After all this ‘Android Buzz’ I have finally treated myself to an Android phone – the HTC Desire Bravo. Since I am new to the Android world, I opted for a second-hand piece and the deal was pretty good. I have a few friends who continuously keep teasing me about not ‘rooting’ my phone. I don’t get it – what is ‘Rooting’ and how would it be helpful to me? Secondly, another friend who has a similar phone also mentioned that he had installed a new ROM on the phone which is faster and looks better than the original HTC firmware.

What is a ROM and how do I install it on my phone? Do you recommend it? Will it cause any damage? How much does it cost? I am too embarrassed to ask my friends about all these questions as they keep making fun of my lack of knowledge in technology. Can you please explain these terms to me and also recommend if I should do it or not? Thanks in advance.

– Supur Kulkarni

Hello Supur and welcome to the Android world. You've made a great choice by investing in a second hand phone for a hands-on experience with the Android OS. That being said, the HTC Desire is one of the most tweak-able Android handsets out there. To answer your questions – Rooting your phone enables you to give administrative permissions to third-party applications to work properly or to their fullest. It allows certain applications which need access to system files and specific hardware to function properly.

For example, Root Explorer is a file manager which allows unrestricted access to the system partition, which cannot be done if the phone is not rooted. Rooting also allows fine tuning for most of the phone's components. It also helps speed up the phone and remove unwanted applications which are installed by the default firmware. 

Proceed with caution

Proceed with caution

There are a few simple applications that let you root your phone. A  utility called ‘Unrevoked 3.2’ will let you root your HTC Desire in a few simple steps. To know how to do the process, you can refer to the website –  We did a simple Root and Overclock feature for the Motorola MILESTONE – you could take a look at it here – The process might be tedious for first-time Android users, hence I suggest you read the entire post properly before doing so. If possible, get a friend involved who has done this process.

Note: Rooting your phone is risky and there are chances of damaging your phone. Be aware that your phone manufacturer's warranty may be void.

A ROM is a file that contains the entire firmware for your phone. Custom ROMs are developed by different groups of developers and hackers, who modify existing firmware or build one totally from scratch. These ROMs are handset specific and will work only on particular handsets. ROMs offer additional features and in some case, better performance. Often, manufacturers don't provide the latest Android build to their customers, so custom ROM modders will modify and tweak existing Android builds for a particular handset.

For example, the HTC Desire still functions on Android v2.2 (Froyo) from the manufacturer’s developers, while the modding community has already developed the Android v2.3 (Gingerbread) for the handset. 

Find the right custom ROM developer for your phone and register on their site or forum to get help and guidance on the right steps to install the ROM on your phone. A popular forum for custom ROMs and everything mobile phones is

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