If giving Android phones to developers prior to their launch has any perks, it's the following: early access allows hackers more time to find exploits within the system. Obtaining root access to the Linux driven file system on an Android handset allows users to modify the software and gain complete control over their device. Similar to jailbreaking, rooting allows the modding community to remove unwanted programs, add applications that require higher levels of file system access, and load custom ROMs onto the device.
In just a few short hours, three hackers have managed to root their Google I/O gifted EVO 4G devices. While they aren't sharing their secret exploit just yet (they don't want it being patched before users get their phones), proof was posted on Grack.com and has since been circulating the blogosphere. What makes this root so newsworthy is the fact that the EVO 4G is not scheduled for release until June 4th. Many power users decide to purchase their next phone based on whether they can load custom ROMs onto it. Now that the EVO 4G has joined the ranks of the hacked, these users can feel safe and secure with pre-ordering Sprint's flagship device.
So what does this all mean and why should people care? It's no secret that Android devices with custom user interfaces (such as the EVO 4G) take many months to receive software updates from their respective manufacturers. When Froyo (2.2) was announced last week at Google I/O, Nexus One users began receiving the update over-the-air within a few days. For a user running a device like the EVO 4G, getting speedy updates is only possible via the online developer's community. With root access, it's only a matter of time before someone manages to get Android 2.2 up and running on the EVO 4G (it only launches with 2.1). Not only that, but users who aren't fans of HTC's Sense UI will now be able to revert to a stock version of Android. Below is a video of the rooted device.