The Galaxy of my dreams!

Today  I’m gonna blog about one of the most disputed topics ever. Android VS ios! Apple vs Samsung! Open Source vs Proprietary! This post may appear to  be biased but then again it’s just what  i think about  the whole situation. I used  to hate Apple and was a die hard Samsung fan. Still am,  but i don’t hate Apple as much as I used to.

To begin with i have a rooted  Samsung Galaxy S3(GT I9300) with the exynos quad 4412 and mali 400 mp-4 and i’m gonna compare it with an i-phone 5s. Both the phones are more comfortable to hold but the i-phone has a more pleasing form factor as its small and made from premium materials, i’m not saying that the galaxy is bad , don’t get me wrong but its one of the finest devices out there. You may not like the hyperglaze finish initially but after a week or two you’ll start loving it.

The display on the Galaxy is a hundred times better than the one on the i-phone as the amoled makes everything on the screen look beautiful without over saturating the colors and because of the higher resolution. The contrast on both phones are  excellent but the galaxy wins hands down because of the amoled display. Sunlight visibility on both phones is good but the i-phone is slightly better as compared to the galaxy.

To many power users out there synthetic benchmarks  mean an lot but then again theres nothing much you can compare here. Mainly Javascript and the web browsing experience are the only things that can even be compares because of the generation gap  between both the devices. The galaxy manages to do really well but the i-phone emerges victorious  here.

Both  phones are  suitable for browsing, but the browsing experience is slightly better on the galaxy  because of the bigger screen and because of the flash support. It is to be noted  that flash is not officially supported however you can just side  load it.

I haven’t had the time to test out the cameras  on both phones but the photos taken by the i-phone appear to be a bit better and low light photography on the i-phone is better. The camera interface on both phones are  completely different. The interface on the S3 is much more customizable as it lets you configure almost everything ranging from iso to the exposure value whereas the i-phone has a very simplistic design  with almost no options.

The audio quality on both phones is good but the galaxy s3 wins in terms of overall audio quality and that should have been pretty obvious from the start as the Galaxy uses the Wolfson audio DAC( digital to analog converter) whereas the i-phone uses the Cirrus Logic audio chips. The sound quality on both devices is excellent,  better than almost everything else out there, including the HTC flagships.  The music quality on the galaxy can be made even better if you have root access. Normally the music is generally converted into a 48Khz audio sample before being played, at least that’s how it’s supposed to be done but Samsung has introduced their own algorithm which converts it into something between 42Khz and 48Khz , so the audio can be improved by bypassing the algorithm which can be done with a custom kernel and root access.

If you believe that your galaxy isn’t loud enough then just flash the latest  version of Siyal kernel and download S-tweaks by Gokhanmoral from Google play and boost the sound to desired levels. Using S tweaks you can also overclock your CPU and GPU. however be careful and  don’t brick your phone.

The interface on both phones are quiet different, the interface on the i-phone is too simplistic and childish for my taste. The  galaxy has just the perfect  interface but some users think its bloated but that can be  easily fixed by either disabling the functions you don’t want

Lastly i would like to say that i sometimes wish i had an  i-phone but the i just laugh at myself  for even thinking that, because my reasons for wanting one are silly!

Last  week  i corrupted  my IMEI number when i tried dual booting a ROM  and i had to use a  galaxy y for almost a week. I kept on thinking that  if i had an i-phone this would have never happened because of the completely locked ecosystem. For what it’s  worth i’d rather use a Galaxy Y than an I-phone. How stupid is it to buy a device that can’t share files with other devices via Bluetooth or has no DLNA for wireless screen mirroring or has no NFC….and i  can go on and on . The list  is endless….and if you’re someone who doesn’t like meddling with your device then you  should probably go for the i-phone but if you’re the kind of person who wants to unleash the true potential of your device and are interested in knowing what its capable of then go  ahead and get  a droid, get a galaxy if you want the best!

Pros and Cons of ROOTING

In my last post i explained what Rooting and gaining root access is. Anyone can gain root access if you’re ready to take the risk and discover the true potential of your device and make it more powerful. Like everything else even rooting has its own pros and cons. I’m gonna list em out and I’ll leave it to you to decide if its worth the risk or not.

Pros of ROOTING

Sometimes, even Android isn’t open enough to give you some of the features you want. Either an app is blocked by carriers, hacks into Android’s system files, or otherwise isn’t available. Luckily, rooting can help with that: you can install carrier-blocked appsget features from the latest version of Androidmake incompatible apps compatiblepower up your hardwareget features like Beats Audio from other phones, or emulate exclusive features like those on the Moto X. Whatever you want, rooting gives you the power to do a lot more

You can do a lot of things to speed up your phone and boost its battery life without rooting, but with root—as always—you have even more power. For example, with an app like SetCPU you can overclock your phone for better performance, or underclock it for better battery life. You can also use an app like Greenify to automatically hibernate apps you aren’t using—perfect for those apps that always want to run in the background when you’re not looking.

