Rooting The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7

Updating the T-Mobile Galaxy Tab 7 isn't as complicated as you might think. BYTE's David Chernicoff shows us how.

Now I was ready to do a complete wipe of the Tab back to factory defaults. It's easy to do: You simply open Settings-->Privacy and choose Factory Data Reset. This does what is called a hard reset on the device. But in my research I had found that the Android community had already done the work necessary to bring Android 2.3.6 to the T-Mobile version of the Galaxy Tab, both in the form of the stock Samsung ROM, and custom ROMs based on the 2.3.6 Samsung release. In fact, the development for Android 2.3.6 was stable and pretty solid, with current additions to the various custom ROMs and kernels being primarily maintenance tweaks, as the bulk of the current development effort is looking at putting Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) on the original Galaxy Tab 7.

Much of discussion on the Galaxy Tab forum on the XDA Developers Forum led me to settle on the custom kernel and ROM developed by Team Overcome. They developed a custom kernel and a custom implementation of the Samsung Gingerbread codebase that seemed stable and feature rich. Their website contains a complete guide to installing their kernel and custom ROM on the Galaxy Tab and, from my perspective, the fact that they make special note of the T-Mobile version gave me an added feeling of security. Development history and user discussions of potential issues with this ROM can be found here.

Team Overcome's directions include a how-to on first upgrading your Froyo Tab to the current Gingerbread implementation. If you like, you could actually stop at that point and treat the T-Mobile Tab as if it had gotten an official Samsung update. For those like me who prefer to go a bit further, the instructions are there to go from the stock Android 2.3.6 ROM to Team Overcome's custom implementation. All of the files and downloads necessary to complete the update to Android 2.3.6 or Team Overcome's custom ROM are linked in the directions. The entire process should take less than an hour, including backup, for a technically comfortable user.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7's About page, post kernel and ROM upgrade.

As you can see in the image above, my Tab is now running both Team Overcome's custom kernel and ROM with version 2.3.6 on Android. It's up-to-date with the latest release of Gingerbread, now behaves like our other Gingerbread-based Android phones and tablets, and is running faster than it did with the original Samsung configuration. It was about an hour's worth of work to install Titanium Backup Pro from the Android Market, then reinstall all of the backed-up apps I wanted on the tablet. I did not reinstall applications that my wife had decided she was no longer using, which meant that only 50 or so of the 100 apps previously on the tablet needed to be restored.

Since the update, she has been using the newly resurrected Tab with no problems whatsoever.

The upgraded Galaxy Tab 7's main Home Screen