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Glossary of popular terms for your HTC EVO

4268897748_8154e2625c_z[1]My HTC EVO 4G has been rooted for over a year now, my EVO 3D for several months, and in that time this is what I've learned. Some of it may be incorrect or incomplete, so please feel free to point out any of this in the comments and I'll try to address it. There are quite a few complete Android glossaries out there, but I'm trying to skirt between enough information and information overload.

This is a general guide and as such, it's not going to cover everything. And since I'm writing it, well, I can guarantee that it won't be perfect. But hopefully it's useful.

Android – The operating system that runs on the HTC EVO family, and the #1 most prolific phone OS on the planet. Versions are alphabetically codenamed after snacks: Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb (designed for tablet only), Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Donut, ??

ADB – Android Debug Bridge – a very useful tool.

AOSP – Android Open Source Project.

AOSP ROM – A ROM based on open source code. These generally require different kernels to operate correctly.

APK – Android PacKage. Applications, when installed from the net, will have the file extension of APK.

Bloatware - pre-installed applications that cannot be removed without rooting your device.

CIQ – Carrier IQ. A piece of preinstalled software that runs with elevated access in the background of HTC EVOs by default and records everything. Potentially can be exploited to steal information. Many custom ROMs have removed it now, and as of January 2012 the EVO 3D stock OTA had removed it.

Closed Source – Programs that the code is not freely/readily available to view/edit/modify. An example of this is HTC Sense and to a lesser extent the kernels that are supposed to be open source but don't get released to the public for months.

CyanogenMod – A very popular AOSP ROM that supports many different phones and tablets from most major manufacturers.

Fastboot / Fastboot USB – an option off of the bootloader which allows you to load and execute code from a computer. On the EVO 3D with S-ON but unlocked, it's the pre-Android level at which kernels have to be flashed.

Fast Boot – a method used in which before your phone shuts down it takes a snapshot of itself, then restores that snapshot when the power comes back on. It significantly reduces the time that it takes to boot your phone, but causes custom recoveries to not load without pulling the battery in some instances.

Flashing – The process of taking a downloaded file and pushing it into the phone's protected space. You flash ROMs, radios, recoveries, and kernels. You usually flash via recovery; however, there are other ways to flash too. Usage of the term: Flashing an image, Flashing a zip.

Flash Image GUI For the 3D, a way to flash kernels from Android mode. In essence it removes the need to have a computer involved to flash a ROM + kernel when you're unlocked but S-ON.

Froyo – Frozen Yogurt. Android operating system code name.

Gingerbread – Android OS that came after Froyo.

HBOOT – Just about the first level of programs that execute while your phone is starting. 

Honeycomb – Android 3.x operating system. Designed exclusively for tablets, it was a different path than Froyo and Gingerbread designed exclusively at the higher end tablet market. Eventually abandoned for Ice Cream Sandwich which reunited Gingerbread (phone) and Honeycomb (tablet) into a unified OS again.

HTC – The manufacturer of the EVO line of products.

HW/HW Version – The version of hardware you're running on your EVO. On the EVO 4G, the coveted version was 003 as everything just worked for it. Different HW versions meant different chips, which meant different problems. After a year of development, there's little difference between how ROMs work on one over the other, but things do vary.

Ice Cream Sandwich / ICS – Android 4.0, as of January 2012, this was the newest flavor of operating system for Android devices, but had not made its way to the EVO line of devices yet.

Kang – to steal without giving credit. "It's a kang" = "it was stolen without credit." "Kanged already" = "it was already reproduced without credit." 

Kernel – The command and control center of your operating system. Think of it as an airport control tower, directing where things go, who can take off, and who can land. They come in two flavors for our phones: Sense-based and AOSP-based. They control most aspects of IO.

Launcher – the main application that allows you to select and launch applications, switch between home screens. On HTC Sense this is usually a launcher named Rosie. You can replace launchers without the need to root the phone. Replacement launchers generally offer different looks and feels and improvements over the stock Sense launcher, however some simply mimick it for use on other phones.

