I spent the last week hacking, rooting, flashing, and unrooting my T-Mobile G1 to try and see if I could break my phone. I have been able to freely jump between any version of Android I want and never been at a point I couldn’t revert the changes. With that being said, rooting your phone should not be taken lightly. It is super easy to format your phone and erase everything, so always backup your data before attempting any hacks.
I updated one of our older root guides to show the differences between the two popular hacking methods. The older method required you to downgrade, types numerous commands, and reflash your radio and SPL updates. I would guess it took about 1hr for the average person on their first attempt.
The new hack was developed by ZenThought and uses a known exploit in the current version of Android. It simplifies the root process by replacing your recovery image with a single click. This allows you to load Cyanogen’s recovery image and flash a custom version of Android.
To demonstrate the ease of this hack, we captured the entire process on video. I was able to execute the recovery hack, wipe the phone, and install Cyanogen’s latest experiment Android build in about 6 minutes.
For more information on rooting your Android phone see our article on the cons and pros of rooting and then read our updated root guide. G1 owners will probably want to flash a new SPL file to free up more system space, but be warned it erases everything. Make sure you always read the full instructions and ask questions when you don’t understand what you are doing.
I recommend Cyanogen roms because he releases the most updates, adds new features (some from Donut), and has optimizations for speed. He maintains stable and experimental builds of his roms. Do not flash an experimental rom on your phone if you need to use it every day. The experimental builds are for testing purposes only. The current stable build is 188.8.131.52 but he is expected to release stable version 4.0 later this week.