Google encourages Android tinkerers with standalone downloads of ADB, Fastboot

You don't have to download the giant Android SDK anymore just to root your phone.

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Most Android users know that one of its greatest features is the ability to root your phone or flash the ROM to tinker with features, overclock the chip or just try out a different version of the OS. However, getting started has never been quick or easy, requiring a massive download of the Android SDK just to access the tools you need.

Now, Google is making it a little easier for tinkerers. In a Google+ blog post, software engineer Elliott Hughes has posted downloads for Android Debug Bridge (ADB) and Fastboot, pulling out the two important tools from Android Studio development environment and saving curious users over a gig of download time. The bundle—which is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux—clocks in at around 3.7MB, a far cry from the 1.6GB SDK.

For the uninitiated, ADB is a command line tool used to communicate with Android phones connected to a computer via USB, while Fastboot sends commands to the bootloader to let you modify your phone’s firmware. However, while Google might have made it easier to download these tools, you still need to exercise an abundance of caution when delving into the guts of your Android phone, lest you end up with a pretty and expensive paperweight.

The impact on you at home: Most Android diehards likely have these tools installed on their computers already, but newcomers will be able to quickly dive in without navigating a giant download. And for fans who thought Google was on a path to shutting down Android tinkering, this should ease their minds. 

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