lauantai 6. toukokuuta 2017

Charge other devices with your Android phone

Lets say your friend's Android phone is out of charge. Did you know it's possible to lend some battery voltage to other Android phones? Yes, it can be done. Read on!
  • Next, find out if your Android phone supports OTG (On The Go). Download and install USB OTG Checker from Play Store. Check your phone to see if USB OTG support exists.
  • After the above steps it's time to connect your phone with another phone. Use the USB OTG -cable and your normal USB charging cable. Thumbs up your friend's phone will be charged! And hey, not only phone-phone can be connected but phone-other devices as well (cameras etc).
I made a quick test with two phones; Samsung Galaxy S4 and Samsung Galaxy S (yes, an ancient phone from year 2010 running Android 4.4). And yes! It works! Galaxy S4 is acting as a charger for Galaxy S!

Charging going on!

Samsung Galaxy S receiving extra power!

USB OTG Checker
user interface

perjantai 17. maaliskuuta 2017

How to turn a year-2004-PC with Windows XP into a modern Linux computer

Yesterday I received a donation; a Fujitsu-Siemens laptop from year 2004 with the following specs:
  • 512 MB of RAM
  • 60 GB harddisk
  • 1.6 GHz Pentium M
  • Windows XP on harddisk
There are many lightweight Linux distributions to choose from. Off I went and swiped out Windows XP with something lighter in mind:
  1. Lubuntu didn't fit in since it requires PAE.
  2. Debian Linux was also out of the question - it is way too fat operating system nowadays - at least for my tiny PC!
  3. After those two there were not that many candidates left. Thank heavens Tiny Core Linux made my day! It loads super-fast, offers a simple yet usable desktop and the latest software (for example Firefox- and Chromium-browsers).
I'm testing Fujitsu-Siemens at the moment. Wifi (IPW2200) is built-in and supported by Tiny Core Linux. Localized keyboard is not yet configured but there are instructions available.

Edit: turns out one can install Puppy Linux on harddisk. I will try it next!

Desktop is simple yer usable

lauantai 11. maaliskuuta 2017

Turn your PC into a Chromebook - three distributions to choose from

If you have a spare PC and would like to turn it into a Chromebook you have three differerent flavours to choose from. Let's see what these OSes have to offer.
  1. Cloudready of Neverware is available for free for individual users. You can choose between 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Bear in mind not all PCs are supported. You can find the list of certified models here. Why would you choose Cloudready? There is a company behind the the distro so updates can be expected to happen. Download here:
  2. FlintOS is aimed at RaspberryPi 3 and PC. At it's early stages FlintOS is not ready for all PC users just yet. However the project is alive and growing rapidly. So a mature version for PC might show up any time soon. If you are familiar with Raspberry Pi 3 you might want to run FlintOS on both Raspi and PC. Download here: .
  3. Last but not least there is Arnold The Bat's ChromiumOS. Arnold has been offering his version of ChromiumOS long before Cloudready and FlintOS showed up. When nothing works try ChromiumOS. My 10 years old mini laptop accepted Arnold's version while rejecting Cloudready and FlintOS. Download here: .
It's pretty easy to download and install ChromiumOS (open source version of ChromeOS) on PC. In addition there are three different alternatives to choose from. So there is no need to buy a Chromebook but to pick up a version of ChromiumOS that suits you and start to play!

Acer Aspire One ZG5 running
Arnold the Bat's ChromiumOS

perjantai 13. tammikuuta 2017

Flint OS turns RaspberryPi 3 into a Chromebox!

Chromeboxes/Chromebooks are very easy-to-use computers. The only app you need to know is web browser. Eventhough Chromeboxes/Chromebooks are relatively cheap devices there is an even more inexpensive option available!

With RaspberryPi 3 SBC (Single Board Computer) and Flint OS you can run a Chromebox of your own. A Raspi can be purchased nowadays almost everywhere on this planet. Adafruit is selling Raspi 3 for 40 $.

All you need to do is to download the image of Flint OS and burn it on an at least class 10 SD card (make sure your card is fast enough!). Fire up your Raspi, login and start browsing the web!

Too good to be true? Well, you can't expect Flint OS and Raspi 3 to run at the same speed as your laptop or desktop computer. In addition, Flint OS has so far only reached the version number 0.2. Flint OS on Raspi 3 is very usable but not for all of us just yet. However Flint OS will mature in near future. So you'd better keep your eye on Flint OS!

