Asus Transformer Prime Gets Bootloader Unlocked – Hackers Take Advantage of it the Same Day

Asus Transformer Prime Gets Bootloader Unlocked – Hackers Take Advantage of it the Same Day

Feb 23, 2012

The Android hacking community is swift, like a hawk attacking its prey. On Wednesday February 22nd, Asus released an official bootloader unlock tool for the Transformer Prime, meaning that it is now possible for hackers to install their custom roms and other software on the tablet. Of course, it will take time for these hacks to get implemented, so Transformer Prime owners should be patient…wait, no. Within the space of hours, the community had *ClockworkMod Recovery* installed on the Transformer Prime. *ClockworkMod Recovery* is used to install virtually any software to a device (including new kernels and roms), along with enabling other tweaks available from recovery. As well, an early version of CyanogenMod 9, an Ice Cream Sandwich rom, has been running on the tablet. More customizations are soon to hit, as the Android user community pounces on improving their devices, and they pounce swiftly. The bootloader unlock tool can be downloaded here, and the ClockworkMod Recovery for the Transformer Prime can be downloaded here. These should only be installed by experienced users, or ones who are willing to step out on a limb to hack their device.

HTC Introduces Official Bootloader Unlocking Tool for Phones Released After September 2011

HTC Introduces Official Bootloader Unlocking Tool for Phones Released After September 2011

Dec 30, 2011

HTC has made a great move toward ensuring user freedom on all their devices, by announcing that they will release tools to unlock the bootloaders on all of their devices going forward. Officially, their tools will work with devices released after September 2011; devices released prior to this may get tools in the future.

What does this mean, exactly? Simply put, it means that users can install their own custom ROMs without any restrictions from HTC, though carriers can still hold the rights to not allow the bootloaders to be unlocked. However, for HTC users, this means that they will be able to install the core software of their choice on their phones. It’s a great move for user freedom, and should benefit HTC as power users may be more motivated to use their phones because of this. As well, it’s not like enterprising hackers wouldn’t be able to find a way to unlock them anyway.

Samsung Reports the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab Won’t Get Ice Cream Sandwich…Officially

Samsung Reports the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab Won’t Get Ice Cream Sandwich…Officially

Dec 29, 2011

The Galaxy S line of phones and the Galaxy Tab, one of the first mass-market Android tablets, may be old news, but there are still millions of users with these devices (this author included) and Samsung has at least seen fit to upgrade these devices to Gingerbread. However, with Ice Cream Sandwich rolling out, it appears as if Samsung cannot or will not be putting the latest tasty Android treat into these users’ hands.

The problem appears to be partially self-inflicted; namely, TouchWiz is the problem. The devices appear to lack some of the space for both Ice Cream Sandwich and for TouchWiz customizations that Samsung wants to offer. In an attempt to have their cake and eat it too, Samsung apparently wants to try and emulate some ICS enhancements by offering them through the Market to Gingerbread-toting Galaxy S/Tab users. It’s not Ice Cream Sandwich, but it is at least a gesture.

However, here’s the dirty little secret: Ice Cream Sandwich can fit on these devices. Enterprising Android hackers have gotten early builds of Ice Cream Sandwich running on devices like the Samsung Captivate. The catch of course is that they don’t feature TouchWiz or any other Samsung customizations; of course, advanced users may be more likely to want to ditch them for a stock experience, using their own preferred launcher instead of TouchWiz, and ditching any unnecessary Samsung apps.

So, basically, Samsung is going to be depriving users of the latest pure Android experience, because of their own attempts to improve on it. These attempts can easily be removed by users enterprising enough to hack their devices, but users having to hack their devices and violate their warranties in order to get the best experience with their phones seems paradoxical. Of course, who knows – Samsung could definitely find a way to get TouchWiz working with ICS given the space concerns. Or, they could decide that giving users the stock experience as Google intended is the way to go. However, the big manufacturers feel like they have to apply their own interfaces to their phones for better or for worse, so expect TouchWiz to live on, even if it means limiting the number of users getting the latest Android updates.

MOTOACTV Rooted; Becomes First Wristwatch Capable of Playing “Angry Birds”

MOTOACTV Rooted; Becomes First Wristwatch Capable of Playing “Angry Birds”

Dec 27, 2011

When the MOTOACTV was announced, I speculated about the potential of a wristwatch-sized Android device. Well, now, hackers have figured out how to root the MOTOACTV, Motorola’s wrist-wearable Android device. Chris Wade of cmw.me got his hands on the device and immediately set out to root it and install a stock version of Android on it – which he accomplished in short order. On his website, he provides files and instructions on how to root the device, and to get set up with stock Android on it. He managed to get Honeycomb set up on it, which is funny because the OS has been designed to run on screen sizes bigger than phones; now, it’s available on a screen a fraction of the size. Still, it’s a full-fledged Android device, supporting the Android Market, even games like Angry Birds. Still, it’s on a 1.6″ screen so it’s probably not the ideal experience, but it’s the most comfortable wrist-based Angry Birds experience on the market. Now is the time for wristwatch-friendly apps!