n00b question time...so I've been seeing a lot of references to "rooting" and "unrooting" an Android smartphone...so whats the purpose? is this like jailbreaking or something different? And when would it be recommened and discouraged... thanks!
Rooting allows you complete access to your phone, for better or for worse.
Unrooting reverses the process. Usually rooting is done through an exploit, giving the user access to all file systems within androids os. With this you can flash new radios, recoveries, ROMs, ovwrclock/underclock (under volt), themes and the like.
Its very important that you fully research before doing it. Most devices can be rooted safely and somewhat easily. There is ALWAYS a chance you could brick.