Got root? A fair number of Android users do, and a whole bunch of them are turning to CyangenMod for their third-party ROM fix. CyanogenMod creator Steve "Cyanogen" Kondik revealed in a Twitter message that his custom ROM is being used by more than 1 million active users, a modest number in the grand scheme of things, but plenty impressive when you consider this is unofficial firmware.
If you're a member of the little green army, chances are you've either rooted your phone or tablet, have thought about rooting it, or have no idea what we're talking about and will not click through to read more. This one goes out to that middle group — take the plunge! — but rooted users will also find some useful nuggets of info for enhancing their Android experience.
In case you're wondering, when you root your Android device, you gain access to the entire file system, with full admin rights. You can customize your own boot image, create a full backup of your phone, or install a full-blown Linux distro. But even if you don't want to get that geeky with it, there are a plethora of everyday reasons to root your Android, and thanks to many smart developers, we have rooting processes that are fairly accessible to the average computer-savvy Joe.
This is not a guide to rooting your phone. Such a thing is hardly possible, since the process varies a bit from device to device. You should know first that there are many risks to rooting, including possible bricking of the device and definite voiding of the warranty. That said, we do want to emphasize that it is usually not that cryptic of a process, and as long as you are careful to follow the instructions exactly, the success rate is high. Also, not all unsuccessful attempts result in damage to the phone.
It's been a long, long time since we had to type Load"*",8,1 to fire up a game or any other program, a command that will instantly and always be familiar to anyone who grew up in the Commodore 64 era. Commodore USA LLC is hoping to cash in on that nostalgia with a line of modern day nettops shoved into replica C64 keyboard cases, and if you've been anxiously awaiting for these replica machines to ship, we have good news for you.
Major kudos are in order for a band of modders known as The Dark Forces Team who went and released a Windows Phone 7 ROM for HTC's HD2 handset.
You can find instructions on the XDA-Developers.com forum, which aren't terribly hard to follow. You'll need to download the Windows Development Tools and Zune PC App, and once you've done that, it's just a matter of following a handful of easy steps.
The latest hack/ROM even allows access to the Marketplace and Xbox LIVE service, at least for now. Keep in mind that this isn't an official release, so the usual disclaimers about warranties, bricked devices, and proceeding at your own risk all apply.
Score a victory for Joe Consumer, who according to the U.S. government, is fully within his legal right to unlock his iPhone, or any other mobile phone, without having to look over his shoulder for Johnny Law. Not that Apple or anyone else would ever go crying to the cops for trivial matters (wait a tick), but it doesn't matter now anyway.
Federal regulators approved a bunch of new exemptions to a federal law that prohibits circumventing technical measures companies put into place to prevent unauthorized use of copyrighted material. Apple has always taken the position that jailbreaking is an unauthorized modification of its software and violates copyright law, but under the new regulation, iPhone owners are within their legal right to unlock their mobile device and install third-party apps.
Regulators also approved the practice of unlocking cell phones to use on an unapproved carrier, another practice that already exists (scores of iPhone owners roll with unlocked phones on T-Mobile's network, even though the iPhone is available exclusively through AT&T) and is now out of the legal gray area.
The latest tale involving third-party ROM sites has HTC huffing and puffing and threatening to blow Shipped-ROMs.com's site down, or at least hit the site owners in the wallet if they don't comply with a cease and desist order. That's what Shipped-ROMs is saying, anyway, who posted what they claim is the exact letter they received from HTC.
"It is our understanding that you are responsible for the hosting of an internet webpage located at http://shipped-roms.com," the letter states. "HTC has also recently learned that the Site contains software/ROM related to HTC's Intellectual Property which entails illegal copying of HTC's original art work.
"We have very strong reasons to believe that the HTC Intellectual Property was illegally obtained by fraudulent means. The subject dissemination and publication of HTC's Intellectual Property is in clear violation of HTC's legal rights and is an infringement of the HTC's copyrights, goodwill, as well as the other intellectual rights. The continuing distribution of HTC's Intellectual Property without authorization has constituted a serious criminal offense under the Copyright Act in the U.S. and the EU and other countries where similar laws are enforced."
