So, I am getting sick of running my stock phone and I am ready for 4.0.4 - but I have questions.
So, I have some questions. What is rooting? What is a ROM?
What are my risks?
Will all of my applications work?
Can I still use Go Launcher?
What are the benefits/risks?
I'd start here
. I also found this post
helpful. It goes over a lot of the basics. I used Wug's Toolkit
to root, and it was easy and seems nearly foolproof. Some here will shun using a toolkit because it works kind of like a black box, where you don't know what it is doing on a code level. This was exactly what I needed, as I had no experience with adb, Android SDK, fastboot, or even using commands in general. In the end, it's up you and how involved you want to be in the actual rooting of the phone on a code level.
Applications will all work and can even be there after unlocking your bootloader (which wipes EVERYTHING from the phone, including whats on the SD Card partition), assuming you back them up properly. Wug's Toolkit has an option to backup and restore Apps + Data pre-root, so you can restore them post-root.
From the Android Central link, "To put it simply, a rom is an image of an operating system, almost always a derivative of the "latest" version of Android, that has been developed, modified, customized, streamlined, massaged, fattened, and pampered by a developer or team of developers."
You can still use GoLauncher and other third party launcher apps.
The benefits are a-plenty. You are already know you can get the most up-to-date versions of Android before the OTA comes. Some ROMs are based off 4.04, so just by flashing one them, your version becomes 4.04. You can make all kinds of UI tweaks that launchers can't do, allowing you to dial in the phone just how you want. Custom Kernels (and even the kernels that come with ROMs) have huge battery-saving potential.
The risks are obvious, with the worst-case being hard-bricking your phone, where you mess something up on a deep enough level that your phone won't turn on or respond enough to even restore it back to its original factory state. By doing a TON of research and reading a lot of posts like the one I linked above, you can go from knowing nothing to being able to safely flash ROMs, kernels, radios, and even have some useful input.