Some of you may think that the only reason to hack into a smartphone is because you're unhappy with said smartphone. Last week I did exactly this with the HTC Desire, but the truth is I hacked it because I love it.
Rooting an Android phone refers to gaining root permissions on the phone, which in turn gives users access to parts of the phone that are otherwise held back from the general public, mostly so inexperienced users can avoid doing anything to break the software on their handsets.
The reward to match the risks is the ability to install custom firmware on the phone. These tweaked firmware packages, or ROMs, are compiled by independent developers hell-bent on getting the best performance out of their Android phones. Custom ROMs tend to be built on original source code, like an official HTC firmware upgrade, for example, so the resulting ROMs tend to be similar to the standard firmware but with bits added and subtracted as the designer sees fit. This process will also give you access to software before it is officially released, like the new Android 2.2 firmware for the Desire.
The following tutorial is based on my experience, and though the process is mostly easy to follow, you do run the risk of turning your phone into a very sexy paperweight, and even if you are successful, the process will void your warranty. Only proceed with this guide if you feel confident you can complete the task. I suggest you read the entire guide before proceeding with the steps outlined.