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.
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.
Be advised, some of the instructions below are now outdated due to significant changes to the Android Wear firmware and app since the Lollipop update.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.
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.
Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 owners, your Android 4.4.3 OTAs have finally begun, and the zip urls have been captured. A bit later than some others, but all things considered, waiting for an Android update for an extra day or two hasn't killed anyone.
If you're not familiar with the manual installation process, it's easy - just follow the steps in our guide for an earlier update, and you'll be set up with Android 4.4.3 in no time. You don't need root, custom recoveries, or bootloader unlocks to get this done.
The Android 4.4.3 rollout is in full swing, with the 2013 Wi-Fi Nexus 7 getting its OTA early this morning and a bunch of flavors of GPE devices and various Motos receiving theirs just a few hours ago. Nexus 5 owners with locked bootloaders even started feeling a bit snubbed waiting for their OTA to arrive, but they can now breathe with ease - not only has the OTA indeed begun, but we have the download link and manual flashing instructions right here.
Update: In case you're wondering, Sprint says the Nexus 5 4.4.3 OTA is rolling out in batches until 6/9/14, meaning it should be under a week until it's out for everyone via natural means.
Yesterday was a relatively big day for Android, at least compared to our regularly scheduled programming - Google sent us a gift in the form of the 4.4.3 update, available immediately via factory images and in AOSP. The problem with factory images, however, is that they require an unlocked bootloader to flash, so many of you opt in to wait for the respective OTAs.
The first such OTA has just arrived - it's for the 2013 Nexus 7 Wi-Fi (not for LTE yet), also known as Razor.
Note: You have to be on Android 4.4.2 (KOT49H) for this OTA to succeed.
As a follow up to our recent PSA on bootloader quirks with GPE devices, we thought it would be a good idea to shed some light on a bootloader anomaly which affects both Nexus and GPE devices. Recently, there have been changes to the way unlocking happens behind the scenes. These changes can result in a device that infinitely boots into recovery.
Traditionally, when you decide to unlock and flash a custom recovery, the procedure goes something like this:
You type "fastboot oem unlock" from the command line.
A warning appears on your device's screen informing you that you're about to void your warranty by proceeding with the unlock.
After upgrading my Galaxy Nexus (GSM) to Jelly Bean last night (I know, I know, I'm a few days late), I unlocked its bootloader (the usual fastboot oem unlock) and commenced rooting, which I thought would only take a minute or two. However, after almost 2 hours of pushing, flashing, rebooting, and trying no less than 5 different root methods, I still didn't have root. Something must have changed under the hood, and no root method I was trying was working (even PaulOBrien's SuperBoot).
Finally, I managed to find a solution that worked, and the familiar root permission prompt finally popped up.
After Koush tantalized users with a video showing off the first official touch-based ClockworkMod Recovery interface two days ago, CWM has taken to Google+ and posted download links for the official beta, making CWM Touch Recovery available to Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S users.