Edit: A new and more stable version 0.2.1 “Beetle” was released in February 11th!

Flint OS on RaspberryPi 3

keskiviikko 11. tammikuuta 2017

New version of Raspbian is out (January 11th 2017)!

Raspbian is based on Debian Linux and runs on Raspperry Pi. A new version of Raspbian is out (January 11th 2017)! You can download Raspbian:

Either via web site:

Or via torrent network:

keskiviikko 4. tammikuuta 2017

How to install Pixel Desktop on hard disk

What is Pixel Desktop?

Pixel Desktop is the default GUI of Raspbian operating system made for Raspberry Pi. Recently Pixel Desktop was released for x86 platform. This means you can run the same desktop on your PC as on Raspberry Pi.

At the moment only Live image of Pixel Desktop is available for x86. You can boot up PC from USB stick but not install Pixel Desktop on your hard disk - officially. However, there is a work-around; Refracta Tools makes it possible for anyone to install Pixel Desktop on hard disk.

The installation on hard disk - take the following steps
  • Next, burn the image on a USB stick (2 GB stick is big enough). Use your favourite app to do that. There are many apps to choose from; Win32DiskImager for Windows, command dd for Linux etc. 
  • Finally, boot up your PC from Live USB stick. Once the graphical user interface is up and running look for System Tools -> Refracta Installer (see the picture below). You need to create and choose at least one partition for Pixel Desktop on hard disk. A wizard helps you and launches an app for partitioning. In the end of install you'll be asked to type in passwords for Pixel Desktop.


After setup you can run (in Terminal-app) sudo apt-get update and sudo apt-get upgrade to get the latest updates and to see if your PC is connected to the Internet.

For all you non-English-keyboard-users: different keyboard layouts are there for you to pick up. Browse Preferences -> Mouse and keyboard settings -> Keyboard tab -> Keyboard Layout button.

What if Refracta Tools doesn't show up? This happened to me. An old Acer ZG5 mini laptop just could not make it. I guess Intel Atom 1,6 GHz with 1 GB of RAM was not enough? No Refracta Tools anywhere eventhough I was able to boot up Acer from USB stick. Well, Asus EeePC 1025C made my day and was willing to receive Pixel Desktop and is now my number one laptop!

What if wifi doesn't work etc.? This, too, can happen. Bear in mind Pixel Desktop is there only helping you with your everyday tasks. It's Debian Linux under the surface that takes care of for example drivers. Off you go and look for help on the internet if your hardware fails. There are many Debian-concentrated discussion forums available.

An official installer of Pixel Desktop is arriving later this year (2017). Before that Refracta Tools and a derived version from Exton Linux help you to perform hard disk setup of Pixel Desktop.

Refracta Installer helps you to setup
Pixel Desktop on your hard disk

Asus EeePC 1025C running Pixel Desktop
from hard disk - no USB stick needed

lauantai 31. joulukuuta 2016

How to install LineageOS (the successor of CyanogenMod) on OnePlusOne

Since CyanogenMod is not out there anymore I decided to move on to LineageOS - the successor of CyanogenMod. So now my OnePlusOne (aka OPO) is running the latest nightly version of LineageOS. If you ever flashed your phone chances are you'll be using a re-branded OS in no time. However keep in mind you do all modifications AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Flash the latest TWRP
  • Download the latest TWRP for OnePlus One
  • Attach your phone to your Linux computer
  • Shut down your OPO
  • Hold down Power + VolumeUp
    • Now you are in Fastboot Mode
  • As root type in the following commands:
    • fastboot devices
      • Check if your device is attached and ready
    • fastboot oem unlock
      • Unlock your device
    • fastboot flash recovery twrp-x.x.x-x-bacon.img
      • This flashes TWRP on your OPO
Flash LineageOS 14.1 and Gapps
  • In your Linux computer:
  • In your OPO:
    • Hold down Power + VolumeDown to enter TWRP
      • As soon as OnePlus One log appears release fingers
      • Swipe to allow modifications
    • Choose Swipe and after that Swipe to Factory Reset
    • Go back
    • Choose Advanced
    • Choose ADB Sideload
      • Check Wipe Dalvik Cache
      • Check Wipe Cache
      • Swipe to Start Sideload
  • In your Linux computer:
    • Type in the following commands as root:
      • adb sideload 
      • Wait until flashed
      • In OPO: Choose ADB Sideload again
      • In linux: adb sideload
      • Thumbs up, wait and reboot
So, happy ending! One more thing: OnePlusOne supports MultiROM which I've been using before. It seems the latest nightly version of LineageOS doesn't like MultiROM just yet! Or I don't know how make them co-operate ;D.

