Rooted Users: You Spoke, Carrier Coverage Listened


(tl;dr – Carrier Coverage getting root support this week)

How would you characterize rooted android users? Geeky, technically savvy early adopters who enjoy tinkering, customizing and innovating? Absolutely, but after the launch of Carrier Coverage yesterday, I might bump a few other adjetives to the top of the list: vocal, influential, and demanding.

And I don’t mean demanding in a bad way. I mean demanding in a “we expect a lot from you” kind of way, like parents criticizing their kid for a B+ math grade because they know their child is capable of A+ grades. The Carrier Coverage team worked LONG and HARD on producing a great version 1.0 product (Android Market Download Link), but without support for rooted users, things went haywire.

The market flooded with 1-star ratings criticizing the lack of root support. Commenters suggested we hate root users and treat them like cheaters. In reality, it’s just VERY hard to accurately identify the correct info when many ROMs awkwardly change fields such as carrier, device, brand, and build name. To insure accuracy, we thought it would be best to disclude rooted user – at least initially – in our reports.

We were wrong.

A couple of the adjetives I left off the list are probably the most important of all: passionate and supportive. Rooted users are the EXACT type of Android users who are MOST likely to want to help and contribute to our vision. We know this and the LAST thing we want to do is alienate this group or make them think we don’t care. That’s why, as of last night, we began working on an update to the app and website that will allow inclusion of rooted data with a yes/no toggle button. Special thanks to all the people who suggested providing this option: it neither compromises data integrity or alienates root users, and might even provide a couple interesting data mining opportunities along the way.

We currently consider rooted user support to be our #1 priority and hope you appreciate that we’re listening to user feedback. We truly want to create a product and service that you love. We’re also hoping that those who left 1-star ratings and negative comments on Android Market will reconsider… we’d be heartbroken to see the long-term potential of Carrier Coverage killed because of a miscalculation in our launch strategy.

That’s right… I admit that we made a mistake. Now we’re correcting it. We hope you’ll continue to leave feedback on the Carrier Coverage Forums. We will continue listening, responding, and acting on your feedback so if you’ve got something to say, please let us know in the appropriate section of the forum. We hope to see you there!

Carrier Coverage Users are ADVANCED

I just wanted to share these graphics which comes directly from the Android Market Developer Console.

Over 30% of Carrier Coverage users are running Android 4.X ICS while other similar apps have less than 1% of users on the most recent version of Android. Over 25% of all users are rocking the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. We’ve obviously got a smart, savvy, on-the-cutting-edge user base and we’ll continue catering to you. We hope you’ll continue offering your support and feedback.

We’ve also fixed a few bugs in an update now on the market as version 1.0.4:

  • [Bug Fix] -> Fixed issue that prevented some GSM phones from not processing signal correctly.
  • [Bug Fix] -> Fixed network detection before submitting signals. Awaiting feedback.
  • [Bug Fix] -> Fixed first load sync issue.
  • [Bug Fix] -> Fixed Honeycomb refresh from not showing.
  • [Feature] -> Added more root user support.
  • [General] -> Removed ICS menu for settings, replaced with single button.

Now head on over to the market, download Carrier Coverage,and hook us up with some encouraging feedback!

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Is that why it says it’s incompatible with my Droid 2? I had the beta for a long time, and it worked fine. Plus I saw a comment from a D2 user in the reviews.

    1. Hey Randy!  Sounds like you may have a phone ‘fingerprint’ that is altered?  It’s no big deal to our service but this is how the Android Market validates which applications to show compatible with your device.  

      If your not rooted, then something else is wrong that I need to check out.  If you are rooted and this may be the problem, I will post a live download link in the forums for users that are having issues downloading from the Market :)

      Thanks for your feedback!

      Download Links:

      1. I am rooted, and I’m running CM7 right now. As far as I know, my device fingerprint has not been altered, but I’m not 100% sure.

        thanks for your response and the link!

        PS – I don’t know if it helps at all, but the app correctly recognizes my device as a Droid 2 on the Verizon network.

      2. Thanks for the apk link – gonna install it on my rooted Inspire now!

  2. Yes!!  Lets support spyware!!!

    1. Please explain?  This is anonymous data that is used in statistics that is open to the public.  We also go out of our way to ensure full secure communication with our server.

      We hope you don’t look at this as spyware or try to spread that it is.. because its definitely not spyware.  This is a tool for the Android community that we build ground up over the last few years to help, not hurt our user base.  

      1. Lets see….It reports where you are, what OS you are running, what apps you have, what you are doing, etc which is spyware.  It may be user installed but it is still collecting and reporting data.  The only difference between this and CarrierIQ is that it is user initiated.

        1. Well, you got some right.  Spyware is more targeted to collect information from a user base to profit on using that data in a harmful manor.  

          We state clearly in our TOS: “Carrier Coverage will not rent or sell potentially personally-identifying and personally-identifying information to anyone.”


          This is a community project to benefit the users.  CarrierIQ also does not share the data to the public.  Carrier Coverage on the other hand has all data open to the public!  That is a huge difference.  

          And again, I can’t stress enough about how users are submitting anonymous data.  

