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Root: Webster has a few definitions; the usually underground part of a seed plant, the part of a tooth within the socket and the lowest tone of a chord. Well, we’re not going to chat about any of those roots, so lets get “root” to it.

When you root your Android device, what is it you’re seeking? Some of us spend hundreds purchasing while others delve into carrier contracts to get that phone of choice. The Samsungs, HTCs, and Sonys, just to name a few, come with some pretty sweet features. Some, no sooner than that new phone boots up, the first order of business it to root.

When you get right down to it, rooting has its benefits or advantages over stock devices. Improved battery life, adding non-play store apps or removing bloat, better performance, ROMS, sooner than later updates and probably the biggest why we do it, is gaining administrator-like control over our devices. There are a few ways to root your device, but I’m here to tell you, no matter how you shake it, it’s a pretty simple process.

Pretty much everything we do in life have some level of risk and so does rooting. The biggest is that you can void your warranty. Yes, you could root your device and the next thing you know, your phone has lost functionality, known as bricked. Alas, in most cases you can get your device back to stock, just be warned, it can happen and when it does, you can’t call the manufacturer or carrier. You needn’t feel you’re alone in this process, sites like XDA developers, Android forums and device specific sites like, Root Galaxy Note are full chock of how-to-root instructions and videos.

Ok, so your root was successful, now what? Well, you can stop right there, do some performance  tweaks, install scripts to add capabilities or you can flash a custom ROM. Once you start flashing ROMS, it’ll become addicting. There were times when I’d change ROMS every week or multiple times during a week. The ROM creators are a talented bunch and each likes to put their own twist in their builds, and that’s a good thing. Understand that when you flash a ROM, you’re removing the firmware / features the device came with, again, you can always go back.

In some cases, rooting can save you some of that hard earned cash we all work for. An example is once rooted, you can turn your phone into a WI-FI hotspot by downloading a tethering app. So now when you’re out an about with that WI-FI tablet in tow, turn on tethering and you’ve now got your own WI-FI network, no addtitonal charges. However, be careful, monitor your data plan capacity as not to exceed.

Rooting isn’t for everyone, the phones of today are solid offerings out of the box, fine the way they are. But if you’re looking for a feature or update, rooting / flashing a ROM is the way to go. If you’re not into getting a new device at every iteration, rooting can also extend the life of your current device, keep it fresh and capable for many years to come.

To Root or Not To Root?

PS: It’s your phone!

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