom ROMs (I will explain about ROMs in later posts) example: CyanogenMod
  • It might void your manufacture warranty 
  • Once you are made BOSS Android expects you to take care of vulnerable risks. So you need to be more careful
  • Apps can actually do anything and everything. They can influence the hardware as well. So risk of damaging your phone might be there
How to Mitigate risk
You can always unroot your phone. So that you reduce the impact and root it back, when needed :) 

How to root your Phone
There are multiple ways to do it and depends on your device. Mine is Samsung Galaxy S2 and I followed the steps explained in following thread . Other devices should have similar way. Please search in google or in XDA.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Leveraging Android - Part 2 - Apps

My favourites

1. Hot pursuit, need for speed
2. Temple run
3. Sprinkle
4. Triple town
5. Cut the rope

1. Power amp. Love the features, lock screen controls etc
2. Far burst cam - wow, lovely
3. Pic say- handy tool for quick edits
4. Fish bowl gallery - nice tool for slide show
5. MX player. What a lovely video player
6. Skifta. Amazing tool for dlna streaming
7. Screen cast. Screen video capture tool

Powerful tools
1. Tasker - what can I say about it. My most fav tool too control entire phone based on various situations. I will write separate post for this
2. Titanium backup - excellent backup tool
3. OS monitor - gives OS level details
4. ES explorer - powerful explorer and editor
5. Aldiko - fav book reader
6. Dropbox -.need any explanation?
7. Evernote. Amazing note taking app with cloud backup with PC tool and Web based support as well.

1. Facebook - app is horrible, do I use FB Light
2. Google plus
3. Flip board. What an amazing magazine like social app. Integrates almost everything
4. Google chat
5. Skype
6. Whatsapp
7. Viber
8. Tapatalk - forum based discussions

Network tools
1. ANDftp - my fav ftp client
2. Folder sync - folder syncing with phone local with remote folder. Love this tool
3. 2X client- remote desktop connection
4. Blogger - using this tool to write blog posts

Office stuffs
1. Touch down email client for outlook mails and calendar
2. Lync for Microsoft 360 chats
3. Polaris for office documents

Some of the above apps are paid apps
Some of the above apps need root access (Explain in future posts)

Friday, October 05, 2012

Leveraging Android - Part 1


After my successful series of "Build and Make" which talks about building and making your home, now let me write something on Technology side. It's about Smart phones and more specifically on Android. I will try to share my experience, knowledge and interesting links in this brand new series called "Leveraging Android"

Enormous Growth

Smart phones have now really grown into big banyan tree. We have seen Android growing almost from no where to what we have now. The open source community have contributed  much more for this catalytic growth. It has almost beaten the Apple in such a short span of time. We have seen many Android vs iPhone comparison articles, videos(Link) and what not. But at the end, smart phone users are at receiving end. Technology have grown so big that you can think of anything you have it on your hand, literally. :)

My Experience

My first Android experience started from my beloved Samsung Galaxy 5. Very small phone on hand and running on Froyo. I was mesmerized with Android OS and immediately had fallen love with it.

I had it for 18 months and sold it, before I bought my current fascination Samsung Galaxy S2 (post). Before I sold, I had put my hands into deeper and had tried rooting, flashing and upgraded my OS to Gingerbread. I was so happy the day I had Gingerbread on my Galaxy 5 phone. I could tether my 3G to my laptop. That was the coolest feature I had ever seen.

Oh! are you murmuring! "Wait a minute,step back, don't talk Greek and Latin?" What are these jargons - Rooting, Flashing, Tethering etc ? Even I did not know them. I started reading XDA Forums and learnt about each of them slowly. That's when I realized how many tech geeks and maniacs out there.

Apps and Widgets

Anyone who starts to use the smart phone (of course little more than making and receiving calls) would know what apps and widgets are. App is acronym for application. Widgets are live elements on your screen which provides more details without you launching the app.

Apps make the world of Android so much interesting and happening. I will have separate post on my favorite apps

Usually widgets are part of apps.

  • Weather Widget will provide the current weather in specified location 
  • Clock widget will show the time in specified time zone
  • Photo frame widget displays a bunch of photos one after the other

Let me wind my first post now and continue later.. Thanks for reading