How to Root Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich


Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich has been released in October, 2011. It was presented in the event hosted by Samsung and Google, together with the launching of Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the first device to sold with the new OS.

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is a big improvement because it combines, in fact two operating systems, which we have previously seen. It is composed of Android 2.3 gingerbread, the OS for smartphones and Android 3.0 Honey comb, the system created for tablets. Therefore it will bring a lot of new features.

How to Root Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich tutorial

First of all I would like to explain what a root process is. This creates an administrator account in your smartphone’s OS. With this account you will be able to access every corner of your system. Therefore, after a root has been done, you will have the chance to uninstall different applications, including the ones which are installed from factory, and, in a normal way, they cannot be removed. A root will also grant you the possibility of installing different applications and widgets which are not provided in Android Market. Also, some hardware settings in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich could also be tweaked.

how to root android 4.0 ice cream sandwich

how to root android 4.0 ice cream sandwich

Another strong reason for which you should consider rooting your phone is the fact that Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will become slower after some months of using. This is because everybody installs and uninstalls a lot of applications and loads the internal memory of their phones with a lot stuff. Therefore, a root is indicated. It will make your OS run faster.

I know that your Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is powerful but it will happen to crash after some months of using. The cause is the same with the one I already described in the upper paragraph. The solution is the same: root your Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

There are also some small advantages coming from a root. You could install in your Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich another keyboard for writing emails and text messages. You will say that your phone’s display is huge, but still, when in a hurry, it is pretty hard for your fingers to tap on the correct keys.

I want to describe the advantages of the root, which I already mentioned in the first paragraph of this tutorial. In a normal way, you cannot uninstall some applications and widgets which are provided by default in your Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich phone. Therefore, the root will be used in order to remove some of those annoying things. Many users are rooting their phones because they want to install 3rd party applications which are not available in Android Market. Some of the benefit from an important advantage which the root process provides: tweaking hardware components. Even a CPU overclock could be done, also.

How to Root Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich tutorial

First of all, you should know that you don’t require any special skills in order to root your Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. But you have to be very careful when following this process. If you fail respecting it, your phone may become unusable. Therefore, please take into consideration a few advices before starting the root tutorial:

- be careful and patient during this root process;

- note that we don’t assume any responsibility regarding the results of this process. The following tutorial has been successfully done on Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which is an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich phone, but we cannot guarantee that it will work on yours, too.

- before starting the root tutorial for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, make sure your phone battery is fully charged and, also, restart your phone.;

- make sure you read this tutorial until its end, then start it

Root tutorial for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

  1. download Superbot r1
  2. make sure you connect your phone to your computer, through the USB cable
  3. set your Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to bootloader mode. You can accomplish this by shutting down your phone and, upon restarting, keep both Volume Up and Volume Down buttons pressed
  4. for Windows users: you have to open the archive you have downloaded on the first step of this 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich root tutorial. Run the following file: install-superbot-windows.bat. The run it because this is the application which will root your phone.
  5. for Mac and Linux users, the tutorial for rooting an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich phone is a little bit different. The following command should be used: “chmod +x install-superboot-mac.sh”. Then type “./install-superboot-mac.sh”, in a terminal window.
  6. when trying to root an  Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich phone which has been sold by a network carrier and, you will notice that the bootloader mode is locked. In order to unlock it you have to use the following command: “./fastboot-windows oem unlock”. Of course, if your OS is different than Windows, you have to replace the “windows” word with the appropriate one, depending on your current OS. Please note that this procedure will erase your internal memory, but it is essential in order to have a root on your Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich locked phone.

The root of your Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich phone has ended.

I need to point out again the fact that it is vital to follow these exact steps of the root tutorial for your Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. That’s because your phone may suffer permanent damages, if this is not respected entirely. I have also asked you to check the battery status and to restart your phone before proceeding with this tutorial. I will explain you why I have requested this. It’s an extra protection measure needed in order to ensure that your phone will not crash during the root process. If this will still happen you should allow it to recover its factory settings. Do not start the root process of your Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich until it has not recovered its factory settings!

how to root android 4.0 ice cream sandwich

how to root android 4.0 ice cream sandwich

Also, I highly recommend you be very careful while benefiting of the freedom that the rooted Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich phone will provide you. Please study the risks that may be provided by an action which was not possible to be done when your phone had no root. Also, some hardware tweaking actions may be very dangerous for your phone.