LEE – Generally this refers to a kernel named Tiamat version 3.3.7 for the HTC EVO 4G / AOSP-based ROMs. Many other kernels have been released since 3.3.7, but die-hards claim it was the last kernel with the best battery life / performance. 337 upside down looks like LEE also.

mA / mAh – miliAmp / miliAmp hours. The HTC EVO 4G shipped with a 1500 mA battery, the 3D shipped with a 1700 mA battery. If you are draining the battery at 200 mAh (miliAmps per hour) an EVO 4G would die in 7 hours, and a 3D would die in 8.

MIUI – A popular ROM based on AOSP that has an iOS-inspired design with no app drawer.

Nandroid/Nandroid Backup – A snapshot of what your phone looked like at the instant you took it. Think of it like ghosting or cloning your computer's hard drive. You can flash a new ROM, hate it, restore an older Nandroid backup, and you should have your phone back to what it was previously. You make and restore Nandroid backups via recovery.

OG, The – Original HTC EVO 4G.

Open Source – Code that is freely available and can be modified.

Overclock – To increase the speed of your CPU. This is usually done by programs such as SetCPU or included as part of the ROM itself. Overclocking can only be done on a custom kernel and results in some performance gains and abysmal battery life. Overclocking can cause instability and cause your phone to lock up. It will also make your phone a bit warmer.

Radios – On the HTC line of products you generally have five radios:

  • WiFi, which operates at 2.4-5ghz depending on what channel it's running
  • Cellular/3G, which carries voice and data
  • 4G/WiMAX, which only carries data
  • GPS, which is receive-only
  • Bluetooth, which talks to WiiMotes and headsets

Flashing a radio means updating the code that controls the hardware.

Recovery – A level/program that can be run before your phone boots up. In the root world, we have Amon Ra, TeamWin, and ClockworkMod custom recoveries. A recovery's duties are to flash a file somewhere – be that to firmware, protected space, or the SD card. You have to have a custom recovery to flash anything that is not signed by HTC. Amon Ra and Clockwork recoveries can both be flashed through ROM Manager.

ROM – In the Android world, this generally is understood to be a collection of programs, kernel, and interface that comprise your phone experience. These pieces sit outside of normally writable space and without superuser access programs should not be able to touch them. Many different developers produce ROMs; some get financial reward, some get geek cred.

ROM Manager – An application that allows you to flash custom recoveries. It also allows you to download some ROMs and patches without searching for them yourself.

Root - Unfortunately, this means multiple things on the EVO. One is a folder location: The root of your SD card is the top folder you can see "/sdcard/," "l:," or "Top Level." To root your phone, you use an exploit software, while a phone with root means you have superuser access.

To root your phone, you use an exploit software and install a custom recovery. You used to use Unrevoked to do this, but that program does not work with Gingerbread on the EVO, nor does it work with the EVO 3D. You now use Revolutionary (as of 9/29/11) to gain S-OFF, which allows you to install a custom recovery and flash superuser and ROMs.

Rosie – the stock HTC Sense launcher.

RUU – ROM Update Utility, or Remote Update Utility, depending on who you ask. A program that runs on a computer or other device which connects to your phone, flashes and installs updates.

SBC – Superior Battery Charging. A method that trickle-charges your battery and achieves a greater charge/longer life. When it was first introduced on the EVO, several batteries died on one ROM. There still exists debate over whether this will damage your battery in the long term; however, at 8 months of SBC kernels I've gone through no batteries and if I do, they're $7 a pop.

SD card – Small user-changeable piece of equipment that functions as a disk drive/storage. It's located under the battery of the HTC EVO 4G.

Sense – A user interface designed by HTC. Your phone came with it and unless you rooted it and changed to an AOSP ROM, you are running it right now. It's what makes your phone look like your phone.

