One of the biggest part of the Android experience is the conversation that surronds Root. Root Access to your phone can grant you some flexibility with your device, and while I will not get into it here, I will say that it’s popularity grows daily. One of the biggest booms to that sub-community was the announcement that Rooting your device is no longer questionable. Back in July, the decision to modify the Digital Millenium Copyright Act to include rooting and jailbreaking for any device. The decision was met with fanfare and excitement around the world. When the news started flying, I asked a single question – What happens now? So here we are, coming up on three months later, and the big question I have for everyone here is simple.
Has anything changed?
Let’s take a look. I went from Store to Store this week, asking all of the carriers what’s going on. The biggest side concern with the Carriers is the warrantee. The agreement you signed with your provider says that if you root your phone, you void your warrantee. Side affects of your warrantee being void include an inability to get a broken phone fixed, being instantly ignored by the employee that discovered you are rooted, and being treated by the staff of said carrier as a plague victim. Here’s the breakdown.
Verizon Wireless – Rooted phones that are returned for malfunction are sent to their “review department” where the device will be investigated for the possibility that Root caused the damage. This process can take “up to 3 billing cycles” and if you want a phone during that time, you can pay full price for another. For a quick reference – you pay $200 for a phone, and when it gets sent back for ANYTHING, if it’s rooted you get to shell another $560 for 3 months and hope that VZW does not determine that root caused the damage.
Sprint – Amusingly enough the sales force at the two Sprint stores I went to had no idea what Root was, and told me that the phone will not be discriminated upon. Calling their customer service department, however, I was told that since root would not cause the screen to crack or the 3.5mm jack to fall out, it won’t be an issue.
AT&T – The in-store reps would have no problem exchanging a phone in store, but if their review department discovers root you get a phone call informing you that your new phone will cost you full price.
T-Mobile – These guys seemed the most knowledgeable of the four carriers. Two of the in-store guys knew how to check for root, and did so regularly. However, the store manager informed me that your warrantee is void if root is discovered, and while the T-Mobile support centers do not check every single phone, the guys in the store do, as long as someone knows how to check.
So, in a word – No. Nothing has changed. The Carriers still look at Root as though it is the worst possible thing to do to your phone, and there are no current plans to support it. So, why did we get so excited? Are we all just waiting for the Carriers to change this? Are there any plans for Carriers to change? There are no answers to these questions, and when you reach out to any of the PR groups you get a whole lot of “No Comment”. If this is going to change, we as a community need to make it change. The question now is less complicated…
What are you waiting for?