Friday, November 07, 2008

Jailbreak T-Mobile's G1 Android

It didn't take long for the first jailbroken G1 Android phone to surface – in fact, it took hackers less time to crack Android than it took to jailbreak the iPhone. Just a few short weeks after its release details of how to obtaining root privileges on the new G1 Android have surfaced.

Posters on the XDA-Developers forum provide details on the exact steps needed. The post can be found here. Step-by-step instructions have also been published online at the Android Developers forum. It should be noted that this hack comes with the following warning: Do not attempt this if you a: are not a linux guru already or b: value your G1. Obtaining root gives you power to do stuff you probably shouldnt do without the safety of your phone telling you NO!!

Here are the basic of how it works. First, download PTerminal from the Android Market. You can use telnet on the G1 through your PC. Log in as root and you can get into the system directory. Here's what the rest of the steps entail:
  • Turn on WiFi in the G1 (Settings > Wireless Controls > Wi-Fi). Make sure you're connected to a network.
  • Start up PTerminal (search in the Market) and you'll get a prompt once its launched.
  • Enter cd system and hit Enter.
  • Enter cd bin and hit Enter.
  • Enter telnetd and hit Enter. You've now started telnet on your G1.
  • Enter netstat and hit Enter. You'll now see your G1's IP address. You can also find this in the Settings > Wireless Controls > Wi-Fi > and click on your network you're connected to. It will show you your IP.
  • Start up Terminal on your OS X machine, or bring up a command prompt on your Windows box. Type telnet [your.ip.address.we.just.found] and hit Enter/Return. So, if your IP was, you'd type telnet and hit Enter/Return.
  • You are logged in as root now. To remount the system file as read write, type mount -oremount,rw /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system from the Terminal/Command Prompt and hit Enter/Return

Jailbreaking the open source Android doesn't really achieve much, at least not for now. One of the biggest benefits of cracking a G1 seems to be to bypass internal storage, which limits the number of apps a user can install. Instead, a user could install applications on an SD card, giving them more room for more programs.

The hack was actually achieved thanks to a bug in the Android operating system. Google acknowledged the bug on Wednesday and said "We've been notified of this issue and have developed a fix, we're currently working with our partners to push the fix out and updating the open source code base to reflect these changes."

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