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    Droid-X Hacks

    *NOTE* This article is a work in progress. I will be adding information to it as I run across it. Please check back.

    *WARNING* The things shown on this page have the potential to brick (render unusable) your device. Although the author has found the information here to be from a seemingly reliable source he or his company is not liable for the results. By using anything shown on this page you agree to accept full responsibility for the results.

    I recently purchased a Droid-X from Verizon. I did so because it was the first handheld device that had a reasonably sized screen. At 4.1 inches and 480x854 resolution it has a screen that can compete with what I had on my HP iPAQ hx4700 and provides a reasonable web browsing experience. For some the device may be too bulky to carry. But as my purpose for obtaining this device was for a handheld computer, and not necessarily a phone, it does wonderfully well. One of the first things I checked was to make sure the device appeared to be able to function as a stand alone hand held computer, without phone service, as I could envision the day I would want to continue using it and not continue using Verizon. They are not a nice company!

    The complete specs for the device can be found here. My Droid-X came with Froyo (Android 2.2). So the information on this page is going to be based on that, at least for the time being.

    I chose an Android based phone for several reasons:

    1. Steve Jobs appears to have decided he is the developer god of the computing universe and therefor wants to dictate which development tools I should use to work on his devices. Its a rather limited set and, according to him, you must develop on a Mac. I find this repugnant on many levels and figure if he doesn't want me developing an "app for that" I don't want his hardware. End of iPhone / iPad.
    2. Micorsoft... Seems like that is all that needs to be said on that. M$ has not been able to produce a stable or flexible OS in a long time. I've looked at a couple windoze mobile based devices (my iPAQ for one) and my experience and the experience of other owners that I know seems to be they are unstable and unreliable. After all they don't put windoze on satelites, they do put Linux on them.
    3. Google has been able to develop a thriving developer community and a fairly wide application base for the Android OS. They may have the only eco system that can compete with Apple.
    4. At the heart of Android is Linux an open, modifiable, extensible and widely documented OS. Tools that I commonly use are available on the platform already, although some with more work than others.

    I'm not thrilled with the choice of Java as the primary development tool. But with some effort I shall be able to get some of my other tools going. On the other hand it is an industry standard that is very mature. I'm sure the main driving factor for using something like java was to competely isolate the applications from the hardware. The whole "write once run everywhere" idea. This means that Android should be portable to any number of hardware architectures and the app developer shouldn't have to care.

    Technical Hacks:

    1. Rooting the Droid1. Instructions and tools can be found here. This was painless even with the last Motorola update to system 2.3.340 (Froyo v2.2.1). The z4root program found at the link can also be installed from the Android Market. After a "permanent" rooting is achieved it is safe to remove z4root. The "rooting" remains.
    2. Still looking for a TUN module so I can run OpenVPN...

     

    Usefull Apps:

    ConnectBot

    Kenny Root & Jeffrey Sharkey

    Useful tool for gaining command line access to the local device and SSH access to remote servers.

    Noodles - ToDo List:

    makeramen

    Multiple To Do list program. Free version is limited while the pay version is unlimited.

    AmbleLink Notepad:

    AmbleLink

    Simple multi document text editor.

    AGP:

    Thialfihar

    GPG (PGP replacement) encryption tools for Android.

    B-Folders - Sync & Secure:

    JointLogic Ltd.

    Encrypted data vault. Keeps a variety of data types in an encrypted file. The file can be divided into su\bfolders, like a file system. Each folder can contain a variety of data bits like: notes, contacts, passwords, ...

    ScanPaste:

    Rabidgremlin Limited

    Scans and displays bar codes. The data can then be placed on the clipboard for pasting into other applications. There are many other tools that provide more data from scanned codes. I just want to see what they say. Requires the BarcodeScanner (ZXing Team) to perform the actual scan.

    GPS Test:

    Chartcross Limited

    Reads GPS data and provides a display of satelites in ues, basic compass, GPS coordinates and speedometer.

    K-9 Mail:

    K-9 Dog Walkers

    POP / IMAP access tool. Supports GPG (PGP) encryption and signing of emails. Requires AGP for the encryption / decryption.

    IP Subnet / Supernet:

    End of the Night Creations

    Easy to use and informative IP address calculator.

    Hex Converter Plus:

    Duncan Watson

    Integer calculator that handles regular and boolean math functions. Displays results and allows entry in a variety of bases including: Decimal, Octal, Hexedicimal, Binary, ...

     

    Programming Resources:

     

    • http://developer.android.com/
    • http://wiki.freepascal.org/Android
    • http://wiki.freepascal.org/Category:Android

     

     

     


     

    1. The process of rooting a device like this requires exploiting a security vulnerability in the device to gain "root" (super user) privileges. This makes me nervous because I have not inspected the code nor do I know that there is even access to it. It would be possible for someone with less than honorable intentions to plant malware. The author claims he doesn't, but people lie... especially if their intent is criminal. Surprised I felt semi-confident from what I read and proceded.

      A system update will likely remove the root hack. A future version of Android will likely fix the security vulnerability and require a different tool to root it. Android versions prior to 2.2 may require a different tool also.