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December 7, 2010

Does anyone really need to root Android?


With the advent of apps like x4root, rooting has become very easy and reversible on the Android platform. With the danger of loosing the manufactures warranty, and the errant chance that still exists to brick your phone, is rooting a worthwhile adventure?

I've had my Droid 2 running Froyo for a little over a month now, and while I haven't tried all the advance features that I may want to use the phone for, I still don't see a need to experiment with rooting it.

I use the phone for my many e-mail accounts, it's actually easier to keep up with them on the Droid then if ever did using a desktop or laptop. I also use it while performing my moderator duties here at Linux.com, I watch my stock trades and also keep up with the news feeds. Add to that, I've just found Angry Birds and enjoy reading the front page of Reddit.

I must admit, when your using the phone as much as I do, one needs to keep a second battery charged up as a backup, because, the battery life on the phone is limited. I've heard that rooting the phone, possible using a custom ROM and getting rid of the stock energy using apps and processes increase the battery life, but, does it really increase time it takes to drain a battery enough that I won't have to carry around the spare? I'm not so sure.

There seem to be apps that allow tethering (although I haven't even experimented with tethering since the capabilities of Android replace the laptop that I use to carry around), and apps that allow the creation of a VPN (which I thought would need root permissions), so, I'm still debating whether rooting the phone is even worth it.

Some advantages to rooting, which I may see being worth the gamble, would be in the way File Management and Menu structure is handled. I've been finding work arounds using the Folder Organizer app, but, I still can't find a real solution to hiding the crapware that came with the phone, or, categorizing my Contacts like I did with the Palm Treo, since Google sees contacts as everything from phone numbers to email addresses, and they're all grouped together (it's only been a month, I still may be missing features that I've yet to discover), but unless one roots, you can't delete or hide apps or contacts that are in the way.

Does anyone have experiences where they're able to perform tasks after rooting that they weren't able to on an unrooted Android phone? How about battery life? Does rooting and/or the use of a third party ROM really extend the life of the battery to the extent that heavy use doesn't require more than one charge per day? I'm starting to think that all the excitement about the ability to root may be more about the challenge and the freedom, but not necessarily the increase in functionality.

What do you think? I'd like to hear what Linux users think when their access to root is restricted. Does it really make that much of a difference?

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