The site in question contains ROMs for a whole host of popular HTC handsets, and what's most interesting about this is that HTC takes exception to copying the "original art work." HTC didn't go on to clarify what exactly has their undergarments in a bunch, whether it's simply the design of the GUI, or the entire ROM. Either way, best of luck in trying to squash the third-party ROM development community, HTC, because if that's your goal, you're going to need it.
Part of the fun of owning an Android-based smartphone is in installing third party firmware. Not for the faint of heart, the process involves hacking the device in a process known as rooting which, if done incorrectly, can brick your handset. Take your time and do things correctly, however, and you'll unlock all kinds of functionality and features not previously available, depending on your particular smartphone. G1 owners, for example, can install apps directly to an SD card and setup Wi-Fi tethering, among other things.
Should you make the leap, popular modder CyanogenMod has just released what he claims is the first fully functionally Android 2.1 (Eclair) ROM for the HTC Dream (G1) and Magic smartphones. The latest ROM includes everything that goes with Eclair, as well as a few extras, including:
FLAC audio support
360 Degree auto-orientation
If you're interested in giving the new ROM a spin, you can download the file from here. Be sure to follow the installation instructions closely.
With applications becoming increasingly vital to a mobile platform's success, it makes perfect sense to lure developers to your platform early in its development cycle. It is something Microsoft is trying to accomplish using the Windows Phone 7 Series emulator, which was released earlier this week at its Mix10 event.
The emulator presents a fantastic opportunity to developers looking to learn more about developing apps for the upcoming platform. There is one caveat, though: The emulator only provides limited access to the mobile operating system's features. With hackers not shy to take apart expensive gadgets to get past any exasperating limits, it was always going to be a matter of time before an ingenious developer unfettered this free emulator.
A developer named Don Ardelean announced today that he has successfully “unlocked the ROM image in the emulator CTP.” The task only snatched 6 hours from his life. Ardelean was quick to publish an unlocked version of the emulator, which he later pulled down in as much haste. “I have decided to take down the link because Microsoft could get upset and I don't really want that (if someone at Microsoft will tell me that it doesn't bother them I will put it back),” he wrote on his blog. Besides unlocking all features demoed by Microsoft, Ardelean's hard work also yielded the first glimpse of the Office Apps for Windows Phone 7 Series.
Earlier this month, we posted a step-by-step guide showing Android G1 owners how to root their phones and install a third party ROM. There are several upshots to doing so, including the ability to overcome the G1's meager amount of memory by installing apps directly to a SD card. Wtih the Android Market now sitting at roughly 10,000 apps strong and third party ROM developers churning out mature firmware, we felt the time was right.
Unfortunately, Google's timing couldn't be any worse. The search giant last week issued a cease and desist order to ROM developer Cyanogen, maker of CyanogenMod, arguably the most popular Android ROM out there.The problem, says Google, isn't that Cyanogen is hacking away at the open-source OS, but that he's also including (and distributing) a handful of closed-source apps, including Market, Gmail, YouTube, and Google Maps.
Hit the jump to find out what the future holds for Android modders.
According to Taylor Wimberly of AndroidAndMe.com, uber popular Android hacker who goes by the name of Cyanogen managed to ruffle some feathers over at Google. From the sound of things, the search giant is none too pleased with Cyanogen distributing their closed source Android apps (Market, Talk, Gmail, YouTube, and others) with his third-party CyanogenMod ROM.
Going by the chat log Wimberly posted on his site, Google has issued a cease and desist letter to Cyanogen, who laments that "CyanogenMod is probably going to be dead." It would be a shame if it came to that, as CyanogenMod is probably the most popular third-party Android ROM out there, and is actively being developed, somewhat of a rarity in the Android ROM community whose only compensation is user donations.
But all might not be lost. Cyanogen said he has opened up a dialog with Google.
"My argument is that I only develop for Google-experience devices which are already licensed for these apps," said Cyanogen. "So we'll see what they say. Maybe we can work something out."
So do we. Otherwise, this could be a blow to the entire Android ROM community, not just Cyanogen.