5 Things Android Enthusiasts Care About Today

Last week I had the chance to hang out with Kellen and Tim while I was visiting family in Portland. One of the things that we talked about was what it was like to be an Android enthusiast back in 2009 and on. Back then, Android was about rooting, installing custom ROMs and kernels, customizing your device, and pushing the limits of the hardware.

It was also about not using an iPhone; at the time the iPhone was considered the state of the art device, and it would arguably continue to be a superior overall package for several years. While the iPhone had more apps and a more established ecosystem, the Motorola Droid boasted both a physical and software keyboard, real multitasking (it’s hard to remember now, but the iPhone didn’t get real multitasking until iOS 4), a higher resolution camera with a flash, customizable home screens with widgets, expandable storage, and a user-replaceable battery. It was the antithesis of the iPhone in so many ways, and those of us that used it were proud to say we didn’t use iPhones.

As I was reflecting on this, I began to wonder what it means to be an Android enthusiast today. How much has changed and how much has stayed the same? Read on for my top five things Android enthusiasts care about in 2015. (more…)

Thursday Poll: Rooted or Non-Rooted?

Throughout the day, thanks to topics like the Nexus 6 having encryption that can’t be turned off without taking matters into your own hands, we have seen the emergence of a healthy discussion around the topic of tinkering. When we say “tinkering,” we are talking about understanding adb commands, flashing recoveries or images or ROMs, and generally deciding that you can make your phone better than it is out of the box. As the conversation has grown, a number of readers have taken it back to what we used to consider to be the initial step in becoming a tinkerer, and that’s through rooting a phone. And that thought has revived this poll question, which we try to run at least once a year, but haven’t seen December of 2013. In other words, it’s time.

So, let’s do this. In the poll below, all you have to do is answer by choosing if you are “rooted” or “non-rooted.” From there, to continue this conversation, feel free to jump into the comments section and talk about the phone you own, if you are rooted or non-rooted, why you fall into either of those categories, etc.

Rooted or Non-Rooted?

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I Didn’t Buy a Nexus to Flash All the Things

If you were to ask me why I buy Nexus phones and tablets (outside of the fact that it is my job to own them), I would answer with the following in no particular order. I like stock Android better than manufacturer skins. I like swift updates to the newest versions of Android. I typically like the designs used in Nexus devices. I like to see what new technologies that Google has incorporated in the latest Nexus devices and Android platform, since Nexus devices almost always try to highlight something new in mobile. Before the Nexus 6, I was also a big fan of the low price tags that accompanied Nexus devices. And, well, that’s it. Those are the reasons.

You will notice I didn’t mention the words flash, ROM, root, recovery, bootloader, adb, SDK, boot.img, kernel, or forum. I didn’t mention those, because I buy Nexus devices for reasons that don’t involve tinkering, hacking, flashing, unlocking, and tweaking. I buy Nexus devices because I want to use them like someone would use a Galaxy S5 or Moto X or G3. I like the untouched, out of box experience.  (more…)

FYI: Android 5.0 Introduces “Enable OEM Unlock” Option in Developer Options

If you buy one of the new Nexus devices – the Nexus 9 or Nexus 6 – and plan to unlock its bootloader upon first boot, so that you can get to tinkering, understand that you may have to enable the “OEM unlock” command that would typically be used to accomplish that task. In Android 5.0 “Lollipop,” Google has added a check box under Developer Options that enables the OEM unlock command to work. If that box isn’t checked, then I would imagine you will see an error during the bootloader unlock process.  (more…)

LG G3 “Bump” Gives You Fully Working TWRP Recovery on All Variants

If you own an LG G3 – we are talking any variant – and are into custom recoveries, ROMs, that sort of thing, then you should probably have already installed Bump. Created by Team Codefire, Bump allows you to boot into a full TWRP custom recovery and flash ROMs as you please, sort of like if you had a full bootloader unlock. As I just mentioned, this should work with all carrier variants (including Verizon’s), you just need to be rooted first (and work through a little adb with a recovery.img).  (more…)