torstai 29. joulukuuta 2016

Android Things - an Iot-platform from Google for Raspberry Pi 3 and other SBCs

Ok, Android Things by Google is available for many SBCs (Single Board Computers) like:
  • Intel®Edison
  • NXP Pico i.MX6UL
  • Raspberry Pi 3
But what is Android Things? Lets see what Google has to say:
  • "Android Things lets you build professional, mass-market products on a trusted platform, without previous knowledge of embedded system design."
I'd put it this way:
  • "Android Things is an operating system for Raspberry Pi 3 based on Android phone OS. You can write/build IoT-apps/devices by using Android Studio SDK."
Now that we know what Android Things does it's time to write the OS on an SD card and boot up Raspberry Pi 3. Download the image for Raspberry Pi 3 here:

Android Things
up and running!

keskiviikko 21. joulukuuta 2016

Wie man Pixel Desktop - vertraut aus Raspberry Pi - auf Ihrem PC oder Mac ausführen

Es ist einfach! Laden und schreiben Sie das Bild (.iso) auf einem 2 GB USB-Stick. Starten Sie Ihren PC oder Mac von USB und dort haben Sie es! Live-Modus nur im Moment, habe ich Angst. Bitte folgen Sie den nachstehenden Schritten:
  • .iso herunterladen, entweder via torrent network oder direkt:
  • Schreiben Sie .iso auf einen USB-Stick (mindestens 2 GB). Verwenden Sie Ihre Lieblings-Anwendung oder Befehl dd auf Linux zu tun.
    • Ziehen Sie nicht einfach die .iso-Datei in Ihren USB-Stick
  • Booten Sie Ihren PC von usb-Stock. In meinem Fall ist es Knopf F12 aber das ändert sich; F1, Del usw. ... Mac? Keine Ahnung, sorry.
  • Drücken Sie Esc nach dem Start. Sie haben 5 Sekunden, um das zu tun!
  • Wählen Sie "Ausführen mit Persistenz". So können Sie Ihre Arbeit auf USB-Stick speichern. Das nächste Mal starten Sie Pixel Desktop von USB alle Ihre Dateien sind da!
Lassen Sie uns hoffen, dass Pixel Desktop auf der PC-Festplatte eines Tages installiert wird. Inzwischen müssen wir mit Persistent Live-Modus zu bewältigen.

Mein Mini-Laptop ist ab dem Jahr 2008 und hat 1 GB RAM Speicher. Raspberry Pi Foundation verspricht Pixel Desktop läuft auf einem PC mit 512 MB RAM. Wie klingt das? Es muss auf jeden Fall getestet werden!

Also, was ist der Punkt der Ausführung Pixel Desktop auf x86? Sie können fast alle Ihre Lieblings-Apps aus Raspbian vertraut zu genießen! Von nun an müssen Sie nicht verlassen Pixel Desktop, sondern gehen Sie mit es auf jeder Plattform!

PS Getestet zu arbeiten: Schreiben Sie etwas mit LibreOffice Writer. Speichern auf Pixel Desktop. Starten Sie Ihren PC neu. Die Datei ist noch da!

PPS Kein Wifi aber normales Netzwerk über RJ45 funktioniert! Edit: wifi funktioniert!

Pixel Desktop und Acer Aspire One ZG5

How to run Pixel Desktop - familiar from Raspberry Pi - on your PC or Mac

It's easy! Download  and write the image (.iso) on a 2 GB USB stick. Boot your PC or Mac from USB and there you have it! Live mode only at the moment, I'm afraid. Please follow the detailed steps below:
  • Download .iso either via torrent network or directly:
  • Write .iso on a USB stick (at least 2 GB). Use your favourite application or command dd on Linux to do that.
    • Do not just drag and drop the .iso file inside your USB stick
  • In case you have a PC find out how to boot from USB stick. In my case it's button F12 but that varies; F1, Del etc... Mac? No idea, sorry.
  • Press Esc after boot. You have 5 seconds to do that!
    • Choose "Run with persistence". That way you can save your work on USB stick. Next time you boot Pixel Desktop from USB all your files are there!
Let's hope Pixel Desktop installs on PC hard drive one day. Meanwhile we have to cope with Persistent Live Mode.

