Spice up your Spice: An informal guide to tweaking your Mobilicity Motorola XT300.

I personally know three other people using Mobilicity’s cheap and cheerful Android handset, so for today’s post I’m basically adding screen grabs to something I found on the HowardForums. Thank you AllanVS, wherever you are…

Following these steps won’t do anything to helpΒ that crappy camera; they will, however, make your Spice run significantly faster and put you firmly in control of your device.

Step one: Unlock it.

I’m fortunate to have a friendly neighbourhood phone unlocker not too far from me. Even better, they have a page on their site where you can check on your order from home.Β Despite being very busy, the typical wait time is about an hour or two. And the damage is a mere twenty bones (Canadian).

Step two: Root it.

This is kind of a scary thing in that rooting your phone can brick it, or at the very least void your warranty. But with the older 2.1 version of Android and z4root it was honestly a piece of cake — just download the file, sideload it to your Spice’s microSD card, then launch.

If you’re hesitant you can opt for the temporary root, but at this point your phone is already unlocked, so why not go for broke?

Once you’ve got root access any app for rooted phones will ask for the necessary permissions before running, so you’re still protected. Two such apps I can recommend right off the bat are (1) Barnacle Wifi Tether, which makes sharing your data connection possible on Android 2.1 and (2) Titanium Backup, which we’ll need for step three…

Step three: De-crapify it.

You can use Titanium backup to archive all your apps & system data on your onboard microSD card; once that’s done you’re free and clear to uninstall anything you don’t like — like the Spice’s pokey launcher, for example.

But if there’s something you’re not entirely sure about it’s probably best to Google it and make sure it’s not a critical part of your OS.

As per the suggestion on HoFo I installed Launcher Pro. Despite having way more features — like the preview of multiple home screens seen above — it’s actually much snappier than the default Moto launcher.

Oh, and if screen #6 looks a little sparse it’s because I haven’t installed so many games… yet.

These fairly simple tweaks make an already affordable Android handset even more of a bargain. I’m already a huge fan of vertical sliders, but the Spice’s qwerty keypad makes it even better — good enough to make it the phone I take with me while my Nexus One stays at home. I’ll probably root that next. 😎

If there’s anything I can make more clear please leave a comment below!

41 comments:

  1. hi
    i have the xt300 spice and for the life of me i cannot root the phone (temp or perm). I have installed astro and have used that to open z4root1.3.0. once installed i try to run z4root and it does not work! Is just stops half way through and exits the program on its own! am i doing something wrong? can you please advise. i am losing a lot of sleep over this!

  2. Sorry to hear that… Only things I can think of:

    1. Is your Spice a Mobilicity-branded handset, like mine?
    2. Did you download z4root from xda-developers.com?

    It may be that a SIM unlock is also required, but I didn’t think so. If you haven’t already I’d suggest paying a visiting to the HowardForums; I can’t really offer any other advice, as z4root worked flawlessly for me.

  3. hi.
    thanks for the reply.

    well i jus got the phone from mobolicity and dl the file form xda-developers.com.
    i am transfering my phone number from rogers to mobolicity at the moment. so my rogers phone and sim is still active a the moment, but so is my mobolicity sim card. I think they still have to settle the cancelation with rogers. Can this be a factor? At the moment i can make out-going calls on my spice, but i still receive calls on my rogers phone… Does this make sense??? Does the SIM card affect rooting?

  4. Well for now i’ll just wait until my rogers account closes and my xt300 is full operational (ie receiving calls aswell as making them). At that point i will re-try to install and run z4root1.3.0. I will keep you informed.

    Thanks.

  5. xt300 (motorola spice) still will not root. It trys to run z4root1.3.0 but then exits the program by itself and nothing happens!
    is my phone a lemon?
    everything else works fine…

  6. Wow … I’m honoured that you’d mention me. I’m glad I could be helpful in some small way. Enjoy and enjoy the phone.

    BTW an update was released and I’m attempting to install it now, but it seems not to work.

  7. I attempted to install as well, it just stops, tried to run a few different apps that require the root and it says my phone is not rooted.

  8. I have the same problem as Omar, z4root just stops halfway and exits on it’s own. Titanium backup will tell you that root access has not been acquired yet.

    Mobilicity spice, unlocked, z4root downloaded using link on the current webpage…

  9. I also got Mobilicity’s Motorola Spice less than a week ago. z4root also didn’t work and app just shuts down. I tried universal androot also didnt work. flashback is driving me crazy!

  10. Ok I have been trying to Root my motorola spice for the past 2 weeks and i have finally done it!!!!

    i bought my spice recently and for some reason z4root does not work on the newer released Spice. Too bad. However, SuperOneClick will work!! I just did it 2 minutes ago with SuperOneClickv1.6.5

    follow the instructions here

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?p=11391465#post11391465

    U have to install new drivers for the phone so the phone is functional with ur computer (this is needed both for superclick and terminal shell). I installed the driver that is compatible with a 32 bit system.

    Once the spice and the computer are now fully sync’d superclick will work. It will root the phone.