Therefore, I recommend studying this resource: XDA Forum. You will find here tons of information regarding the way a root can be done on your Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich phone, and also what are the risks and advantages of this.

Facts about Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is the fourth major release and it brings many changes. It includes the developing of an unified smartphone and tablet version, which was highly awaited.

On 19th of October, Google and Samsung had Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and the Galaxy Nexus launching event, bringing a large range of new products for manufacturers, users and developers. In addition to the new APIs, the system makes is more flexible in regards to application development for all types of mobile devices, smartphones and tablets that you have in mind.

This new version, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, also attempts to streamline the interface and applications. The graphics are reviewed, with the introduction of hardware acceleration (for the graphics chip) of the entire system, a new theme (Holographic, created for Honeycomb) and new elements of interaction, such as “bar action, “offering current functions depending on the content displayed, are also introduced. Google gives developers the opportunity to adapt their products to the new system.

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich changes certain habits of developers and brings new ones: API, working methods, materials, tools etc. The whole world of programming is impacted. To better understand these changes, Fabrice Mongkhoune, which is a passionate developer in regards to the evolution of the this system, explains:

How is Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich working, when compared to Gingerbread?

Very positively! Gingerbread is out there now for about a year and had to be integrated just with smartphones so far. Google released Honeycomb in 2011 and many interesting new APIs have been unveiled, but they were reserved only for tablets, making their use extremely limited. However, we feel that Google has introduced in Honeycomb a maximum functionality and allowed developers to get used to it,  before launching Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Thus, Honeycomb has brought some very good features such as device management, APIs, USB-host for much better handling of the future Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich hardware accessories, management for official gaming peripherals such as joysticks , APIs for advanced copying and pasting (and thus copy more than just text) or the drag-and-drop function.

But I think the main improvement that Honeycomb has introduced and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will finally be able to integrate in smartphones is 2D hardware accelerated capabilities. Android 2.3 is only using applications like OpenGL (typically for games) which are able to take advantage of GPU components. For all other tasks, the CPU will do the hard job.

But the smartphone CPUs power, in the last two years, has been absorbed by the display becuase this is still a heavy task in which the GPU could be much more effective. It was one of the big areas where Android was late compared to the competition: iOS is hardware accelerated since the beginning and Windows Phone 7 as well. This is why that many people find that the Android interface is generally less fluid than on other mobile OS. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich now fill this gap and hardware acceleration will finally achieve a smooth sailing when you copy in the OS.

Some will notice that several tablets with Honeycomb still face troubles regarding the fluidity, however, you should keep in mind that Matias Duarte (former lead designer of webOS which migrated at Google, last year) has himself confessed that Honeycomb has been released too soon, and the scope was just to meet the manufacturer’s request to have a tablet OS and to prevent these same manufacturers to use the 2.x branch of Android on tablets. This is the reason why Google has not released Honeycomb sources, the system was left in a hurry and some of the code in my opinion should not be very pretty and full of crafts. The situation has changed with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

At the last Google IO conference held this summer, the engineers at Google have made it clear that the pipeline accelerated 2D display of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was more effective than Honeycomb, so I’m pretty confident in this idea: this time they had a whole year to work on.

All these improvements will finally be used with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which is the true version of Android, to succeed Gingerbread. In addition, ICS will provide a lot of new possibilities – at last – for the third-party applications to modify the internal calendar of the phone without using a sync Google Calendar, the management of native-like digitizer pens and promising future tablets very good programs for taking notes and drawing, Wi-Fi Direct support for streamlined communication between Android devices etc … For a developer who migrates from Gingerbread to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the number of new things offered by the SDK is really fun.

The unified development of applications on smartphones and tablets (as Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich suggest) is really possible?

From a strictly technical point of view,yes:

One of the key features for developers that Honeycomb and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich have introduced will also be able to generalize the system of “Fragments”. These “Fragments” allow a development of the GUI modules to become relatively independent as they are the center of the compatibility for PDA / tablet. We can create portions of the interface that will be totally reusable between devices with different screen sizes, the only thing that will change there will be the number of fragments simultaneously presented on the screen.

In the GMail application on tablet for example, we have on the left of the screen the list of emails and a right pane displaying the contents of selected mail. This is possible because the display area is large enough. In smartphones with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, on the contrary, we will opt for a system displaying only the list of mails in the first place on the entire screen and when you select a particular mail, list mails will leave their place to a screen displaying the contents of the mail.

