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Rooting and ROMs

How much do you love Android? Do you love it so much that you’d like to use it all the time, even when you’re sitting at your PC? This might be taking the idea of being an Android fanboy a little too far, but there are lots of reasons why you might want to have Android running on your PC.

Just as you may emulate a second copy of Windows in a virtual environment for testing purposes, so you can do the same with Google’s mobile operating system. Not all that long ago I looked at how this can be achieved with VirtualBox and a freely downloadable ROM, but now I have another more impressive and stable option to share — Genymotion.

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Custom ROMs are one of the most appealing features of the Android platform for knowledgeable and techie users. However, if you don’t spend your time browsing XDA-Developers’ forums and following every changelog of every nightly update from every ROM, you might find yourself quickly confused and overwhelmed by the choice.

We’ve previously tried to explain to you How to Find Custom ROMs for your Android Device, but the truth of the matter is that even a ROM’s official site sometimes fails to show you the most significant features it carries. So how are you supposed to easily pick which ROM to install?

The answer to that question has long evaded me, as I kept bookmarking page upon page of featureset and changelog, and even resorted to some quick spreadsheets to “simplify” my decision making. That’s why I was more than ecstatic to see this post on Reddit’s r/android page.

In it, the user going by the name wamen_noodles — whom I have already added to my heroes list — links to his personally crafted set of infographics that detail the features of 6 major AOSP-based ROMs: CM10.2, AOKP, Paranoid Android, Carbon, SlimBean and the newcomer, OmniROM. The graphics are superbly done, with gifs and minimal text to explain every feature of every ROM. I will be bookmarking these and checking them for months to come, and I suggest you do the same. No amount of explaining and reading can help you understand these ROMs’ options as simply and efficiently as what you will see here.

So head over to wamen_noodles‘s Reddit post, check the infographics out, and give him a big warm hug — or in Reddit lingo, upvote — for his trouble.

It used to be the case that PC users had the choice of installing Windows or, if they were feeling adventurous, a version of Linux. This is still true, but it is now also possible to install OS X without owning a Mac and virtualization means that you can do all of this alongside your main operating system in a virtual computer.

This being Android.AppStorm, you may well wonder what virtualization has to do with your phone or tablet. Well, how would you feel about the chance of installing and running Android on your PC? Using a free copy of VirtualBox and the information in this guide, you can run a fully functioning – and legal – version of Jelly Bean on your computer.

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It’s Customization Month on Android.Appstorm! Throughout March, we plan to share with you all our tips, tricks, apps and resources to help you improve your phone or tablet experience and make them suit your style.

Time and time again when people ask me why I prefer Android to iOS, my number one answer is, “freedom.” The freedom to customize the homescreen as you see fit, not just moving icons around, the freedom to use custom launchers, and the freedom to install apps that are not on the Play Store. And because Android has such an active developer community, that freedom increases a hundred fold when you root your device. Once you do that, you have the ability to install custom ROMs, or builds of the Android OS. That’s when things get really fun.

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I like to think that one of our big responsibilities here at AppStorm is to try out new methods of customizing and improving our phone experience, then translating the technical jargon of developers, and delivering to our readers a clear and concise method for that customization.

So, when I had been reading on the forums that a way had been worked out to add Google Now to a lot of ICS phones, I jumped right on it.

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I waited several weeks for my brand new Nexus 7. I opened the box with lingering anticipation, powered it on (without charging it first, even though I know better), salivated as I saw the new home screen, and started downloading app after app hoping to find a barrier that this little beast couldn’t surmount. I found nothing. I found absolutely nothing this quad-core $200 steal couldn’t lay to waste.

Satisfied? I should be. Am I? No. I’m an Android lover, and Android lovers aren’t so easy to please…

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$70 can’t get you as much these days as it used to. A tank of gas or maybe two? A dinner with a cheap bottle of wine? Pay your electric bill?

What if I told you that 70 greenbacks could get you a quality phone, Ice Cream Sandwich, and a no-contract plan on Big Red (Verizon for those outside of the States)? Well, to my surprise, it can. However, it’s not without a bit of homework, eBay browsing, and some technical obstacles. But with a bit of effort, you can turn that chump change into a serious return.

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I expect you’ve heard about the HP TouchPad, a tablet running webOS that was heavily discounted (to just $100) shortly after it was released a few months ago.

The main problem with the TouchPad was that it didn’t support the latest apps, since app developers are not excited to develop apps for webOS as is not available on many devices. In October we reported that Android would soon hit the TouchPad, and now it has. Read on to find out how to install it.

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HTC has done good things among the development community. With their new devices, they are offering to help guide you through the bootloader unlocking process via their website, HTCdev.com. However, they didn’t want to make it too easy. With newer phones, the HBoot locks the NAND partition, making it a challenge to flash anything beyond a modified stock ROM.

Have I lost you yet? Don’t worry, I will break this down into common sense terms. Trust me, I was just as intimidated at first. We will also examine a few workarounds to get you right back on the flash bandwagon.

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Installing a new ROM on any Android phone is both exciting and frightening. You have to root, install recovery, flash the ROM, and cross your fingers. However, if you find yourself dissatisfied with your stock experience or maybe just want to experiment with new user interfaces, it is worth the risk.

Some phones are easier to root than others, but the Motorola Droid X2 is on the harder side. With a locked bootloader, there are challenges and dangers to overcome. This How-To will explain in detail how to tackle this beast and get your X2 up to snuff with your own expectations.
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