back to article Hackers root Motorola Droid

Hackers have successfully rooted Motorola's Droid smartphone, allowing users to install applications or services of their choice outside the set menu offered by operators. A hardware modder, rejoicing in the name Zinx Verituse, has developed and published a Droid rooting exploit. Instructions on how to break open Droid …


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  1. Phillip Webster


    What's the point in an Android phone you have to poke in the same way as Apple's rubbish to use properly?

    Stick with my Hero, ta. Can install all I like on there with nothing more than a tickbox in the settings.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    Hang on a second, I thought from the constant Apple trolls postings that it was only the evil wicked Apple and the horrible nasty iPhone that were the only ones who locked things and didn't let folk do what they wanted with "their phone"?? Oh, you mean its not. You surprise me.

  3. Steve 53


    You can install almost all apps without root access. If you can't get something into the marketplace, its not locked down to app store purchases only - you just download the installer via the web browser.

    It does allow a wide variety of operating system hacks, and allow wireless teather, but jailbreaking isn't key to "free, unrestricted" use of the phone, its there by design.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Not misleading at all.

      "It does allow....allow wireless teather (sic)...."

      I'd describe that as one of the basic fundamentals of "free, unrestricted" use myself. They can shove their expensive toy where the sun shineth not if they've got restrictions like that built into it.

      That's Android off my shopping list.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Wireless Tether

        You can't wireless tether, but you can wired tether over USB, if that makes any difference.

        I would also like the point out, that given the average Android device battery life, you'd be able to wirelessly tether for about 5 minutes of heavy data use before having to plug it in anyway.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Learn to read

        He said it does allow wireless tethering. Not that it doesn't. It does.

        1. Nexox Enigma


          That would be paraphrased as "Rooting does allow wireless tethering and os hacks."

          The N900 has an app in the main repositories that lets you get root more or less instantly. No reason to have a Linux smart phone without root : -)

          What, you don't need to use cron on your phone?

  4. Jay Castle

    No need!

    As a user of HTCs lurvely Hero on Orange, I'm yet to encounter a situation where I would need to jailbreak my phone. I've installed 10s of apps, lots of which came from places other than the Market - in fact, HTCs PC software has an app installer designed for this very task!

    Admittedly, if I wanted to use the phone on another network I would need it unlocked but I think I'm right in saying that's different to jailbreaking?

    Also, can I just say that anyone with an Android phone should really check out WaveSecure, if you haven't already. It was mentioned in article on here a little while ago and is bloody marvellous!

    Beer, cos it's Fridaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    no need to jailbreak?

    So you don't need to jailbreak a Hero for anything? How about I transfer this file to you via bluetooth? No?? Oh..... How about you install this application to an SD card? No?? Oh..... How about you take a screenshot on your Hero? No?? Oh.....

    1. PaulR79
      Thumb Down

      *rolls eyes*

      File transfer via Bluetooth isn't an option unless you root, I'll give you that. Install an application to SD cards isn't an option for reasons I understand (pulling the card while data is in use would be bad) but I'm pretty sure that's being looked at by Google. Screenshot, there's a program on the Market that can do it but the developer appears to have abandoned it and it hasn't worked well for a while now.

      Hmm I came to reply to refute your suggestions only to end up backing them up. Crud.. still, an unrooted Android is still more open than an unrooted iPhone. Root is there for users who want to try things like custom ROMs such as Cyanogen's excellent modded versions or to try out Hero builds. Granted you take a risk doing it but that's the same with jailbreaking an iPhone and you don't get to play with the next release of their OS until they release it. With Android being (mostly) open sourced you already have people building on the next version, Eclair / 2.0 before any operator has released an update to it. Android isn't perfect but I much prefer it for what it offers over the one app at a time iPhone and Apple's ridiculous policies such as being able to uninstall an app on your phone without your consent.

    2. Chris Pearson


      Who actually takes screen shots other than devs, who can use ADB? Bluetooth is supported in 2.0. Apps to SD would be nice but I have more apps than I use and still have plenty of room.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        "Who actually takes screen shots other than devs..."

        Doesn't really matter who does and who doesn't - remember all the too'ing and fro'ing arguments about MMS on the iPhone? iPhone can't do it - FAIL! I don't use MMS anyway - WIN!

        The fact is that you can't take a screenshot on Android without rooting - thefore I feel it only fair to say FAIL!