Well in development , the list will be a piece of mail and the content of the mail will be in another one. They will have exactly the same code between the tablet version and smartphone version. You can encode once and the only thing that will change is how you manage the number of fragments simultaneously displayed on the screen, depending on its size, but this work is not very difficult.

how to root android 4.0 ice cream sandwich

how to root android 4.0 ice cream sandwich

From the point of view concept is more difficult:

Andy Rubin (Android creator) recently said in an interview that he finds aberrant having applications only for tablets and all applications should be consistent on both smartphones and tablets. In reality there are still cases where it is not as simple.

Make a smartphone application and adapt it on tablets in an elegant way (without an application that is not just stretched) is usually fairly easy with the help of “Fragments” precisely.

However, the application for a tablet that turns in an equally effective smartphone one can be problematic sometimes. I’ll take the example of an iPad application that I find very well done (because yes I am an Android developer who is closely monitoring what is happening in other places,as well) is the GarageBand application that allows you to play with virtual instruments such as a battery or a mini piano. Well for an application like this, I really do not see a solution to fit on a smartphone satisfactorily. To play with these instruments, the keys must have a minimum size, I do not see at all how we could have a mini piano on an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone, which would be used with more than 6-7 keys.

So yes I think it is possible to do a large majority of applications running on both tablets and smartphones but there is a segment for which applications only reserved for the tablets is not shocking.

Are there problems concerning the distribution of applications for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich?

In fact, the Android Market does not make yet distinct separation between apps for smartphones and tablets and I do not know if this distinction will be made ​​in the future. From what was said by Andy Rubin, Google is moving more towards a policy which he wishes the application download is transparent. In fact, the market for several months, allows developers to upload multiple versions of APKs (installation file an Android application) for a given application. The Market is then able to know which version of the APK most adapted to send is based on the device that downloads. This is useful in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, at times when it is desired such that the smartphone version is not encumbered with high definition images of the tablets in order to maintain a limited size.

If this policy has the advantage of providing greater simplicity for the user of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (which in the end simply asks to download, the Market should be concerned with choosing the most appropriate version of the application). It takes the risk of introducing an undesired effect, namely that one which can really know in advance if applications are really optimized for tablets or if you are dealing with a smartphone application that is stretched, certainly works on tablet but that does not benefit the specifics of it.

Documentation around the new API and creating “all devices” is enough?

On these points the documentation is enough, the section on Fragments is very complete and the “scalability” screens as well. But I just feel that Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich documentation is hard to follow the rapid development of the platform. While much information is available, I personally begin to glimpse a result of a haphazard accumulation of material that is clearly due to the successive addition of new features, which sometimes makes finding information a little more delicate.

Some sections of the documentation have considerably increased over the versions, which makes reading much less intuitive. For someone who knows the platform since its inception, there are not too many problems in regards to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but for new developers coming along the way, it can be frightening to be faced with a pad consisting of piles of sections sometimes specific to certain versions. I think Google should reorganize the official documentation and sample code refresh its aging times.

Android, especially Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, officially supports a range of important resolutions (240×320 and a 1280×800 HTC Wildfire with a tablet), divided into four categories.

Is there really an incentive way to create four “layouts” or simply one for “smartphones” and another one for “tablets”?

For Honeycomb 3.2 (and thus Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich), the OS has adopted a new system to manage resources for different screen resolutions, which should facilitate the work of developers who indeed began to point out the limitations of the current system. In practice, contrary to what many seem to think, there are no alternative layouts for all of its available resolutions. If you code your application with elements of UI [user interface] which are flexible than you think from the beginning that you are not working with only one resolution, it is quite simple to make layouts very versatile.

Android offers several tools and techniques for flexible layouts and advocates such as coding with dimensions expressed in pixels, not dpi absolute (and this from Android 1.5, so it’s not very recent). Without going into detail, using many of these units and with good development practices, and, also, using the right graphics components of the platform, you can often end with just two variants of layouts: a smartphone and a Tablet, which is exactly what Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich wants.

Regarding the resources like images and icons it happens a bit of the same thing. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich system features a very powerful image resizing. Often you can just upload a fairly high-definition version of your resources, and this will make very good everywhere, even on small phones.

In summary, the different screen resolutions can indeed pose some problems in some very specific cases, but combined with best practice, this obstacle is easily overcome, in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Development tools have evolved sufficiently with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich?