Most of us use free apps on android and you must have come across multiple adds while using free applications with  android, root access and an add blocker you can get rid of all kinds of adds.AdFreeAdBlock Plus, and Ad Away are all great options. Of course, if you aren’t rooted, going into airplane mode works in a pinch too.

When you move to a new Android device—or restore your device to stock for any reason—you can make your life a lot easier by backing up your apps and settings first. That way, you can get your entire setup back in just a few taps. If you aren’t rooted, you can back up a few things like apps and data, but you won’t necessarily be able to backup system apps and their data, or automate the entire process as well as Titanium Backup can.

Titanium Backup is good for more than just backups, too. It can also uninstall that annoying, battery-draining, space-wasting crapware that comes preinstalled on so many phones these days—and, sadly, this feature is root-only. Freeze them first to make sure your phone operates normally without them, then delete them completely to free up that space. You’ll be glad you did.

Some of Android’s most under-the-hood tweaks require a custom kernel, which you can only flash with a rooted device. The kernel is responsible for helping your apps communicate with the hardware of your phone, which means a custom kernel can give you better performance, battery life, and even extra features like Wi-Fi tethering (on unsupported phones), faster battery charging, and lots more. You can flash kernels manually or simplify the process withsomething like Kernel Manager. Generally to flash a custom rom we use a custom recovery like CWM or Clockwork Mod Recovery.
A custom ROM is basically a custom version of Android, and it truly changes how you use your phone. Some merely bring a stock version of Android to non-stock phones, or later versions of Android to phones that don’t have it yet. Some add a few handy featuressome add lots of really unique features, and some change your operating system from head to toe. Custom ROM’s are also installed using a custom recovery. This  is not related to rooting but when you install a custom ROM always clear your Dalvik Cache, Cache Partition and Wipe the memory once unless you want to enter a bootloop.

Now i’m gonna talk about the cons of rooting..

we’ll firstly  you’ll lose your warranty as soon as you root and some manufacturers  like samsung have  a binary count which gets updated each time after rooting.

You can turn your smartphone into a brick. Well, not literally, but if you goof up the rooting process, meaning the code modifications, your phone software can get so damaged that your phone will basically be as useless as a brick.

Malware can easily breach your mobile security. Gaining root access also entails circumventing the security restrictions put in place by the Android operating system. Which means worms, viruses, spyware and Trojans can infect the rooted Android software if it’s not protected by effective mobile antivirus for Android. There are several ways these types of malware get on your phone: drive-by downloads, malicious links, infected apps you download from not so reputable app stores. They take over your phone and make it act behind your back: forward your contact list to cybercrooks, sniff your e-mails, send text messages to premium numbers, racking up your phone, and collect personal data such as passwords, usernames, credit card details that you use while socializing, banking and shopping from your smartphone.

Mishandling root access is a major security issue, as it practically opens the door to unwanted access, data leaks and theft, hardware failure and so on, if the developer has malicious intent. It is also worth noting that root is especially a security risk in corporate environments, where dealing with sensitive data is involved.

To top it all off, CyanogenMod founder Steve Kondik, the man behind one of the most popular custom Android distributions, believes that rooting Android 4.3 “might severely compromise the security of the system”. The third Jelly Bean iteration, and likely its successors too, is slowly moving Android in the no-root-allowed direction.

There are two main issues related to rooting Android and performing updates. First, after applying the update the root will most likely be removed and users will have to go through the risky process again. And two, updates may fail to install due to software modifications that occurred while the distribution has been rooted (either because of user alterations or due to the root access itself). So where does this leave you?

Well, in the first case the worst that could happen is that you will be unable to root Android, because the update patches the security exploit that was used for rooting. Needless to say, your low-level modifications will most likely be returned to stock as well, which can lead to a time-consuming process of having to revert (basically, re-do) them to their altered state.

In the second case, your device is basically exposed to any security exploits which would have otherwise been patched by installing the available update. It’s a lose-lose scenario, either way, in most cases.

Experienced Android users may find the process of rooting Android as simple as installing an app from Google Play. Beginners, however, may find themselves in a pickle, having to deal with some not very straightforward procedures. It is not unheard of for a rooting process to fail, rendering a device useless (known as bricking). Luckily, in most cases a firmware flash will solve the problem, but this is not easy to perform either for beginners and will only lead to more downtime.

Similarly, when rooting users basically have to have blind faith in the developer responsible for the tool or the app that is/will be used, hoping that there’s no sneaky backdoor built into it or that it will not harm the device. In most cases I haven’t found this to be of issue (though one can never know for sure), but considering the multitude of Android devices available and the multitude of tools and apps available for rooting their distributions, the aforementioned risks are not part of a far-fetched scenario.