  6. Stef 2
    Jobs Horns


    All Android phones are unlocked in the way that Jobsian devices never are and never will be - but you can do more with a rooted phone, things that most users don't care about, mainly.

    Also, it makes us folks with rooted phones feel (justly) rather superior.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ah, I see....

      So what you are saying is that people with a jailbroken iPhone can feel just as superior as you?

      "All Android phones are unlocked in the way that Jobsian devices never are and never will be..." I seem to remember a host of posts from people exlaiming that feature A being missing form the iPhone will kill it, feature B no there means they will never buy it are people justified in saying the same thing about Android?

      you can't even bluetooth files to each other? OMFG l33t h4x0r noob sk1llz Android 4 the fail etc etc etc....

  7. Michael C

    Wait, it's locked down? Say it aint so!

    In Europe, you might have some better flexibility, but on Verizon, it's still a closed architecture. Yes, you can get apps from more sources than JUST Verizon's own marketplace, but its still limited to apps and developers who 1) submit through a basic process, 2) comply with Verizon TOS. This is actually a less ideal system than apple's store since the apps are still restrictive in scope, but now there's no review body inspecting the apps to ensure you're not the victim of data theft, abusive practices, and more.

    The phone itself feels cheaply made and bulky, the battery life is pathetic, the app availability is still limited, the OS still feels like a beta implementation (I'd have given it a 1.5 version, not 2.0), and the calling plan is $15 more than the AT&T plan without tethering, and more than $30 more with it (whern it eventually becomes available sometime in mid 2010...), and on top of that, it's a CAPPED data plan with REDICULOUS overage fees. If I used Pandora on a Droid like I do on my iPhone, I'd be in for about $60-80 a month in dataplan overages on top of thier more expensive plan and slower 3G netowkr (not to mention, AT&T 3G is awesome in my area, and Verizon is the network that dropps calls and has weak signal in many areas!) ...and between Verizon's support, and dealing with motorolla, no thanks, I'll stick with my dedicated, Apple staffed, AT&T iPhone support thank you... Oh, and the Google GPS... If you're using it, YOU CAN'T TAKE CALLS!!! Verizon does not support concurrent phone and data support on their 3G implementation!!!

    On a call and want to look up directions to somewhere? iPhone yes, Droid no.

    Want to send a quick SMS while downloading a big PDF? iPhone yes, Droid no.

    Listening to Pandora while waiting on an imporant call? Droid won't even tell you you got a voicemail when if failed to ring...

    The iPhone is far from perfect, but it's evolving nicely, new features added regulary. Coming this year will be 1) FM reception, enabled simply by a firmware patch/OS upgrade for free, 2) possibly FM transmission (the chipset is capable of it), 3) APIs for iPod plug-ins (to allow Pandora and others background operation), 4) OS 4, almost certainly including a background function for GPS and improved alert functions of other apps. If I can run Pandora, GPS, and a phone call at the same time, then all complaints about backgrounding go away...

    1. Jay Castle

      All very valid points....

      .....but for those who don't live in the Dark Ages of Crappy Mobile Operators (ie North America), the 'droid offering can be far more appealing than that bit of rotten jobsian fruit that shall not be named.

      So while Verizon don't do this and AT&T charge that, I couldn't give a fig because I'm lucky enough to live in a part of the developed world and get decent rates and coverage.

      Actually, it makes a change for us in the UK to be on the winning side when it comes to price\service comparisons with the rest of the world. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling that only enhances the normal Friday goodness.


    2. JacobD

      A few clarifications

      On a droid, one can install apps from ANYWHERE. I can go to any website, download & install an android app. I can installed 3rd party marketplaces. No restrictions.

      The data plan for VZW is not capped UNLESS you use it tethered to your PC. Also, AT&T is looking to reduce big data usage, so who knows what the future holds there.

      Looking at AT&T and VZW's websites, the data plan for each is $29.99. A 450 minute plan for each is $39.99. That's the same price. The $45 plan on VZW is for corporate level/exchange access. Not needed by a majority of the people. I admit the VZW website is confusing in this respect.

      Google Navigation. I certainly can & have taken calls while using it. In fact, the turn-by-turn directions voice breaks into my conversation. All the data/route is downloaded when you start navigation (assuming you aren't on the phone). True, I cannot look up new directions while on the phone, but once it has the navigation information, I can make phone calls & it will still navigate. I assume it will NOT be able to reroute, but have not tried. Far from perfect, but still better than your post suggests.

