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Thread: To root or not to root.......any suggestions

  1. #1
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    To root or not to root.......any suggestions

    I finally made the switch from a Blackberry Playbook to a Lenovo A1107 tablet. I just got tired of waiting for a decent mapping app for the playbook. I downloaded all the software I figured I'd need for the Lenovo including CoPilot and AutomateIt. I chose AutomateIt over Tasker since so many people have posted the learning curve is pretty steep for Tasker. I installed the new tablet in my vehicle yesterday and everything went well (or so I thought), until I came out this morning. The tablet was completely dead and I'm going to have to pull the center bezel to restart it.

    I set AutomateIt to turn off the screen, WiFi, and Bluetooth on power shutdown. Is there anything else I should be shutting down to conserve power? Do I need to shut down CoPilot or GPS when I stop as well?

    The most important question I have is do I need to root the tablet? I've seen several posts on various sites that say the tablet needs to be rooted for Tasker and apps like it to function properly. Also I've seen that restart apps only work if the tablet has been rooted. The tablet is running android 4.0.4.

    Any and all suggestions are most appreciated!

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate rray's Avatar
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    I cannot answer why it did not shut off, but as for root, I always root my Android devices, and install ROMz that give the features and latest flavor available for each device. Also, knowing how to root, flash over, and recover from soft bricks can be handy down the road.

    Some newer devices with 2 year contracts are illegal to root as of early this year, but the reason is unclear to me, as my devices are not affected.

  3. #3
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    i don't know AutomateIt, but only certain features of Tasker need root (like enable/disable GPS, dead-sure killing an app, etc). i would expect there to be documentation telling you which features need root.

    if AutomateIt has a setting to switch to airplane mode, try that to save power. again, not familiar with AutomateIt, but in Tasker you can easily structure profiles incorrectly and end up actually running down your battery. i'd suggest manually doing the things that you want AutomateIt to do first, and seeing how long the battery lasts... that should tell you if you've configured AutomateIt wrong or what.

    also, Tasker does have a learning curve but it's very powerful. i would suggest reading some of the tutorials online and if they make sense at all, then think about buying it for the future when you decide you want to do more advanced stuff.

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    Some providers actually will give you rooting utilities to root your devices but you have to sign off on the warranty to be provided with that information. Because you can damage your device while rooted or putting other roms on your device they don't want people to tear up their devices and brick them then get them replaced as a defective unit under warranty when it was something gone bad by the user that caused the device to stop working.

    Doesn't mean you can't still do it on your own but if they figure out it crapped out because you tried to put a rom on it then they will not replace it under warranty. To me it is stupid if you are going to root the device to go through the provider because you are voiding your warranty up front. Let them prove it broke because you did something.

    Also realize that rooting your machine can leave it open to hackers and makes your device very insecure especially if you leave blue tooth or other radios on while not using them. As a computer security student I have been exposed to utilities that allow someone to hack into someones device via blue tooth, WiFi and the newer NFC radios. If you have rooted your device I could gain access to everything on your phone. And do this while we are both sitting in a restaurant eating a meal. A non rooted phone is much more secure but in either case don't leave radios on that you are not currently using. I have lookout installed on my non rooted phone to try and secure it as best as possible and have yet to turn on the NFC radio. But then of course I expect that I will be around more hackers than most people since I am in class with a bunch of them.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rray View Post
    I cannot answer why it did not shut off, but as for root, I always root my Android devices, and install ROMz that give the features and latest flavor available for each device. Also, knowing how to root, flash over, and recover from soft bricks can be handy down the road.

    Some newer devices with 2 year contracts are illegal to root as of early this year, but the reason is unclear to me, as my devices are not affected.
    I believe rooting is still legal. Unlocking is becoming illegal. Meaning, unlocking a device so it can run on a different carrier (cellular network) than it was meant for.

  6. #6
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    Rooting is Legal, just will void your warranty is all. Same thing with burning custom roms. Some manufacturers actually take tips from the hackers who build the custom roms for new roms where it makes sense.

    Not really sure what unlocking is.. But not sure it applies in the US since most mobile carriers won't allow a phone to be used unless it is in their database even if it is a compatible phone. (Some people have been able to get around this but carriers don't want you to recycle old phones. They want you to have to use new phones on their system even if you have a phone that would work fine on their system otherwise.)

    Some people get around this by cloning a known working phone from another carrier. And for MOST people if you buy a cheap phone and clone the information to a much more expensive phone from another carrier the feds may not come knocking on your door but it is a federal crime to clone.

  7. #7
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    Update......

    I'd like to thank everyone who chimed in above. After several days of experimenting, I've come to the conclusion that the software on this tablet isn't that stable and rooting it might be a mistake. I've searched on line and found several posts of people rooting these lenovo tablets and having major issues. AutomateIt shut my screen down when I parked yesterday. When I came out 20 minutes later the tablet would not wake up. For some reason it powered completely down and I had to hold the power button to boot it up again. Putting the tablet in airplane mode does save the battery and keeps it from discharging completely (thanks "theksmith').

    I'm going to keep tweeking it this week and If it doesn't get any better, I'll try a nexus 7.

  8. #8
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    you might want to try a youtube search for rooting your tablet, that way you could see exactly how it's done.

    Also there are several task apps out there besides tasker,
    take a look at Macrodroid, and automagic

    Some of the features of these programs do take advantage of root but they should tell you when they require it, mostly for things like enabling wifi tethering.

    Airplane mode is good, you may also want to make sure media isn't still playing in the background after the tablet screen goes off and it's really going into sleep mode, check out the battery settings to see what's using the majority of your battery life.

    There are some devices with custom roms that will automatically boot when external power is connected. if you could find something like that it might help.

    I was trying a similar setup at one point and time but gave in due to similar issues plus the fact i couldn't do steering wheel keys, bluetooth calls etc.
    I ended up purchasing a Pioneer appradio 2 along with a app called ARliberator that gives you full control of your device via the headunit and haven't looked back. They are on sale right now at best buy for $279 i believe.

  9. #9
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    Update 2......

    So the tablet locked up on me last night while driving home. I just happened to notice the time was different than on my phone. I reached in and powered it down before I got home. When I got home and turned the car off, the tablet mysteriously powered back on. I have AutomateIt set to "sleep" on power disconnect. So I had to turn the key and then turn off again to force it to "sleep."

    ZR2EE: I'm going to ditch AutomateIt and try some of the other suggested apps. I do see that some features require the device to be rooted and I will have to figure out how to connect the tablet to my computer. When I first got it, I tried in vain on windows xp and vista machines to connect it so I could drag music onto it. I downloaded the drivers and followed posts from others who had the same problems to no avail. I'll keep scouring the Lenovo forums this evening.

    In the interim, I think I'm going to put an external power switch in the car. I have the Lenovo maintenance manual and it actually looks doable pretty easily. I'll post my progress and some pics later in the week......

  10. #10
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    ZR2EE: I forgot to mention the tablet I have doesn't have cellular capability, just wifi. But the app using the most battery is the cellular radio, always above 80%. I need to figure out how to kill that. I guess both tablet versions use the same software....

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