I’ve always been a geek with emphasis on all things tech and gadgets. I never quite talked about how much I love gadgets because I didn’t really own one until I got my first laptop and digital camera, and recently, the Xperia smartphone.
But before I get to details, who exactly is a geek? According to Wikipedia:
The word geek is a slang term for odd or non-mainstream people, with different connotations ranging from “a computer expert or enthusiast” to “a person heavily interested in a hobby”, with a general pejorative meaning of “a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, esp[ecially] one who is perceived to be overly intellectual”
Like I already said, my category of geekness falls into computer enthusiast and gadget lover. Like all other geeks, I’m literally obsessed with technology. Give me some tech stuff with Internet connection and I can spend months in a room. That’s the type of geek I am. I like to explore new apps and software, try out different things on my computer and be creative with any software that comes across my reach — ranging from Special Effect software to Photo Editing software.
But this probably is the first time I’m not acting like a geek. And it’s with my new smartphone.
The first thing geeks believe is a must is to root an Android phone to get superuser access. It’s easier to tell the benefits to a Linux user who knows what superuser or
sudo means. By rooting your Android device, you become the master of your phone. Root access allows you to do literally anything you can imagine with your device. Well, not everything, of course; but most things such as controlling the CPU speed, deleting default apps that you don’t need, or moving all apps to the SD card and install new ones there by default.
It doesn’t end there. With the ability to install custom ROMs, your Android experience can go beyond imagination. Like something you see on HTC? Well, chances are there’s already a similar ROM out there that has this feature. Custom ROM not only comes with personalization option but it allows you to unlock the true potential of your device.
While doing all these may not make someone a geek; for a geek, it’s a must that they do it. But I’m not.
The first disadvantage of rooting your device is that it voids your warranty. However, my Xperia Mini Pro didn’t come with a warranty as Sony Ericsson doesn’t have any dealers here in Bangladesh. So, I’m not afraid of voiding warranty. While there’s a possibility in bricking your phone while installing custom ROMs and doing advanced stuff, in most cases, rooting is easy and doesn’t have that risk.
For your information, bricking literally means turning your phone into an expensive piece of beautiful brick.
Once rooted, you don’t see any change in your phone. You are allowed superuser access to your Android. You can then install all the third-party *root* applications to get the best out of your Android. The first best thing, you can get rid of annoying apps and transfer your apps to SD by default. It gives you access to the root of your phone from where you can control your phone the way you like.
The reason I’m not rooting: Yes, my phone comes with bloatware. But they are not too much. Yes, lately I’m noticing extensive RAM usage by apps which can easily be controlled by rooting. But I don’t really need to root this device. I don’t feel geeky with my phone because rooting and all those stuff is very time-consuming. I don’t mind dealing with bunch of codes but it’s just that I want my phone to be usable at any given time. After rooting, I’ll definitely want to try out CPU controlling apps and there is a slim chance of making my phone give me trouble. Now it’s because I’m a geek, by the way.
So yeah, I’m not rooting my phone. I might do it someday, though. Because I’m installing loads of apps and games, I know at one point I’ll need to command the RAM so that it isn’t used more than 50% immediately after a reboot.
Will I get Custom ROM?
Like I already said, I’m not rooting my phone. That should end the question of custom ROM. But hey, I said that I’ll root my phone someday. Will I get custom ROM then?
The answer is tricky. As of right now, the answer is no. I’m happy with the user interface Sony gave me on my Xperia Mini Pro. I like the way everything works on my phone. I don’t miss anything. So, there is no need of playing around with lots of custom ROMs. Also, they are reported to have some issues by default (like a popular ROM shortnamed CM7 is reported not to support most camera options on Xpera Mini Pro). I hate when I’m unable to use the functionality my device came with. So, the answer to this question is most probably not. If my phone becomes old years later, I might then try it out for fun when I will have a new device for my regular use. :D
Upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich, then?
Now that I’m not feeling the need of rooting my phone (and the question of custom ROM installation gets murdered right there), should I get the ICS upgrade that is offered by Sony Ericsson?
After rooting, anyone can get not only Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich but also 4.1 Jelly Bean. Since I’m not rooting, the more preferable choice is the official upgrade. Trust me, I become overly excited when I first noticed that my handset’s serial number matched with the list of Xperia Mini Pro handsets for which ICS update has been released. I even tried multiple times to upgrade to ICS using Sony PC Companion, but due to connection issue, I couldn’t.
However, a little bit of researching on the web revealed that although many users are happy with ICS upgrade, almost all of them have reported some kind of issues. Some reported LED issue, some reported issue with HD recording, some reported issue with user interface while scrolling, some reported lagging issue when opening gallery and so on. At last I landed on Sony’s official Android 4.0 Upgrade page where they stated that Android 4.0 might cause performance issues. The worst thing? Once you upgrade, you can never go back. The only way to revert is to root and flash.
Then I started to think, is there anything that I miss in Gingerbread? My answer was No. Chrome is only available in ICS, but I’m happy with Dolphin Browser HD. Taking screenshot is a superb feature but my Xperia already have this built-in. So, I don’t really need to invite additional problems to my phone.
I’m not rooting anytime soon, chances of getting a custom ROM once rooted is slim, and I’m not upgrading to Ice Cream Sandwich. All those things give people an idea that I’m average “afraid of tech” guy. I’m not. Like I already said, I just want my phone to be usable at any given time with all the features and functions it came with. That’s the reason I’m not messing up with my phone that much.
Have you rooted your phone? Did you even know that rooting can either be beneficial or mean nothing to you? Tell me what you know and think about it.
I’m planning to start writing short reviews of the Android apps I’m using. The purpose will be to offer new and existing Android users a glimpse into what app does what and what issues/benefits it has. If you’re interested, make sure you follow this blog, follow me on Twitter, Google+, or like AIS Journal on Facebook (a like button is on the top right side below the header).