    When the phone finally rooted i used the terminal shell method the remove Spicy.apk

    i dunno if the phone runs faster as i have not tested it as yet, but i see that flashback is off my menu and Superuser is now on!

  11. Hi Andrew,
    I just check the phone unlock website and I didn’t find the SPICE model in the support list, can it be unlock via the website without go to the store in person?
    Thanks

  12. Hi sorry new to android planing to root but was wondering if you uninstalled the spicy.apk after or pre installing loader just got the motorola spice in Canada on mobilicity and have been a iOS user for years. If anyone could clear this up for me that would be great.

    Thanks

  13. I bought my Spice (aka XT300) unlock code for $9 CAD ($5 EUR) from sim-unlock.net. Got the unlock code 1.2 hours after making the payment. Just thought I’d share with you. I also have an unbranded SBF file from China (it has both English and Simplified Chinese languages installed). If you are interested, please let me know and I can post it.

  14. Interesting… I thought the Spice was made in South America, and I wasn’t aware of any Chinese carriers selling it.

    I must confess that I don’t even know what software shops use for unlocking — why don’t you start with that?

  15. If none of the above methods work try to use SuperOneClick v1.7 its the one that work on my phone

  16. Guys, I managed to root my Spice using z4root 1.3.0. Seems like a random issue with not being able to root it or depends on the firmware version.. ?

  17. ….I sh@t you not…four days of losing sleep and suicidal tendencies, trying to root this piece of…Spice. I indeed LIKE this phone, which is why it’s been so horrifying to be so completely unable to root, using ANY method; it’s physical beauty does not justify the freezing, inability to make/send calls/texts, and lagzilla. And why no ‘charge only’ USB function!?! I’d seriously thought THAT was what was preventing SOC from rooting! You can either mount the SD card (specified no-no with SOC), or be trapped in that craptacular/useless MotoPhonePortal circle of Hell. I swear, I’ve tried task-killing that thing in Win7 several times; it just reappears within seconds!

    Then, just sort of as an aside, I’d half-realized that I didn’t need my WiFi enabled, using SuperOneClick, as it was already USB’d to the iMac…..took a few tries (false positives, even…claiming it was rooted when it was, in fact, NOT, etc.), but now she finally IS!! I have confirmation through a few apps, phew! I’d noticed nearly immediately that something was different during the root process, when it wasn’t lagging anymore, and was getting past the ‘psneuter enabled’ (or whatever it says). It does indeed only take a minute or so…not the hour-long hang before finally giving up….argh…or the program ‘not responding’ itself, and giving up FOR you.

    So. I can suggest some things, because believe me, I’ve BEEN there. And I mean, I’ve done NOTHING else in four days but try/cry, in between frantic Google searches, ha. Obsessed, much? *ahem*

    First, use an older version of SuperOneClick; I’ve got 1.7, and 1.9.1. It was the former that finally worked. I’d read somewhere that it was ‘rageinthecage’ that worked for someone else, but I’d forgotten to change it, and ‘psneuter’ indeed came through. (you can try everything, though; root, shell-root, both avenues of rooting…plus, if it hangs too long, turning USB debugging on and off as you must; something may just ‘give’ for you)

    Also, thanks to this fine blog and the suggested Howard Forums (then xda-developers, from there–all AWESOME, by the way, and extremely helpful), I stumbled across a USB driver link mid-way through the 4,000+ posts on this very subject…a MotoDev driver for 64-bit Win7; I’d installed this just before disabling WiFi (as I understand, the WiFi is likely what causes several issues with this phone); I’d gotten the ‘false positives’ with the new driver, before disabling the WiFi….coincidence, maybe, but something to consider; even the false positives were exciting for me after seeing the same result 100 times… I still could not get z4root to work, however, though I’d only tried once after disabling WiFi….it always did the same thing; dies 15 seconds into ‘acquiring root shell’. Poof. Over. Then, ‘force quit’ if you try to open it up again. I could not get it to install when downloading through the phone/WiFi, either; had to side-load from my rig (thank you, Sideload Wonder Machine!) in order to get it on the phone. All of these things lead me to believe that it MAY indeed have something to do with all the issues I’ve had….but again, coincidences could possibly abound here. πŸ˜‰

    I’ve got the ‘newer’ version of this phone (bought in February, I think), which is possibly where some of the problem lies…the updated build/firmware. It’s almost like they’d patched the root capabilities, rather than ANY of the user issues! Grr.

    So. Here’s the post that finally got me going. And disable your WiFi, just in case…

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?p=11391465#post11391465

    Thank you again, for this post, and for pointing me (eventually) to the right spot. I’d not even considered the possibility of an update issue, until looking at the dates of peoples’ posts…that and the WiFi maybe being the culprit, after reading AllanVS on Howard Forums, haha. A LOT of trial and error, but I’ll get some sleep tonight! No more woman possessed, and my boyfriend no longer feels like a sh@t for buying me this phone, haha…eek. πŸ˜‰

  18. ^ Thank you!!

