If you want to make your Android phone work harder, there's only one way to go: root. Verizon's latest phone, the Samsung Stratosphere, has been rooted by some industrious modders. While the root method isn't the easiest in the world, but it should be easy enough for most advanced Android users. For the record, the Stratosphere was only on the market for a little under two weeks before a root method was discovered.
The Stratosphere is essentially the same hardware as the Samsung Epic 4G, with a little elbow grease to move it over to Verizon's LTE network and update the software to sweet, sweet Gingerbread. As far as hardware goes it's strictly middle of the road, but for the moment it's the first and only QWERTY slider phone to take advantage of Verizon's LTE network. Interestingly, it seems to be the first Verizon LTE phone to use a Mini-SIM card, saving some small but valuable space in the phone's interior.
The phone is basically on-par with the original Galaxy S, plus some extra bulk to accommodate a full keyboard. Android Community got some hands-on time with the phone last week, and a review is coming shortly. Would-be modders should know that Samsung releases the source code for its kernels on a regular basis, so now that root has been achieved, full-fledged custom ROMs won't be far behind.