It’s been many months since the T-Mobile G1 was initially rooted. In that time, the process has been streamlined and tools have been built to make it much easier. Having a rooted phone has become even more desirable with the recent release of the 1.5 firmware that includes an onscreen keyboard along with other improvements. Having a rooted phone means you can do tricks like setting up a 3G/WiFi bridge. [Taylor Wimberly] has written a guide to help you easily root your G1 without having to go digging through forums for software bits. The process starts by using [Mike Moussa]’s rooting app to revert the phone to the RC29 build. You then use the “Android stupidly executes everything you type” exploit to launch telnetd and upgrade the bootloader. After that, the upgrade process is fairly easy. You just flash a new baseband and build. Once you’ve got your new custom firmware, you can do future updates using an app from the Android Market. We recently updated our Android Dev Phone 1 to 1.5 and haven’t had any issues.
AndroidAndMe is running a bounty program for Android applications. Users can request a specific application and pledge money to be awarded to the developer who delivers the functional app. [Alec Holmes] just fulfilled the first request by creating Torrent Droid. You can use the app to scan media barcodes and then download the related torrent. It uses the phone’s camera to capture the product’s UPC barcode (similar to Compare Everywhere‘s price lookup) and then searches major torrent sites like The Pirate Bay to find a copy that can be downloaded. After getting the .torrent file, the app can submit it to uTorrent‘s web interface for remote downloading. The app will be released later this month and you can see a screenshot tour of it on Alec’s blog. It’s doubtful that an application like this would ever clear Apple’s App Store approval process.
[ghostwalker] dropped in on our previous Debian Android post to let us know that he had streamlined the install process. The first time around, it quickly became difficult to complete the process because firmware updates had taken away root access. Hackers have since figured out how to downgrade from RC30 and install BusyBox. All you need to do to put Debian on your phone is download the package from [ghostwalker] and then run the installer script. This isn’t technically a port since Debian already has ARM EABI support. What would you run on your phone if you had access to the entire Debian package tree? A video of Debian starting up is embedded below.
[Luke Hutchison] has come up with a rather clever hack to get multitouch support on the G1. He wrote a patch against the Synaptics touchscreen driver. When two fingers are placed, the driver reports the x/y of the midpoint and a radius for the size field. If only one finger is used, the size is reported as zero. The nice thing about this approach is that it’s backwards compatible; the extra data will be ignored by current apps. Unfortunately, Google’s Android team says that if multitouch is ever added, it would identify individual fingers and definitely not using this method.
It’s the season of gift giving. Did you get anything interesting/hackable? What will you work on next?
We gave ourselves an Android Dev Phone 1 (ADP1). We hadn’t really considered getting a G1 until the ADP1 was announced… It’s actually a lot of fun to use as our primary phone. Our favorite app so far is connectbot, the SSH client. The interface is really smart, way better than all of the iPhone clients.
In our Dev Phone 1 excitement last week, we somehow overlooked phoneWreck’s teardown of the T-Mobile G1. The complex slider mechanism is certainly worth looking out. One of the major oddities they point out is the inclusion of two vibration motors. One is mounted next to the SIM on the mainboard. While the other is mounted in the frame next to the earpiece. We wonder what was gained/solved by using two. The phone also includes a digital compass module. We’d like a more detailed explanation of how the Xilinx CPLD is used. From this article in 2006, it seems HTC uses them to generate custom clock signals and switching off devices for power management.