S-ON – Signature verification on, or Security On. This is HBOOT related; generally, if you're in S-ON you're not able to flash radio images. While you do not technically have to have S-OFF to be rooted, most on the 4G mix S-OFF with rooted. An S-ON device can do everything an S-OFF device can do except flash radio images.

S-OFF – Signature verification off, or Security Off. Your phone is completely your phone. 

Superuser – A program that grants other programs elevated rights. It allows programs full access to do whatever they want. Any program with superuser access has all rights to do anything.

Tether / Wireless Tether – to turn your EVO into a wireless or wired internet access point for other devices. Generally this requires a $30 a month contract with Sprint for their preloaded Sprint Hotspot, or rooting the device and installing Wireless Tether for Root. Other non-root methods are available.

Underclock – To reduce the speed of your CPU. Usually this results in battery savings, but side effects may include a phone that does not want to wake up quickly or is not responsive. This is generally a pretty safe thing to try.

Undervolt – A battery-saving method by which you reduce the voltage to the processor in an attempt to save some battery power. Too much undervolting results in the phone behaving strangely, and some see no battery life improvements.

Unlock the bootloader – generally means to follow the instructions on HTCDev.com which will gain you an unlocked bootloader but keep S-ON security. See also.

VaelPak – A ROM family based on Sense and AOSP that works on the HTC EVO 4G and the HTC EVO 3D.

3D – The HTC EVO 3D.
3D – a 3-dimensional image or field on a 2-dimensional surface.
3D – stereoscopic 3D in which an image is displayed at different angles to your right and left eyes forming a complete formed image in your head.
3D –  color/color – red/cyan, red/blue, etc. A method of displaying 3D images in which each eye is covered with a different colored filter.

##DATA# – A command you can enter into the dialer on Sense-based ROMs that will take you to a place where you can configure many different otherwise hidden options.

##GPSCLRX# or ##4772579# - A code that is probably not needed now that the source code for the GPS is freely available. It used to reset the GPS chip to factory defaults so that an AOSP ROM would work with the GPS correctly.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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15 thoughts on “Glossary of popular terms for your HTC EVO

  • Avatar of TXGoatHead

    Great list of terms, Paul! Thank you!

  • Avatar of Biker1

    Very informative.
    Now sticky that lol!

  • Avatar of K-man

    Thanks, this is great! Just one minor thing, since this is an EVOcentric glossary, maybe you could elaborate regarding the S-ON & UNLOCKED features of HTC’s official EVO 3D method of rooting. I most certainly can run Superuser and do fun things with S-ON on HBOOT 1.50.

  • I just got the 3D, will take me a few more hours before I can elaborate on the official unlocking / 4g vs 3d… but will do that as soon as I can.

  • Avatar of amaults27

    Thank you sir!

  • Avatar of tiadebella

    Fabulously helpful. Thank you!

  • Hey, sorry about the delayed response, work is being work today…

    I will probably put something in on this tonight that is mostly a link elsewhere for better description – something like

    Phone home software owned by XXX, considered spyware by some (and then a link to that piece)

  • playing around with S-ON 3D at the moment that’s rooted, looks like the main difference here is S-ON you need a stock kernel but can still root..

    flippin 3d’s… so much to learn

  • Avatar of benodiktine

    No worries, I’m just getting back here to check for your response right now. I see that you added it to the glossary, thanks Paul! This glossary idea is great and you got on it right away. I’m really impressed by G&E’s turn around on users suggestions! It feels like a new G&E and I’m really enjoying it. Thanks again!

  • TypePad HTML Email
    Amazon.Right now 3500mAh for EVO 4G (over 2 times stock) extended battery + cover is 6.34Stock battery for 4G is 4.99EVO 3D I find on shopping.google.com replacements start at $4.22 for stock.

  • That is very good for my new HTC Evo. I will use this as a reference because I still don’t know some terms.

  • My HTC Evo will not open after I dropped it into water while driving on my bike on the road. Any ideas how to recover it?

  • Avatar of Shawn

    Somehow ended up on this page – great list of terms to keep at hand!


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