Category Archives: smartphones

Smartphones #1: two bricks in one day

The beginning of the series about smartphones that I experiment on and try to run postmarketOS.

auchan-s6s5in3g:

As it turn out I was able to flash and run recovery made for the different phone with the same SoC, bricking Android at the same time :/. There’s no video but adb works and that alone was enough to make a backup from which I was able to retrieve dts file(see glossary). That file may simplify porting process immensely. Why? With newer Linux kernels (including newest one) I may be able to use generic kernel made for the SoC brand used in this phone (Spreadtrum) and combine it with the dts file to get kernel boot on this device.

sony-taoshan:

This will make a fine addition to my collection, there’s an LineageOS kernel for it which, in theory, should allow for easy porting pmos. Oh naive me. After flashing pmos even kernel didn’t work so I thought about making backup of the whole phone before I hardbrick it, but I needed custom recovery for this. Sadly, as most phones have separate boot and recovery partitions this one does not >:(. I can’t just flash recovery since it would overwrite existing kernel, preventing currently installed system from booting. For each system/kernel I’d have to pack files for recovery mode which would be annoying, so for now I have phone with no working system on it, without backup, waiting for influx of my patience.

glossary:

DTS is a compiled DTB file, also known as  Device tree, that file contains information about all components of the device, such as CPU, GPU, memory, screen, etc. It allows to compile one generic kernel which then reads DTS file and activates needed peripherals instead of compiling specialized kernel for each phone.

fastboot – special mode in smartphones which allows for installation of new firmware, replacing whole partition instead of single files

recovery – special mode in smartphones which allows for installation of new firmware, or updating it without reflashing everything; resetting phone to factory default or making backups