The XDA Developers (XDA) website was opened in 2003. Nine years may not seem like that long ago, but Facebook wasn’t even a thing then. The iPhone and the first Android handset weren’t released until 2007. So, in Internet time, XDA is old. In smartphone time, we’re ancient. is a strange URL—not as imaginative, short or catchy as most high-traffic sites. There’s a simple reason for this: the site wasn’t created for you. We never envisioned a smartphone revolution—or if we did, we never envisioned that millions would care so much about what was happening on our little developer-focused forum.

XDA was created for developers and it is still a site for developers. They are incredibly smart, generally selfless, and hard-working individuals who share their creations (for free) with the world. When they see a book like this, they get concerned that their site will be overrun (more than it already is) by “newbs” with annoying questions and demands. They see the title of this book—with that overused “H”-word—and roll their eyes.

So, why did XDA lend its name to this guide? Honestly? It’s because we can’t stop you all from coming and we’d rather you be a bit better educated when you arrive. People spend more time touching their phones than their spouses and many of those people want their phones to be completely customizable (even as their spouses are generally not). They want to remove restrictions placed on the devices by carriers and OEMs and make the phone ...

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