June 13, 2011
Yesterday, after weeks of thinking about it, I finally rooted and flashed my HTC Droid Incredible phone. It was relatively simple and straightforward. I've had my phone for a year now and I strongly suspect that neither HTC nor Verizon has any plans to update the OS beyond Android 2.2, so I took matters in to my own hands and did the necessary.
Both rooting and flashing void the warranty on your device. Both have the potential to turn your shiny Android phone into an expensive paperweight. If you read through the directions on how to accomplish rooting or flashing a ROM and say to yourself, "gee, that sounds hard" or "I don't thing the Ranger is gonna like this, Yogi", then you shouldn't do it. Every single site that I read which explained the process said the same thing. You do this at your own risk. Your carrier will not help you out if you destroy your phone. I am not responsible if you try to follow my footsteps and brick your phone.
I'm not going to explain step by step what I did. I will, however, link to the articles that I used to complete this process.
Start by reading everything you can find in the search results for "rooting <your phone type>" and "rom flashing <your phone type>". Then read Why Should I Root My Phone, How Do I Root My Phone, and Okay, I Rooted My Phone, Now What. Read them twice.
In the case of my Droid Incredible I was able to use Unrevoked to root the phone. This was simple, painless and quick. You download the appropriate unrevoked package for your device, connect your phone via the USB cable, and run the package.
From there I followed directions in How to Fully Backup and Restore Your Android Phone Using Nandroid Backup to make a backup copy of my phone. Then I copied that back up off the phone and on to my computer. Next I followed the instructions in How to Flash a Custom ROM to Your Android Phone with ROM Manager + Full Backup and Restore.
In my case I decided to use CyanogenMod 7 as the custom ROM. It works for the Droid Incredible and it is the one I have read the most about. There are many custom ROMS to choose from. Try searching for "<your phone type> custom ROM" and perusing the results to find one you like. With a back up in hand you can always restore and start over if you don't care for a particular ROM.
After completing the rooting and flashing process on my phone I spent the rest of the day configuring and setting up the phone. Due to licensing restrictions CyanogenMod cannot include the Google applications. In order to get the Android Market, Maps, Google Voice and others, I downloaded the "gapps" package from CyanogenMod and flashed it to my phone.
One thing that helped tremendously in getting my phone setup again was using AppBrain. Because I had synchronized my phone with AppBrain prior to rooting and flashing I was able to re-install all my apps, including my lone paid app. Similarly, once I installed Amazon's AppStore again I was able to reload the free apps I've collected from there - saving me the cost of purchasing them for the new setup.
While it has only been one day (actually part of a day) since I've completed the rooting, flashing, and setup of my phone, I am very pleased with the result. I basically have a new phone. Part of the joy of software and electronics for me is in the configuring, setting up, and figuring out. By flashing a new ROM to my phone I get to do all these things all over again. Eventually I'll explore tethering and hotspots, and I'll want to install a screen shot app, and probably a wireless ADB (Android Debug Bridge). For now, I'm enjoying the fresh layer of shininess on my phone.