During the I/O 2016 Keynote presentation, and again at the October 4th Pixel announcement, Google made brief references to newly added support for seamless updates in Nougat. To make this work, many changes had to be made to the structure of Android and its assorted system partitions. As a result, there have also been some changes to the fastboot utility many of us use when new factory images become available. This post covers a few of the technical details and also demonstrates some of the ways to use the new features.
How it works
Seamless updates are accomplished by creating a second set of logical partitions in device storage. Read More
Security has been a hot topic on Android for many years, particularly as smartphones take on increasingly significant roles both at home and at work. A single device acts as your main form of communication, contains personal photos and confidential documents, and may even have access to your finances. Google and other companies have made significant investments in time and money to ensure these devices are very hard to break into. However, a vulnerability was recently discovered in some phones that compromises important security measures and opens devices up to various types of attacks. The worst part is that it was created intentionally by a manufacturing partner contracted to build the phones, and the OEMs that designed the phone had no idea. Read More
Android 6.0 started rolling out to the OnePlus One early last month. It came in the form of Cyanogen OS 13.
The update took its time rolling out. Then OnePlus pushed out a bump. Most users should have received both by now. Read More
If you're into rooting these days, there's a good chance you've at least tried out FlashFire by well-known SuperSU developer Chainfire. It's one of the friendliest tools to use for flashing firmware images and mods, and it can even install official OTAs while keeping root intact. Today, Chainfire is releasing a new version of FlashFire with a pair of new features that will make it even more powerful: it can now create fastboot-flashable backups and there's a new option to preserve the existing recovery after installing OTAs and ZIPs.
FlashFire has long had the ability to create backups, but they could only be restored through a custom recovery or from FlashFire itself. Read More
If I were to say that I'm going to flash a new system image to your Nexus phone without attaching a USB cable, you might think I'm a little crazy. Well, I could be a little crazy, but that thing about the cable is definitely coming true in the very near future. Google has added networking support to the fastboot tool. When paired with a phone with a supported bootloader, it will be possible to perform all of the usual fastboot commands wirelessly.
In a recent commit to AOSP, support for the TCP protocol was added to fastboot. The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is one of the basic building blocks of communication on the Internet, used for reliable transmission of data from one point to another. Read More
By now most orders for the Nexus 6P have been delivered, or at least getting close. If you haven't tried unlocking the bootloader yet, it might come as a surprise that the 'fastboot oem unlock' command no longer works. Attempting to use it with the Nexus 6P fails with a message that it is an unknown instruction. Don't worry, this doesn't have anything to do with drivers, and it isn't a fluke. Google had Huawei replace the oem command in the Nexus 6P bootloader with the new flashing command. Here's what it will look like:
fastboot flashing unlock
fastboot flashing lock
fastboot flashing unlock_critical
fastboot flashing lock_critical
fastboot flashing get_unlock_ability
There are two levels of unlocking: normal and critical. Read More
Earlier this week the super-skinny Dell Venue 8 7840 was given its Android 5.1 update. It looks like the firmware developers left in a goodie for power users: the new "OEM Unlocking" option in the Developer Options menu, first noticed on the latest round of Nexus devices when Lollipop 5.1 was going out earlier this year. According to an Android Police tipster and multiple posts on the XDA-Developers forum, this allows end users to easily unlock the bootloader of the tablet, something that wasn't a simple process before.
To unlock the bootloader, you just need to go through the familiar steps that are shared across most Nexus and "developer" devices: install Fastboot on a PC, make sure you've got the right drivers, connect the device, reboot into fastboot mode, and execute the command "fastboot OEM unlock." The only difference is the addition of the prerequisite manual switch in the Developer Options menu when Android is booted. Read More
One of the tools any good flashaholic should be familiar with is fastboot. Like ADB, the help screen for fastboot received some changes with the preview release of Android M. The reboot command now offers a friendlier syntax to reach the bootloader, and there is a new set of "flashing" commands designed to prevent write operations from occurring when they aren't desired. There's also a fix for the "missing system.img" error that some people experienced after trying to use the flash-all script to install factory images.
Perhaps the most welcome change is the smallest. Fastboot's reboot command now accepts an optional bootloader parameter that can restart the device and immediately launch back into the bootloader screen. Read More
Be advised, some of the instructions below are now outdated due to significant changes to the Android Wear firmware and app since the Lollipop update. Most of these activities, like taking screenshots manually, enabling debugging, and even unlocking the bootloader will work with only minor modifications to the steps. However, the rooting steps below can not be expected to work any longer.
You saw Android Wear a couple of months ago when Google unveiled the SDK and both LG and Motorola presented the first promotional pictures. Then you watched the Google I/O keynote that officially launched the LG G Watch and Samsung's surprise addition of the Gear Live. Read More
While the majority of Nexus and GPE devices have received their Android 4.4.3 OTAs relatively quickly, the rollout for certain other devices has certainly been... unusual. We still haven't heard anything about the 2013 Nexus 7 LTE, the LG G Pad 8.3 GPE, or the Moto G GPE, and until today, the OTA for the 2012 Nexus 7 Wi-Fi (I've been waiting for it to post both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi+3G links together).
As they say, better late than never, but I'm sure owners of the abovementioned phones and tablets are not thrilled, especially those with Nexus 7s LTE that have received neither factory images nor OTAs. Read More