Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Samsung Galaxy S Rooted, now what?

When I first got my Samsung Galaxy S, it had 2.1 on it. I was impressed with Android in general, but 2.1 had some issues which I was somewhat frustrated with:
  • Battery Life

  • Wireless Reliability

Interestingly, the two issues were linked. The problem I was having was that quite often the phone would not connect to the wireless network. While trying to connect, the phone would be using 100% cpu. In order to resolve this issue, I had to switch off Wi-Fi and switch it back on again. Usually that would solve the problem, connect to the wi-fi network, cpu consumption would return to normal, and battery life would be long and predictable.

When 2.2 came out, I was still plagued with wireless connectivity issues, as I was in 2.1, but it didn't consume 100% of the CPU (and thus battery life was not affected), and it was the problem was quite rare. So, all in all I was quite happy with it.

I did have one major annoyance the whole time I owned the phone, and that was with the Facebook app. It would LAG to hell on every operation. Quite often, I had to reboot the whole phone to recover from a facebook app crash. I found myself not using Facebook at all because the app simply did NOT work, and I found myself quite jealous of nearby iOS devices that COULD run it fine.

Having owned the phone for nearly a year now, it was beginning to have other problems with lag, and some applications Force Closing on me. After a while, I figured the 500 or so apps that I had installed and uninstalled in the last year were probably to blame. As with any OS, a format and reinstall generally solves a LOT of problems.

So, I took screenshots (Hold Back Button and Press Home) of all my home screens, and applications listings. Backed up my SD Cards to my PC, Backed up my SMS Messages using SMSBackup+ to my Gmail account, and reset the phone back to factory defaults. Or the 2.2 version of the factory defaults.

Immediately, I was much happier with the responsiveness of the phone. Opening apps was faster, moving between home screens was snappy. Very happy.

So, I reconnected my gmail, installed K9 and reconnected my exchange mailbox, re-synced my calendars and contacts. I set up all my home screens, and within about an hour of starting, the phone was back to the way I wanted it - but everything worked REALLY WELL. Even the facebook app, which before was the most broken of everything, and now works just as well as the iOS equivalent.

It was at this point that I realised just how easy the whole process of "stating again" really was. I figured I already had everything backed up, so if I had to reinstall again it wasn't a huge loss. Why not try and root the phone. It's all the rage in the iOS world, and unlocks HUGE potential in devices. So, I did it.

I side-loaded Z4Root (using Astro), and I did a temporary root. It worked fine.
I installed Root Check, checked that I did in fact have Root, and it confirmed as much. So, I did a permanent root.
When the phone booted back up again, it was just the same as before. I still had root as confirmed by Root Check.

It was at this point that I wondered exactly what the point of root on this device was. I'd never really "wanted" for more access to my device.

So I did some searching on the internet for "The x top reasons to root your android phone". What I found was quite a surprise, to me at least.
As far as I can tell, the top 3 reasons to root your Android phone are:
  1. Overclocking the CPU

  2. Ability to take screenshots

  3. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi tethering

Seriously? My Samsung Galaxy S already does Wi-Fi tethering already, and takes screenshots already. I don't need root for either of those.

So, the only reason I would want root, is to overclock my phone.

Now, you should know I've worked with computers for a very long time. And I've seen what overclocking does to computers.

I had one customer come to me with a faulty PC (that he'd purchased from me 18 months prior), and he said "It's broken". When I fired it up, it was obvious that something was amiss, and I asked a simple question: Did you overclock this?
and the answer was yes. So I gave it back and said, well good on you. Now you need a new one.

Overclocking is like running your car past redline. You're an idiot if you do it, and you're going to break something.

Every machine that I've ever heard of being overclocked has needed to be replaced within 12 months... Why the hell would I want to do that to my phone?

I removed the root, and uninstalled Z4Root. I just don't see the point of it, when my phone does everything I need it to do, and more, right out of the box.

If I owned an iOS device, I can certainly understand the appeal.

A friend of mine recently jailbroke his iPhone 3GS. He was very impressed with his new jailbroken phone for two reasons:
  • He could now use CUSTOM Ringtones

  • He could now watch XviD videos

I laughed at him and told him to buy an android phone.

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