Android Simplicity

What Is Rooting On Android? Is Rooting Right For You?

People who have recently purchased a mobile phone or tablet computer which runs on the Android operating system may have been made aware of the potential to root the device. Typically most people will be completely unaware of what this entails, in which case it would be pertinent to ask “what is rooting on Android?”

So What is Rooting? 
Rooting Android devices essentially means giving the owners extended privileges. This would allow them to be able to customize various aspects of the software which would otherwise be very strictly controlled. Originated from Linux, the term "Root" is coined from the owner having to obtain superuser rights from logging in as a "Root" user/id. Thus, the process where the user goes through to obtain superuser permissions on an Android device(linux based) it is referred to as "Rooting". 
How Do I Get Root?
The method of rooting Android devices varies depending on the make and model of the phone or tablet. Android is an operating system which is used in handsets by many different manufacturers, and so it is important for anybody who is thinking of attempting to root their device to carefully research the correct specific procedure. Any mistakes which are made could render the device useless, and since the procedure invalidates the warranty this could be very costly to the owner.

Risks and Benefits of Rooting
For many people, however, the benefits of having a rooted device far outweigh any potential risks. People who have a good knowledge of gadgets and technology generally feel that they are very restricted in what they can achieve with devices which have not been rooted. In essence, every aspect of how the device operates is tightly controlled. Only by rooting Android is the system opened up to its full potential.

One of the main benefits of rooting Android devices is the ability to load software which would otherwise be incompatible. These pieces of software are called ROMs, and they allow various aspects of the device to be altered, including the graphics and themes which are displayed. It is also possible to install new versions of Android, which is of considerable benefit to owners of older devices who no longer receive updates. For example the Android HTC Dream(aka Google G1) officially supports only up to Android 1.6(Donut - left pic below). For rooted users, they can upgrade to Android 2.3(Gingerbread) using custom ROMs.
Donut on G1
Gingerbread on G1

Perhaps the most important reason for rooting Android devices is to improve their performance and functionality. An owner of a rooted handset can install custom made ROMs onto it to make it run faster, to increase the battery life, and to enhance the signal strength. This can make a rooted device considerably more desirable than a standard one. Rooting also enables enhanced features such as free Wi-Fi and USB tethering. Service providers will often charge extra for features such as these.

Rooting Android opens up a wealth of possibilities to device owners because it is based upon an open source community of developers. ROMs and apps are continually being developed to fix issues and improve performance. The ability of an owner to tailor their device exactly to their own specifications is very appealing, but due to the open source nature of the software you as the owner must ensure that anything which is installed is safe and it is only on yourself that can be blamed if anything malfunctions or if the device becomes "bricked".

- ROMs
- Improved Performance and Functionality
- Reduced Restrictions
- Use Root Only Apps

- A bricked device
- Time(depending on user's ability)
- Voids warranty -> only if you don't "unroot" it when you send it back for repair

Asking “what is rooting on Android?” is an important question for new device owners, as it could potentially result in them having a much more useful phone or tablet. There are risks involved with rooting Android devices, most notably that it invalidates the warranty, but it also provides many benefits. Ultimately, unless a device fails completely as a result of rooting it can always be reverted back to its original status. Additionally, there some retailers(like bestbuy) that offers rooting insurance. This removes some of the risk, and leaves rooting Android as being an option to be carefully considered.


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