My mini laptop is from year 2008 and has 1 GB of RAM memory. Raspberry Pi foundation promises Pixel Desktop runs on a PC with 512 MB of RAM. How does that sound? It definitely got to be tested!

So what's the point of running Pixel Desktop on x86? You can enjoy almost all of your favourite apps familiar from Raspbian! From now on you don't need to leave Pixel Desktop but go on using it on any platform!

PS Tested to work: Write something with LibreOffice Writer. Save on Pixel Desktop. Reboot your PC. The file is still there!

PPS No wifi but normal network via RJ45 works! Edit: wifi works!

Pixel Desktop on Acer Aspire One ZG5

lauantai 17. joulukuuta 2016

How to enable M$ Office ribbon in LibreOffice 5.3 (beta)

The latest LibreOffice 5.3 (beta) can be run with a different UI than we are used to. A ribbon, familiar from M$ Office, is hidden inside LibreOffice and is easily enabled. Here's how to do it. Please keep in mind that you do all modifications at your own risk:

  • First of all, get rid of older LibreOffice which you might have installed before or has been there as default (in Ubuntu Linux). Open Terminal:
    • sudo apt-get remove --purge libreoffice*
  • Download LibreOffice 5.3 (beta). Default tar.gz has all the deb-packages needed for an English/US install. No need to install localization packages:
  • Extract debs where you like. This can be done by double clicking tar.gz -package, then dragging and dropping debs in a folder.
  • In Terminal:
    • cd /path/to_folder/where/debs/are
    • sudo dpkg -i *.deb
      • Now LibreOffice 5.3 (beta) is installed
  • Open LibreOffice Writer
    • Click Ubuntu-button in upper left corner and type-in libre
Once LibreOffice Writer 5.3 (beta) is up and running:
  • Click Tools, Options, LibreOffice Dev, Advanced and check Enable experimental features (may be unstable)
  • Next, click View in upper left corner, Toolbar layout, Notebookbar
There you have it!

LibreOffice 5.3 (beta) is available for Windows and macOS as well!

Be sure to check Enable experimental features

You can always go back if ribbon is "not your cup of tea",
the default UI is still there as well

maanantai 5. joulukuuta 2016

DietPi - a tiny yet versatile Linux for Raspberry Pi

What is DietPi?

It's a tiny Linux distribution for any Raspberry Pi (and other SBCs) full of ready-to-run software. Whether you want to setup a server or wifi hotspot with DietPi chances are DietPi will run those tasks for you. Take a look at the list of all the software available for DietPi!

How to download, extract and write DietPi on an SD card?

Download the image which is delivered as a 7zip-package (~ 90 MB). If you don't have any tool to extract .7z -files, follow these instructions:

  • Open Terminal to get to the command line
  • Install p7zip-full package:
    • sudo apt-get install p7zip-full
  • To extract files with extension .7z :
    • 7z e DietPi_RPi-armv6-(Jessie).7z
      • e stands for extract

Use either a graphical tool or command dd to write the extracted image (~ 550 MB) on an SD card. An example:

  • sudo dd if=DietPi_v136_RPi-armv6-(Jessie).img of=/dev/sdd
    • Attention! SD card is not always sdd!

Run DietPi on any RaspberryPi

It doesn't matter which RaspberryPi you have. DietPi runs on any Raspi! So get your gear ready and fire up your Raspberry Pi.

Once up and running you want to choose a server or two for your needs. Make sure Raspi is connected to the Internet. Let DietPi download and install automatic updates. Run DietPi-Software via the command line: dietpi-launcher or dietpi-software. Have fun!