Yes, development tools have been made quire a quantum leap in 2011, all part of creating GUI has been redesigned, several things have happened in practice such as management of custom widgets in the Layout Editor, the arrival the Asset Studio to automatically create icons adapted to different resolutions and implement a number of effects to follow the guidelines of Google, a new debug console, a more efficient auto-completion when editing XML files, and so on. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich benfits of all of these good things.

The only really annoying thing is, even at the present time, the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich emulator used for testing applications in a simulated environment. Although functional, it is very slow and, even more, it is very slow since the release of Honeycomb and the arrival of high resolutions. This is due to the fact that Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich big screen machines are becoming hard to emulate even on powerful PCs, because of the size of their display.

In practice, if you can still use the emulator for smartphones with resolutions of 2010-2011, it is impossible to use for an application for future smartphones with larger screens, like in the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Galaxy Nexus high definition.

At the last Google IO, engineers have demonstrated a new version of the emulator for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, is much faster and able to take advantage of PC graphics cards that handle the display of the emulator. This version was even able to display a 3D game with a framerate [number of frames per second], respectively. It goes without saying that many developers are eagerly awaiting this new version, unfortunately its release date has not yet been announced.

A major criticism of Android is the lack of consistency in the interfaces of applications. With Honeycomb, Google introduced the “action bar”, a menu common to all apps. Of course, it is also available in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Is the communication of Google improved in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich? More importantly, how they actually encourage developers to adopt it?

When looking at the “UI Guidelines” (Recommendations of Interface) of the official documentation, there are actually many important concepts in the design of applications but not on their appearance. In fact Google has never really written a real guide regarding the interface elements and paradigms to be adopted by developers. Hopefully things will change for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

how to root android 4.0 ice cream sandwich

how to root android 4.0 ice cream sandwich

This is all the more incomprehensible because the parties dedicated to the visual design and usability of the applications are very large “chunks” in the developer documentation iOS and WP7.

Also it is very unfortunate that these ergonomic tips were not accompanied by code examples on which to rely. Some ideas were frankly very pretty, practical and fun as “QuickActions” in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich but it was annoying for developers to see Google in some application (such as Contacts, Google Docs or Youtube), with no implementation example.

Therefore, over a year from then, many developers and sites, such as Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich UI Design Patterns , tryed to raise as much as possible of these worries regarding appearance and ergonomics. Some even developed some code and libraries to facilitate the integration of all these new design elements recommended by Google within applications. But as these are unofficial channels, many developers are missing them and continue to make applications without consistency and by simply building blocks. Only the developers warn that have a minimum of hindsight, take the chance to look at this kind of sites.

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich adds some new features (with API), the People App or Beam, which allows sharing of content between devices. Which do you think are most likely to be adopted? What uses do you see for Beam?

The People App in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is in the wave of all social hubs, many phone manufacturers have included such tools in their overlays, it is interesting to finally see an official equivalent.

For Beam application in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, I am more skeptical regarding its immediate future. Very few phones are equipped with NFC chip, and it’ll have its presence in phones with much more systems than this API actually used. In the longer term, we can indeed see some practical uses for the easy sharing of content between phones.

In the end, is Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich going in the right way, in your opinion? What is still lacking in terms of concepts, APIs, tools or materials?

Personally, with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, I think that this OS has finally reached a mature stage which is enough to become the truly platform of choice for manufacturers wanting to create powerful devices without having to develop their own OS. For developers, the number of things doable with the SDK is really huge in contrast to competing platforms and with a little imagination you can really create powerful applications using the best equipment.

By cons as I said before, there are still points that Google needs to improve in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, I will quote the official documentation and official sample codes which are needed for a structural reorganization; the content is there but begins to be difficult to trace effectively the need for an emulator that runs much faster and, above all, genuine issue official instructions regarding the GUI applications and ergonomics. While not mandatory, they would educate developers who are not necessarily aware of the importance of these issues.


2 thoughts on “How to Root Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich”

  1. The links here are non existent. No luck for several hours trying with many methods. The xda solution is firmware. Well, this cost me $100 on a Pandigital, and is unacceptable, not to mention a downgrade.

    How many weeks do the xda people think people need to spend to root $100-$300 devices? Why are all Androids and Ipads broken when shipped? You cant do simple thinks like cpu speed, adobe upgrades, etc. etc. etc.

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