noobie q: rooting to allow updates; need info

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  1. Advait

    Advait Well-Known Member

    Hi All,

    I may soon be purchasing my first droid phone (unlocked, GSM and 3G). I want to get a phone that I can keep for a long time and can update with the latest versions of Android. I live in India and I'm pretty sure the carriers here are not good about providing timely Android updates (or any updates). I've been reading various sites and I want to see if my understanding is correct.

    My understanding is that Nexus phones are easy to root and flash the rom. If I get a Nexus phone, I should have no problem installing new versions of Android as they become available. Is this true? Let me know what I'm missing.

    Are there any non-Nexus phones that are easy to root and flash the rom? From what I've read, HTC phones allow for easy rooting. That true?

    I reviewed the list at public:root_friendly [RootWiki] This list looks out of date...?

    In addition to updating the OS, another reason I want to root the phone is so I can do full backups of all user data (notes, call logs, user files, contacts, tasks, sms files, app data, etc). My understanding is that this level of backup requires rooting.

    I usually keep my phones a long time. I've had my current phone for 4 years but its starting to have some problems and may need replacing soon.

    I don't plan to do anything fancy with my new droid phone. Just keep some notes, voice recordings, play music, read PDF files, SMS, calls, a little internet browsing, etc. I'm not a gamer. I don't plan to install a lot of apps. Just a PIM, music player, backup program, file encryption, LookOut, etc . . . basic stuff.

    I presume all Android apps from Google Play will run on a rooted phone. This true?

    Sorry for all my noob questions! I want to deepen my understanding so I can make an informed choice when I purchase.

    Thanks for your help! Kind Regards,

    Advait the noob

  2. Davdi

    Davdi Well-Known Member Contributor

    Gooogle play is on my rooted HTC Wildfire S (WildChild3 ROM) and on my rooted Allwinner tablet with no issues. YOu don't need root for Google's Android updates on a nexus phone, that will always be forst phone to get updates. you don't need root to do a Nandroid backup (Basically the phone's current state complete). but Titanium Backup does need root. to do the nandroid, you'll need to install ADB (Android Debug Bridge) on your PC and turn debugging on on the phone.

    I thinks that's all, I'm by no means an expert at this. I'm sure a Mod or Guide will add to/correct this if necessary.
    Advait likes this.
  3. Advait

    Advait Well-Known Member

    OK, thanks! Sounds like if I get a Nexus phone there will be no problem installing future versions of Android. Since I'm in India I'm guessing I'll have to download the Android updates using my PC and somehow transfer them to the phone and install them. Do I have that right?

    List of devices supported by CyanogenMod - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Is it smart for me to get a phone that can run the latest version of CyanogenMod?

    Uh-oh. Google Nexus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Looks like the Nexus phones have no memory card slots and no user-replaceable battery. Those are show-stoppers. Looks like I won't be getting a Nexus phone after all. I'll look at the HTC phones.


  4. Hadron

    Hadron Well-Known Member Contributor

    I'd say that an adb backup is different from a nandroid. A nandroid doesn't technically need root, but does need a custom recovery, which people generally install during rooting (and you need an unlocked bootloader or some exploit to install one).

    Popular high-end models will tend to have the longest developer support, so phones like the Galaxy S3 would also be a good choice for this. If you want to root in order to get updates from the community you need to consider the size of the developer community too - a phone that's easy to unlock but has a small enthusiast base may not have ROM development for as long as you want.

    Remember too that a phone doesn't become useless just because it hasn't had the latest update - I'm typing this on a Gingerbread device ;)
    Advait likes this.
  5. Advait

    Advait Well-Known Member

    Cool. Thanks for the info! Is there a list of phones that have a strong enthusiast base? Is it true that the more popular phones have a stronger enthusiast base?

    This will help me make a good choice about which phone to purchase. I want a phone with the following features:

    * unlocked, GSM
    * memory card slot and user-removable battery
    * can be rooted and rom-flashed without too much trouble (unlocked, unsigned bootloader, etc)
    * has a strong user base so that for the next few years I can update the OS when I choose

    Any suggestions? Thanks!

    I usually keep my phones for 4 years or longer.

  6. El Presidente

    El Presidente Beware The Milky Pirate! Moderator

    Is the removable battery and memory essential? Given the length of time you keep your devices, I'm guessing yes? A lot of manufacturers are doing away with one or both (HTC, Motorola, Nexus devices) so you're ruling out a lot of devices with that criteria.

    Your best bet might be the SGS3 tbh. Not sure how easy it is to unlock, but it meets all those criteria and given how popular the device is, I imagine it will get support/backing for quite some time (maybe not 4 years though).
    Advait likes this.
  7. Hadron

    Hadron Well-Known Member Contributor

    I don't know how you root the S3, but I know people who did it within hours of getting the phone so I suspect it's not too hard.
    Advait likes this.
  8. Advait

    Advait Well-Known Member

    For me, yes. I use those features a lot in my travels.

    I'm really puzzled why the makers would decide to exclude 2 such useful features. Strange. It's like getting rid of heating and AC in cars.

    Cool. Thanks! I'll do some research and googling. I'll also hop on to the SGS3 forum to get an idea of how easy or difficult it is to root/flash the SGS3 to install latest and future versions of Android. I'll also research root/flashing on other popular phones that have the features I need.

    Your replies and the others have really help me get an overview of the whole root/flash issue. Greatly appreciated! It's hard to get this overview wading thru technical articles. Kind Regards,


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