If you've spent any time in Google's ecosystem of hardware and software, you're no stranger to impatiently waiting to receive a firmware update. Hey, we've all been there. While we know the ADT-1 is set to receive an OTA to Android 5.0, it seems Google is still holding back a full rollout despite the very small number of units in circulation. If you don't feel like waiting for your number to come up, it's possible to sideload the update manually onto your ADT-1 and take advantage of everything it has to offer.

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Instructions

Manually updating the ADT-1 is a lot like sideloading any official update, but there are a couple of details that aren't exactly intuitive. Here are the steps:

  1. Download the update zip from Google (link).
  2. Boot your ADT-1 into Recovery mode. This can be done in two different ways:
    • Hold down the button on the back while powering on the ADT-1. This will load up the bootloader. Now short-press the button until you've selected the Recovery kernel option, then long-press the button to activate it.
    • Or, enable adb debugging on the ADT-1 through developer options and run this command from a terminal: 'adb reboot recovery'
  3. Once you're in Recovery mode, you'll see the Android maintenance logo. Long-press the button for a couple of seconds to reveal the recovery menu.
  4. Short-press the button until you've selected the option to apply an update from ADB. Long-press to select it.
  5. Enter this command from a terminal: adb sideload 92b93576d67d8e41850996813de09757666c347a.signed-molly-LPX13D-from-LPW39.92b93576.zip
  6. Wait for the update to finish. It takes a few minutes.

Changes

Right out of the gate, this update fixes the virtually self-destructive heat issues that every ADT-1 user has experienced. The set-top box now idles at a degree or two above room temperature instead of nearly melting its plastic enclosure. This is reason enough to upgrade right away.

There aren't a lot of particularly shocking changes to the interface – it's mostly the same stuff you've already seen with a few tweaks here and there. Most of the screenshots are organized with the older version on the left and the new version on the right.

Home Screen

The icon for Notifications has been removed, and with it seemingly any way to get notifications on Android TV. Perhaps they are redirected to a phone or tablet, or maybe the icon only reappears when there's something to look at. The cards have also lost the sharp corners in favor of slightly rounded edges.

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Left: old, Right: new

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Left: old, Right: new

Play Store

Very little has changed in the Play Store visually except that the cards are ever so slightly smaller, allowing a little more content to fit on the screen. At the bottom, there are two new options to control how long purchases can be made after they've been authorized by the account owner and a setting for maturity level.

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Left: old, Right: new

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Left: New Icons, Center: Payment Authorization Timeout, Right: Maturity Level

Movies

Movies went through basically the same visual tweaks as the Play Store, but that's about it.

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Left: old, Right: new

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Left: old, Right: new

Play Games

The Games app seems to have only changed in one way: the block of player info has been removed from the top left side of the screen. That information now resides in a card on the far left of the list. Google also added the Inbox for handling multiplayer matches, gifts, and quests; but it seems to be inaccessible, perhaps because I don't have anything in there.

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Left: old, Right: new

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Left: player card, Right: new Games Inbox

Settings Screen

The tiles and icons have undergone a few minor tweaks, making everything a tiny bit brighter, bolder, and more colorful – but only barely. The screen looks nicer than before, but it's still a drab settings screen.

Strangely, the settings for Ethernet and Display have vanished. This means we've also lost the options for overscan calibration and setting a live wallpaper (not that there were any available to use). Without the Display section, Daydream has been promoted to the main row of settings. There have also been a few items at the end of the top row that have moved into the About screen, but we'll get to that in a bit.

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Left: old, Right: new

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Left: old, Right: new

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Left: old Display screen, Right: new Settings screen with Daydream

Individual Settings

Security has been renamed to "Security & Restrictions," and gained a toggle for Restricted Profile.

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Left: old, Right: new

The About screen now displays the device serial number and offers settings for any ads that can be displayed. The System Update tool has also been moved to this screen from the main settings.

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old

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new

There may be some more changes I missed, but this isn't a particularly major update. A resolution to the overheating issue is easily the most important item on the list, and it's a compelling reason to install the update manually if Google hasn't already released it to your own ADT-1. That's all we have right now, but keep your eyes open for some potential teardowns.

Thanks, Dave!