Does being able to modify Android make or break the platform?Evan Selleck - Contributing Editor
So, Android. The mobile operating system from Google. The OS that, without much warning, started steamrolling its way into the minds and homes of people all over the world. Android has indeed taken the mobile industry by storm, and for all the major smartphone manufacturers out there, save for a select few, it's the go-to software for new phones.
No one can deny Android's popularity. However, there are still some places where I hear the conversation about *how* Android became so popular going strong. For many, including me, I would point the finger towards Android's success towards HTC and Sense UI, but there are some who would suggest Motorola's stock original DROID was where all the hubbub started up.
There's a strong case for both of them. I think it's an interesting conversation because of the reasons why these two options are chosen for the push for Android.
In the argument for HTC and Sense UI, it's the shift from vanilla Android to the proprietary user interface. More to the point, Sense UI basically made Android usable for everyone, and added a lot of polish to the user experience.
For the original DROID, though, it's the complete opposite. It's the fact that it launched with vanilla Android, and it was an easily routable device. That landscape sliding keyboard din't hurt anything, either. The original DROID is indeed a great device, and I can see where people would think Android's popularity started with it.
After all, there are a lot of people who refer to Android as just DROID.
A little while ago (and my apologies for not knowing who this conversation was happening between) on Twitter, I saw a few people in a conversation about rooting Android. About how if it weren't for the ability to root and change their device, they probably won't even be using it. The others agreed, and said that rooting more or less made Android what it is today.
I don't agree with that at all, and I really hope that isn't the case. Honestly, I don't even see how it could be. Making the case that rooting "makes or breaks Android" would be pretty difficult, if you ask me. I'm not even sure I could swing it. Personally, I think rooting an Android phone shouldn't be the go-to option for anyone. It should just work out of the box, the way you want it to. Right? Or am I missing something here?
Out of everyone I know, there are only two people that I talk to regularly, in person, who root their Android phone and add custom ROMs. Two. It used to be three, but one of them got tired of it and switched operating systems entirely. Out of my family, five people own Android handsets. None of them even know what rooting is, nor is it something they'd even be interested in.
Being able to root, and change the drastic amount of things that you can thanks to that process, is a great bonus to Android. I will admit that. But, the same thing could be said about iOs, and even Windows Phone. Having the option is great, but for a major operating system that's vying for the top-spot amongst consumers, it should never be the go-to option.
I love Android for its customization, but I love the customization out of the box. I don't necessarily want to have to go through an inordinate amount of effort to change things on my phone. I mean, even just going through the Settings menu on a Galaxy S III is pretty daunting all by itself -- adding to that with custom software and added bells and whistles almost seems masochistic.
I want to hear from the Android fans who refuse to root their phone. How do you think the rooting and development community affects the Android army on a whole? I also want to hear from those who live and breathe modding their Android phone (or any phone for that matter). Why do you do it? Let me know, Dear Reader.
image via Android Authority