I took the plunge and rooted and modded my phone. I guess my warranty is void (until someone releases US Cellular’s RUU files), but if nothing’s gone wrong in two months, I’m probably good. I still haven’t figured out all the things I can do with this, but so far, it feels like I have a brand new phone!
First things first: rooting is not the same as modding. Rooting gives you access to the entire system to do fun things like change the CPU speed, backup your entire phone image, access the system partition (remove bloatware!), and install mods. A mod changes your phone, usually by installing a custom operating system. I rooted, changed my partition tables, AND installed CyanogenMod 6.1.
Root Programs (that I use, there are obviously others, like screenshot programs, cache clearers, etc.)
- setCPU allows you to over- or under-clock your phone. Since the HTC Desire is awesome anyway, I use it to underclock when the phone is not in use (or not doing anything heavy). The result – better battery life!
- Titanium Backup – Can back up not only applications, but their data too. This means you can restore an app to a previous version, or just restore your phone EXACTLY the way you had it before, without relying on every app’s unique (if not nonexistent) import/export functionality. This comes in handy when you’re wiping your phone to install a new mod.
- AdFree – block ads across your phone (examine your conscience, as some developers rely on these ads for income… better yet, buy the donate version of apps you really like)
- Terminal Emulator – who doesn’t want a terminal on their phone???
Partition Tables (Highly specific to the HTC Desire… don’t bother if your phone has 4/8gigs of internal memory)
There’s not much to say here… except when I first received my phone, I had just over 100mb for installing apps. After following a slightly modified version of what’s been come to known as Firerat’s cMTD method, I had 280mb free for apps. That coupled with Froyo will keep me going for awhile!
If you love compiling your linux installs from scratch and figuring out every little hardware detail… you’re free to roll-your-own Android install. For the rest of us, there are custom mods pre-built, and one that’s guaranteed to work on the HTC Desire is CyanogenMod. It’s essentially a customized Froyo ROM, so in addition to getting the Froyo upgrade early (we US Cellular customers are still waiting…), you get a few extra bonuses. Here are some of my favorites:
- Unlock via the OJ (optical joystick) – coming from an iPod Touch, this is a very welcome feature
- Torch – use the flash like a flashlight (standard Froyo, I believe)
- Freely tether your internet via USB, wifi, or Bluetooth
- Dismiss meetings from the snooze alert
- Notification bar themes / settings
- 270 degree rotation (finally!)
There are a few other features that do similar things that I get from Tasker, and the default launcher is ADWLauncher, a worthy alternative to Launcher Pro (though I still prefer the latter). Since I was already using Launcher Pro Plus, I don’t especially miss HTC Sense, though I had to find a replacement dialer (Dialer One is excellent).
Ready to make your HTC Desire even more of a super-phone? This thread has all the details in an excellently-laid-out guide.