      I need to test listening to Pandora over 3g & getting a phone call before I speak on that one way or another.

  8. The Original Steve

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    Who would have thought Microsoft's and Symbian's OS's are more open than the Linux based Droid...! :-)

  9. monkeytrash32

    a few things

    Wireless tethering over bluetooth can be done on the Droid using an app called PDANet. It's not available in the Android Market (for obvious reasons), but a download link can easily be found by searching google.

    There *is* in fact a way to take screenshots on the Droid as well, but not using apps. You need to enable USB debugging in the phone's menu, plug it into a computer, and run a small tool included in the Android SDK. I wish there was an easier way, but at least it can be done.

    And just about everything Michael C said was false or at least misleading. I don't know where he got all of that information. I am also in North America, and I pay $8 less for my Droid service than my AT&T friends do for their iPhone service (and most of them want my phone; I know of 4 who are switching to Droid as soon as their contracts are up). The data bandwidth is not "capped," per se, and there are no overage fees. They just get suspicious of you (read: likely warning or service termination) if you consistently use over 5GB data in a month without paying for an official tethering package. So as long as you don't cancel your home broadband connection and replace it with your phone's 3G via tethering (or run Pandora 24 hours a day), you're probably fine.

    As for the simultaneous GPS/phone call bit, I receive calls just fine while navigating GPS. Incoming phone calls are also received while using Pandora and other apps that use 3G. It mutes/pauses them so you can hear the ringer. When I end the call, it resumes navigating to my destination or playing music or whatever I was doing before the call.

    I don't know who is having trouble sending an SMS while downloading a large pdf file. I can certainly send a text message while downloading files, and the file continues to download in the background.

    And the voicemail/missed call notifications? Those can be changed as well. I have it set to blink my status LED continuously and remind every 3 minutes with a short ring and a vibration if I miss a call or receive a new voicemail. There are a few free apps that do this.

    At any rate, Verizon and AT&T do both suck for different reasons, and I wish I lived in a country with better mobile carriers. But at least my handset does everything I could ever want it to.

    1. JacobD
      Thumb Up

      Best notification app?

      What app do you suggest for vm/missed call/sms notification? A few I saw in the market had some comments about Droid issues that worried me.

      I also tried to clear up some of Michael's misinformation.


  10. IceMage
    Jobs Horns

    iPhone vs. Droid

    Both are great devices.

    However, the whole "Browse while talking" argument don't phase me. Any phone can do data & voice if it's on a wifi network. An AT&T phone (or other GSM based device) only does data and voice at the same time if either 3G or WiFi is available. Also, doing voice & data will kill your battery real quick. Looking at AT&Ts spotty 3G coverage... I'm not all that impressed with the ability to use data & voice simultaneously, especially since I have never been in a situation where I've needed it.

    Verizon is far superior to AT&T in my opinion. CDMA is a better technology than GSM. Even AT&Ts 3G is a CDMA technology. My favorite carrier by far tho is T-mobile. WiFi calls when out of the country while using your plan's regular minutes? That's an unbeatable feature if you ask me.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How to root the Droid - Video

    This will show in laymans terms how to do it the correct way instead of guessing. It provides both text instructions and a video tutorial.

  12. Flaco Dude
    Big Brother


    Capped?! By Jove, my Droid has unlimited Internet from Verizon. But not sure why anyone would buy a $19.95 monthly "texting" package when the Internet connection is unlimited 3G. <EOT>

  13. JaitcH
    Jobs Horns

    Sold! Now its jailbroken ...

    I will go ahead and buy one as long as I can remove TWITTER and FACEBOOK (etc) logos and insert services that are important to ME.

    The ONLY way we consumers can teach Jobs and The California Fruit Company is by NOT buying their products until the OWNERS of their products can decide what WE want to run on OUR COMPUTERS and PHONES.

    In VietNam CDMA is being removed and GSM 3G installed with almost the whole country covered.

  14. Christian Berger

    We will have such limitations as long as...

    We will have such limitations as long as people continue to "buy" mobile devices from the network operators. Therefore the operators have a valid interrest in keeping the device dumb, so they can sell services.

    So buy your device seperately, and you can get devices like the N900 which is essentially a computer running Debian Linux in the ARM version.

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