Unlike the locked down and user-hostile iPhone, the Google Nexus One is not SIM-locked (even when bought subsidized) and ships with a bootloader that can be unlocked to enable custom firmware flashing. More importantly, you can use the Nexus One to make calls that last longer than 10 seconds 🙂
The Nexus One ships with a 2.6.29 kernel but if you like living on the bleeding edge you can install your own kernel (e.g. the experimental 2.6.32 kernel). Below you’ll find an update image I built which includes a 2.6.32 kernel, su, scp and ssh.
Steps to unlock your Nexus One bootloader and install your own firmware:
- Verify USB debugging is turned on in your Nexus One settings (Applications -> Development).
- Install the Android SDK and fastboot.
- Power off your Nexus One. Hold down the trackball and power the device back on.
- Run ‘fastboot oem unlock’ and then follow the instructions on the device.
- Download Amon_RA’s custom recovery image for the Nexus One.
- Run ‘fastboot flash recovery recovery-RA-nexus-v1.5.3.img’ and then reboot your Nexus One.
- Copy nexus-2.6.32-root-signed.zip to your Nexus One SD-card and then run ‘adb reboot recovery’.
- Once the device boots into Android system recovery, select “Flash zip from sdcard” and then nexus-2.6.32-root-signed.zip.
Note that for security reasons you may want to replace the standard su with something like superuser.