PSA: The new Sprint Hero update blocks rooting.. and that might be all it does

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Alongside the announcement that the EVO 4G’s first OTA update was already available, Sprint casually mentioned that an update was also available for their HTC Hero.

Sweet! Updates! Surely this patch fixes some of the issues (shorter battery life, roaming oddities, etc) that Hero owners have been having since the move to 2.1, right? Not exactly. In fact, the only “fix” this thing packs might not be a very welcome one.

According to early reports, the only change that users are seeing with this update is that the previously established rooting method has been blocked. (Rooting, by the way, is the act of unlocking otherwise restricted administrative privileges for the phone, allowing the user to do stuff like install custom builds of the operating system, run custom themes, etc.)

Sprint may very well be doing this with good intentions; this process used for rooting is, technically, a security exploit, which Sprint may feel they’re patching out of the kindness of their hearts. On the other hand, it’s an exploit which requires a pretty damned good amount of effort on the user’s part — to my knowledge, it’s not exactly something that could be exploited by a malicious app that sneaks its way onto the App Market.

What say you, reader? What’s done is done, of course, but it’s worth discussing: was this a lame move by Sprint? I’ll go ahead and start the countdown until the next root method is discovered, but I wouldn’t expect it to be running very long.

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