What's the most "geek-friendly" phone on the market today?
July 22, 2011 9:32 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a smartphone that's hackable and moddable, but I'm a lazy geek so I'm really looking for something that has a strong and independent development community that's already done most of the hacking and modding for me. What's the best phone for me?
posted by wheloc to Technology (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
If you don't mind a phone that's a little on the older edge, the HTC HD2 is a really fun phone to poke around with. It's a Windows Mobile phone but with a little tweaking, it can run Android. The modding community for this phone on xda is also large and very active. I'm also a lazy geek and the HD2 provides me with all the tweakability that I want in easy to digest packages delivered by the developers on xda
posted by Geppp at 10:03 PM on July 22, 2011

Both Android and iPhone have lively, well-developed hacking communities! You just have to pick the OS you like best as your base.

I'm involved with the iPhone community so I know more about it - it's based around Cydia, which is a package manager that has a lot of free software available (including familiar open-source packages) but also enables people to buy and sell "tweaks", so some developers even make a living by selling pretty sophisticated modifications, themes, feature extensions, and apps that take advantage of the greater access you can get on a jailbroken device - all usually priced around a couple dollars, like the App Store. You do have to do a bit of research to find out what's available. You can also mess around with building your own modifications using established tools and frameworks for jailbroken development: MobileSubstrate, Cycript, Theos.

(One issue with iPhone: a brand-new iPhone 4 may come with the latest iOS version, 4.3.4, which does not have a convenient jailbreak available right now — there's only a "tethered" jailbreak for 4.3.4, which means that whenever your device reboots, you have to plug it into a computer to assist with the booting process. I'd recommend finding an iPhone that still has 4.3.3 or earlier, so that you can do a proper "untethered" jailbreak.)
posted by dreamyshade at 10:12 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

What about a Nokia N9?
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:24 PM on July 22, 2011

For minimal effect, pick a phone with an unlocked bootloader like any of the newer HTC Android phones (the company made a policy decision to ship all of it's Android phones with hackable bootloaders), the Nexus One or the Nexus S. Then download CyanogenMod.
posted by pharm at 12:40 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Any of these will be fun, although (just imo) the coolest phones seem to be at the top of the list. Another vote for the Nexus One as being the most recognized as modder friendly and also its big brother the G2 (which has a keyboard, but is only available in T-Mo flavour).
posted by anaelith at 5:31 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would also recommend the HTC HD2. Before I settled on a rom, I had a lot of fun trying a few of these out.
posted by eunoia at 1:20 PM on July 23, 2011

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