When we talk about Android phones, one of the things that pops into your mind is the open nature of the mobile platform, especially when compared with Apple's iOS. Rooting is also something that is heavily associated with the platform and considered as one of the benefits offered by it. However, it seems like Google is trying to tighten its hold on the process when it comes to its upcoming Pixel smartphones.
According to a report by XDA Developers, the rooting methods in their current form will not able to work on the upcoming devices from Google. Google has been making it difficult for the users to root their phones with updates to its Android platform. In fact, users who are on Android 6.0 Marshmallow or later are required to perform a 'systemless root' without modifying their device's partition.
To perform a 'systemless root', users were currently modifying their device's ramdisk. However, now the ramdisk is placed inside the system partition, as per the code commits found in Android 7.0 Nougat and within ROM source, XDA developers point out. This means that the system will not allow for changes to be made to the ramdisk.
It is especially a surprising move by the company because Nexus phones by the search giant have been known for their flexibility and how easily they could be rooted. In fact, this was one of the reasons why they have been favourites among developers.
Even though this doesn't necessarily mean that rooting will not be possible on the Pixel smartphones, it does indicate the direction in which Google is heading with its mobile platform. It seems like Google is not just changing the name of its smartphones but their entire nature.
Interestingly, the Pixel smartphones are meant to be premium offerings competing with Apple's iPhone models. The pixel smartphones are expected to be unveiled at Google's event on October.
Google also released an API recently for developers that allowed them to prevent rooted phones from running their applications. It will be interesting to see how the company will shape up its mobile platform going forward.