          1. Ok, so what is the point of having this then? If someone wants to know what OS version everyone is on you go to Google for that, since they have that stat. Apps, just go to the market and see what has a lot of downloads.  As for service, VZW (and others) pay network engineers to go out and see how their coverage is and changes parameters to best suit all the customers in the area of their towers.  So why in the world would you want some program collecting information that is “securely sent” yet posted to the public?

          2. The point is that googling for the stat of which OS everyone uses is tossed around a lot, and doesn’t always exclude phones that aren’t in use. 

            And the service providers may pay engineers to gout and see how their coverage is and change parameters, but how do we see that information? How do we know that the network in this area(that is clearly marked on the map) isn’t good because there are too many trees? 

            If you don’t like the concept of the app, or don’t find the information useful, don’t download it. I, for one, will be downloading it and using it because I’m interested in these things. 

        2. Carrier Coverage exists for the sole purpose of collecting this data (anonymously) and reporting it (aggregately). Anyone who understands the concept of this app also understands what information they’re voluntarily contributing. Spyware wouldn’t tell the user that this data is being collected in the first place. 

          Or maybe we should download Foursquare, check-in to a bar, then immediately give them a scathing review because their spyware was telling everyone where we were and what we were doing?

          1. Anyone who uses Foursquare is a moron.  “Look this guy is somewhere else….lets go rob his house….” ~ anonymous robber

          2. Ya know, I don’t think bakdroid is a good candidate for Carrier Coverage.

            bakdroid, you probably shouldn’t install it.

            You’re welcome.

        3. This reminds me of a Harlan Ellison quote: “People are not entitled to an opinion, but they are entitled to an informed opinion”.

          1. Everyone will be singing a different tune when Carriers start putting this software back into phones without anyone knowing again because people are supporting this app.  It is spyware and serves no purpose.

          2. Now you’re being willfully ignorant. Better tighten that tin foil hat and go use two cans and a string.

        4. “It reports where you are, what OS you are running, what apps you have, what you are doing, etc” …so does the Android Market, Amazon Appstore, and quite a few other apps, to more or less the same extent. What’s your point? What are you going to do, uninstall all those “spyware” apps because they need relevant info to allow services that are pertinent only to you?As I stated to the troll rustygh over in the original Carrier Coverage launch article, Don’t like the app? DON’T USE IT. Simple as that.

  3. “To insure accuracy, we thought it would be best to disclude rooted user – at least initially – in our reports.”

    Disclude.  I do not think it means what you think it means.  Probably best never to use it.  Exclude has been serving well for centuries.  Stick with that.

    Oh.  Thanks for the inclusion of rooters.

    1. Pummeled by Richard the Enlightened. I’ll leave my error in there… just so people reading the comments know you’re smarter than me. Or I. Smarter than I. Or… whatever ;)

    2. According to wiktionary it works.

  4. ” Based on a carrier report from,
    T-Mobile is ranked #1 in New york, New york with an average signal
    strength of 3.355. This report is generated from a total of 724 data

    Obviously need more data points. :)

    1. Hehehe… working on it. AT&T is winning in Baltimore and I’d expect it to be Verizon by a mile. I think once we’ve got a solid month of data we’ll be able to drop off some of the old/buggier data points and things will start to look much more accurate. I’m excited for that!

  5. Noob question here…I fully support doing group sourcing (I think that’s what it is called). My only question is…does this have data of or keep track of what I send in my texts and phone calls? 

    1. Thanks for the question jdsingle. I think it’s more commonly known as crowd sourcing but group sourcing works just fine. And no… Carrier Coverage absolutely DOES NOT keep track of what you send or receive in text messages or phone calls.

      You may notice one of the permissions the app requests is “Phone Calls”, but this exists only so that the phone will still ring if you’re using the app. (correct me if I’m wrong Steve Albright).

      1. Thanks for the response. I have since installed and will be asking my fellow friends and family members to do the same. I’m hoping something like this will help force the carriers to get their act together and show true data maps instead of what they currently say their network covers.

  6. What is Rob’s connection to Carrier Coverage?

    1. I started Phandroid and AndroidForums back in 2007. Since then, we’ve come a long way, and these sites are now part of a “parent company” called Neverstill Media, LLC. Carrier Coverage is a project owned by the parent company.

      Our team has grown and we’re continuing to take our passion for mobile – among other interests – to new heights by launching additional concepts we think people will really love. For example, check out Football Pickem on Android Market which had it’s inaugural season this year. 6,000+ contestants, free entry, and we gave out THOUSANDS of dollars in prizes.

      But long story short: I had the idea for Carrier Coverage over 3 years ago and it has been in development for greater than half that time. I wanted to build something I thought Android users would love.

      1. Thank you for answering. It might be a good idea to disclose this connection in future posts.

  7. Everyone says tmobile sucks in ny, I don’t get it. I skipped over tmobile when I was looking for a smartphone plan, even though their prices were really good because of all the people saying how crappy they were, so I ended up with virgin.
    After tmobile came out with the $200 exhibit ii and had the $30 prepaid plan, I said screw it and decided to try it.
    I have had the phone 3 months and have had no problem with a signal or 4G unless I’m in the back of a store or something. I would recommend tmobile to anybody in the Syracuse area.

    1. Most people that trash talk about t-mobile never actually used t-mobile. They just repeat hearsay and people believe them blindly. 

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