This article is not meant to scare you into believing that rooting Android is utterly useless and full of risks. As with anything in life, the good things come at a price and it is up to you to decide whether the risks truly outweigh the benefits or not. Many of us have enjoyed rooting Android, but that doesn’t mean that you should do it too without knowing what you’re getting into beforehand.

What is ROOTING?

You’ve got your Smartphone. It’s new, shiny and neat. You can go online from it while you’re out and about and download cool apps to keep you company whenever you get bored. But can you download any app you want? What about custom themes? And did you ever feel like altering or replacing system applications and settings on your phone because they’re not so user friendly? Well, the thing is you can’t do whatever you want with your Smartphone. For security reasons, phone manufacturers and mobile network operators impose software limitations. However, these limitations can be overruled by rooting your Android phone.

If you want the most complete, hands-on way to control what your phone is capable of…it’s best to root it. Rooting gives you access to manipulate your phone in a way that carriers try to keep you from doing.

Rooting is the act of gaining superuser access (root permissions) to the root (main files) of the device’s operating systems, letting apps run at kernel level. Rooting allows for overclocking, however, in Jelly Bean, root is not required to overclock. Overclocking is the most frequently used root application. Root also lets you change system files.

Basically every linux system has an administrator capable of making changes to the computer and access all the files that make the system up. On Mobile phones however, this is locked down for security/warranty reasons etc.

This is a great start, we know that the admin (root) access is there, we are just locked down from using it. So the point of rooting is not to install Super User, it is to trick the system into giving us adb shell as root and therefore allowing us to mount the /system partition as Read/Write (instead of read only).

That is what allows us to change the value of ro.secure in the kernel, which sets the flag that allows us a root shell, instead of a regular (non-privileged) shell. Then we push the SU binary and SU app to the system, which gives us choice as to what apps are allowed su rights and what is not. In other words, we don’t need the SU app to obtain root access. It is just for data protection.

It sounds so simple, but it is not. Since the /system partitions cannot be mounted as read/write by default, and ro.secure=1, we cannot have a root shell and therefore not able to change ro.secure=0. Therefore, it is secure.

In order to gain the root shell we have to find an exploit that will trick the system. We use an exploit (hack, vulnerability) to trick the android OS into giving us a root shell in adb. For example on of them (in simple terms is…)

1. We kill adbd ***(this is the parent) It spawns a shell (adb) based on its rights*** keep this in mind.

2. When it adbd starts up, it must run as root. When it’s done, it will set its id back to a non root user

3. The program (SuperOneClick for ex) races adbd by spawning a process that tries to change its id at the same time (slightly first).

4. Since we are busy changing the id of our fake process, the kernel wont be able to change adbd since it is busy and therefore adbd continues to run as root.

5. Now we can spawn a root shell, because the root rights are passed from adbd to the shell, which is now root.

6. Success! Now let’s set everything up!

There are many ways to root any device but if you’re using  a device manufactured by a popular company like Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG or if you own a Nexus then you should look  for the rooting procedures on this android hacking community called the XDA, also refrain from asking silly or stupid questions on the XDA as  the senior members there are pretty cranky!

Thanks for reading!!

ANDROID BOOTLOADERS

All of you android enthusiasts must  have come across the term bootloader at least once. It could have been when you were trying to root your phone, install a custom ROM or even insert a SIM from a different carrier on your carrier specific device. Well, today i’m gonna talk about bootloaders and also about locked and unlocked bootloaders.

So, what is a bootloader?

bootloader is a computer program that loads an operating system (OS) or runtime environment for the computer after completion of the self-tests. —Wikipedia:booting

The bootloader configures the device to an initial known state and has a means to select where to start executing the kernel. It can allow you to make this selection, which give you for example the opportunity to start an alternative Linux kernel, or Windows. Because the bootloader is an essential component of the boot process, it is stored in non-volatile memory, such as flash memory.

Bootloaders are written by hardware vendors and are specialized for the hardware they run on.

For Android devices, the bootloader typically starts either Android or Recovery. Android bootloaders often have a basic interactive mode that can be triggered by holding the “volume down” button while the bootloader is executing.

Locked/unlocked bootloaders

locked bootloader is one that will only boot an OS that it “approves” of. This may mean that device’s boot partition has an approved digital signature, or the carrier ID (CID) hard-coded into the OS matches a value hard-coded into the bootloader itself. See also Wikipedia:Hardware restrictions#Verified/trusted/secure boot and Wikipedia:SIM lock.

For devices with a locked bootloader, booting an unsanctioned OS (e.g. CyanogenMod or Ubuntu) requires the device’s owner to first unlock (or even replace[1]) the bootloader. Unlocking the bootloader sometimes voids the device’s warranty. Procedures vary typically by manufacturer.

Bootloader unlocking should not be confused with Android rooting.

Now i’ll just list out a few popular bootloaders..