As usual with Android devices, it was only a matter of time until someone gained root access to the Cowon Z2. This time however it happened before the Z2 actually hit the market outside of Korea.
iAudiophile forum member Gungr spent some hours figuring out how to open up the Z2, so you don’t have to. So far it’s a bit of a lengthy procedure, involving setting up the Java and Android SDKs, editing info files, and some more in-depth wizardry. I’m sure a neatly packed, easy to install, rooted ROM update will follow shortly.
I don’t think I have to count the advantages of having root access on an Android device: official Android market access, ad blocking, backing up or deleting superfluous system apps, over/underclocking the CPU, and so on.
So, if you’re the lucky owner of an imported Z2, run, don’t walk over to iAudiophile and check out the instructions on how to make the most of your Z2.
[iAudiophile Cowon Z2 root access hack by Gungr]
The moment everyone – well, everyone who owns a D3 – waited for is here: Android Market is working on the Cowon D3. Forum member roebeet posted his full installation instructions over at the iAudiophile forums.
It’s not the easiest or most straightforward hack, but anyone should get it working without issues. The hack requires ADB (Android Debug Bridge, from the SDK) and root access (z4root, Superuser) as prerequisites, and some commandline actions. It should be manageable in both Linux and Windows. Since Cowon managed to lock the D3 down properly, this hack will have to be repeated/adjusted for each new firmware version the D3 might get in future.
While it is nice that Cowon employees started posting selected Android apps for download/sideload in our D3 software forum, it sure feels right to cut out the middle man and go for the full, unrestricted Market straight away.
However, there seems to be more to Cowon not supporting Market on the D3 than monetary licensing issues. Unfortunately the D3 runs on a somewhat exotic Telechips processor that isn’t properly supported by many apps available (the ever popular Angry Birds won’t work well on the D3, for example), and it seemingly doesn’t have enough RAM as well. It might have been a bad choice by Cowon to use this processor instead of a well supported, say, TI OMAP… but that’s how it is.
Cowon D3 users now have access to the Market – make the best of it, but don’t be surprised if things don’t work as well as on an Archos tablet or similar.
Update: Cowon representatives posted APKs of alternatives to the official Google Market in our forums: 1MobileMarket, AndAppStore, and Slideme.
Archos’ current range of Android players/tablets sure are some of the best bang for the buck at the moment. If one wishes connectivity on the go, the Archos 28 to 101 deliver rather high quality hardware (not the screens but the innards), for a price that isn’t much higher than Chinese off-brand devices.
There’s two things however that are obvious drawbacks with the Archos Internet Tablets. The minor issue is a lack of root user access (same as most other Android devices), the major flaw is that they have no Android Market support.
While the advantage of Market access is pretty obvious – can’t have Angry Birds or similar vitally important apps without it – having a root user on an Archos is nice to have, but probably not quite as essential. There are two ways of gaining root on an Archos – one involves installing Archos’ SDE and voids your warranty; the other one is an easy single-ish-click affair, perfectly safe and reversible. It’s called Archangel (here’s the direct link to the newest Archangel version).
While the system still stays read-only with Archangel, contrary to the SDE/custom kernel rooting method, there are still some wonderful things one can do with it. Some examples include moving the Linux swap file from the player’s internal memory to the SD card or disabling it entirely, supposedly prolonging the life of the memory since it doesn’t get bombarded with random R/W access. Another application (which might be morally debatable) is loading a hosts file at startup that blocks ads – in any browser and the embedded ones in applications.
Thanks to these kind hackers, both Market and root access can be added easily, as linked above. Thanks as well to the XDA Developers forum for hosting all this knowledge that makes life just a bit easier.