    I tried just about everything I had read about rooting this phone and it finally worked with wireless turned off. The only difference from the above advice is that I used the “rageagainstthecage” method, starting with USB debugging off. I turned USB debugging back on once the process appeared to be stalling and it immediately proceeded to root the phone (which was purchased in May from NCIX, unlocked, and then activated with Wind). I can’t believe how much more responsive the phone is without Flashback installed. WTF was Motorola thinking?

  19. Success with rooting phone! The Url hopefully attached to my name shoould help you as it helped me. If not the url is http://theunlockr.com/2010/10/11/how-to-root-your-android-phone-superoneclick-method/ now on june 26th 2011 i took the plunge and bought the mobilicity’s moto spice, tried for a week straight to root it, no luck. Then i found the mentioned site (seeing as z4root did NOT work). The Instructions are as follows (on how i did it):
    ~Go the the site, and click the link to download the program, make sure you have .NET V2.0 (or higher) installed (i have .NET V3.0)
    ~If your antivirus program says it is a trojan, this is a flase positive as virus checking programs will say anything you download that makes changes to a OS is viral
    ~unzip
    ~make sure that ‘usb debugging’ is selected in applications and development
    ~download and install pdanet or easytether this will have the usb drivers needed
    ~plug phones usb cord into phone and computer, let the drivers install
    ~go to where you unzipped superonclick and run, making sure ‘PSNEUTER’ is the exploit
    ~For most this SHOULD run it’s self all the way to the end, IF NOT and appears to hang then you need to do what i did:
    *unplug the usb cord, the rooting program continues to work, then quickly plug the usb cord back into the computer
    *You should see something that says “reading OS properties” this is where you need to turn “usb degugging” back on.
    *you will get a pop up saying it could not read the state, that is fine. seeing as my version was 2.1 i know i was about the requirement πŸ˜€
    *the program will finish
    *unplug your usb cord, reboot the phone
    ~TADA! you are rooted!
    -Side note:-
    I read alot of androids being able to be rooted and go, but dome reason on the android this is not the case πŸ™

    hope this helps

  20. The comments here saved me so much time so that only took me almost one full day to finally root my Spice. Particularly the particular details from omar: “If z4root does not work for you…”

    Superoneclick V2 would not work but V1.7 finally did with PSNEUTER checked.

    This
    is what I finally followed for success, but it makes no mention of all the installing of 2.The Java SE developers kit.

    3.The Android SDK developers kit. that is supposed to be a requirement before you can actually run Superoneclick (1 click indeed????) according to this.

    I did all this first, so I have no idea whether it was necessary or not. Unlocking was not since I never did that.

    Anyways I was so happy that it finally worked that I immediately followed the request from Superoneclick to provide a donation. Thanks for making my life easier!

  21. Hello Andrew. Thank you for all tof his wonderful information. I tried going to Ming Wireless to unlock my Spice and they told me that I cannot unlock it to root then tether my phone. They claimed I need a different kind ofunlocking. If you know what they meant by that can you clarify it for me?

  22. Rooting and unlocking are two different things.

    Ming Wireless can unlock the cellular radio so that you can use your Spice on other networks (like WIND). Rooting is you taking control of the software on your phone.

    Both are exclusive — that is, you don’t have to do one to do the other.

    Hope that helps.

  23. Hello! I have the Motorola Spice that has android v.2.1 and I am with mobilicity. I have a macbook pro, which seems to be a bad lifestyle choice since every kind of rooting software available doesn’t like to work on my computer and my device isn’t recognized when it’s connected via USB. Z4root didn’t work, surprise surprise, just like everyone else who’s with mobilicity it seems. I have the feeling I could get G2x Root to work if my damn computer just realized that it had a phone plugged into it. And of course the motorola software designed to make macs recognize their phones isn’t designed for the spice. Why did they make this phone if nothing works for it?

    Anywho. We all seem to have similar problems and it seems like, for many, they’ve yet to be resolved. Any help with the whole USB connection and non-recognizing issue would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  24. You won’t be able to do much via a USB connection to your Mac since the Spice’s bootloader is locked.

    When you say “G2X root” are you talking about this? It’s a completely different handset running a completely different version of Android — so no, that won’t work either.

  25. After much frustration, I’ll recount my path to success for those who follow:

    – Installed Motorola USB drivers
    I used the terrible app that Moto wants you to install to get the drivers but I’m sure that they’re floating around somewhere
    – Installed, Ran SuperOneClick 1.7
    Z4root 1.3 and SuperOneClick 2.1.1 never worked
    – [Following Mike’s advice] Selected rageagainstthecage mode, started rooting, and, every time the process would hang (waiting for device), unselected and reselected the “USB Debugging” option in Development Options
    – Reboot device
    – Loaded Terminal, executed su

    Voila.

  26. Andrew … thanks for this. I wanted to speed up my Spice, and you gave me the keys to the kingdom!

    One note from a n00b to others: Sideloading simply means loading an application without using the Android Market.

    To sideload, I didn’t fiddle with the micro SD card. Instead I
    (1) downloaded the z4root.apk on my PC,
    (2) sent the .apk file to a Gmail account I access on my phone,
    (3) opened the email on the phone
    (4) opened/previewed the attacked .apk file
    (5) followed the screen instructions.

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