We’ve all probably used a lot of phones by now. In my case, I feel like it’s been a really long time. Way back in 2006 I was selling them, and I used my concession line to go through as many as I could in as short a period as possible. I wanted to use all of them because I thought they were all great, from the old-school smartphones to the flip-phones, the phones with crazy designs, awesome colors, and when listening to music through a Bluetooth headset was so cool because it was new.
Looking back at those years, going from one phone to the other, transitioning from the now old-fashioned Windows Mobile to something like Palm OS or a BlackBerry, always left me excited to try the next thing. All of the features we take for granted now were so new, or relatively new, that using it on a device like the HTC Startrek was pretty exciting. Plus, all those Nokia phones!
I jumped on the Android bandwagon as soon as I could, even signing up for T-Mobile in a place where the Magenta carrier didn’t get very strong service, just so I could use the original HTC G1. I legitimately loved that phone. And then when I got the HTC Hero, the original, unlocked GSM version, I didn’t think I’d love another phone more than I did that one. That chin was amazing, and the proprietary features that HTC built into the handset with Sense UI were great.
But as the years went on, moving from one device with its custom software to the next, I fell into the rabbit hole that is rooting phones and customizing my devices that way. I had plenty of reasons, from wanting a “vanilla” version of Android, to wanting features from Sense UI on my Samsung phone, or whatever other combinations I could think of. Some manufacturers made it pretty easy to customize to this degree, while others didn’t, but I always found a way to make it happen.
A lot of long nights, almost bricked phones, and so and so forth. It was a lot of fun, to say the least.
I’m not entirely sure when it happened, or even which phone I was using when I realized I didn’t want to do it anymore, but practically overnight I decided I wasn’t going to root my phones anymore. I was just going to start using them as the manufacturer intended, and if I didn’t like that experience I would find something else.
That would eventually lead me to webOS, with a few pitstops back on Android here and there, but I never went back to rooting my phones. I’ve had instances were I thought I might, but there was always this voice in the back of my head telling me that if I had to alter that much about the phone I paid for, I must not really like it all that much. Of course, there’s room to argue that you might want certain hardware features that are available in a particular handset and not another, so switching software makes it easy to get what you want, and I would agree with that.
And looking back at all that, thinking about it all over again, I got curious: How often do you go out of your way to root and customize your device? How far do you go to customize your phone? How much do you change, if given the chance? And, ultimately, why do you do it? Let me know!