Text-based interface for choosing software

sunnuntai 20. marraskuuta 2016

How to install CyanogenMod 14.1 on OnePlus One

After some tweaking, trying and failing CyanogenMod 14.1 (aka Android 7.1) is finally running on my OnePlus One (later in text called OPO). If you decide to take the steps below don't forget to backup your phone! Keep in mind you do modifications AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Flash the latest TWRP
  • Download the latest TWRP for OnePlus One
  • Attach your phone to your Linux computer
  • Shut down your OPO
  • Hold down Power + VolumeUp
    • Now you are in Fastboot Mode
  • As root type in the following commands:
    • fastboot devices
      • Check if your device is attached and ready
    • fastboot oem unlock
      • Unlock your device
    • fastboot flash recovery twrp-x.x.x-x-bacon.img
      • This flashes TWRP on your OPO
Flash CyanogenMod 14.1 and Gapps
  • In your Linux computer:
  • In your OPO:
    • Hold down Power + VolumeDown to enter TWRP
      • As soon as OnePlus One log appears release fingers
      • Swipe to allow modifications
    • Choose Swipe and after that Swipe to Factory Reset
    • Go back
    • Choose Advanced
    • Choose ADB Sideload
      • Check Wipe Dalvik Cache
      • Check Wipe Cache
      • Swipe to Start Sideload
  • In your Linux computer:
    • Type in the following commands as root:
      • adb sideload
      • Wait until flashed
      • In OPO: Choose ADB Sideload again
      • In linux: adb sideload
      • Thumbs up, wait and reboot

To access TWRP hold down
Power + VolumeDown
until you see logo of OPO

Choose Advanced and
ADB Sideload to flash
CyanogernMod and Gapps

Reboot. Thumbs up!

OPO running the latest Android!

Play Store is also there!

maanantai 7. marraskuuta 2016

So läuft Mu-Editor für micro:bit auf Ubuntu Linux

Mu ist ein Offline-Editor (64-bit) können Sie auf Windows, MacOS und Linux laufen. Mit Mu können Sie Code für micro:bit Embedded-System schreiben, kompilieren Sie den Code und übergeben es an micro:bit.

Ubuntu Linux kann unter anderem Linux-Distributionen laufen Mu. Damit Ihr Ubuntu tun, folgen Sie den Anweisungen unten:
  • Laden Sie die neueste Mu hier:
    • meine Version ist mu-0.9.12.linux.bin
    • eine Datei mit der Erweiterung .bin - das ist alles, was Sie brauchen!
  • Die folgenden Befehle screiben:
    • cd the_folder_where_mu_was_downloaded
    • chmod + x mu-0.9.12.linux.bin
      • machen .bin ausführbar
    • sudo usermod -a -G dialout Benutzername
      • Verwenden Sie Ihren eigenen Benutzernamen anstelle von Benutzername
  • Mu laufen:
    • ./mu-0.9.12.linux.bin
Wenn Mu läuft Sie können Codierung beginnen! Versuchen Sie den Code unten, klicken Sie dann auf Flash. Stellen Sie sicher, Ihre Micro:bit angeschlossen ist. Genießen!

lauantai 5. marraskuuta 2016

How to get Mu-editor for micro:bit up and running on Ubuntu Linux

Mu is an offline editor (64-bit only!) you can run on Windows, macOS and Linux. With Mu you can write code for micro:bit embedded system, compile the code and pass it to micro:bit.

Ubuntu Linux can, among other Linux distributions, run Mu. To make your Ubuntu do that follow the instructions below:

  • download the latest Mu here:
    • my version is mu-0.9.12.linux.bin
      • one file with an extension .bin - that's all you need!
  • next type in the following commands:
    • cd the_folder_where_mu_was_downloaded
    • chmod + x mu-0.9.12.linux.bin
      • make .bin executable
    • sudo usermod -a -G dialout username
      • use your own username instead of username
  • finally, fire up Mu:
    • ./mu-0.9.12.linux.bin
When Mu is up and running you can start coding! Try the code below, then click Flash. Make sure your micro:bit is attached. Enjoy!

sunnuntai 30. lokakuuta 2016

The product of the year 2016 IMHO - MaruOS for Nexus 5

My phone is my PC! Needless to say more. Modern smart phones are powerful enough to run not only one operating system but two at the same time. In addition, the second OS's view can be sent to a HDMI-monitor! In my humble opinion the product of the year is by no doubt MaruOS!

Please take a look at my earlier blog post which has to do with MaruOS and it's rivals:

My earlier Products of the year:
  • Raspberry Pi (2012)
  • Pebble Smart Watch (2013)
  • Android 5 (2014)
  • Google's cardboard glasses (2015)
A patched Android and Debian Linux running on Nexus 5

Magic Device Tool - flash your Nexus 4 or 5 phone easy way

Ok, whats up?

There is an easy way to flash your Nexus 4 or 5, BQs and Meizus. To do this you need Linux's command line. Take a look at the list of supported devices below.

Why would anyone want to flash a phone?

I have an old Nexus 4 (first released 2012, so it's not THAT old...) which won't receive updates from Google anymore. My Nexus 4 is still in good condition and I want to use it. Magic Device Tool is able to install the following operating systems on Nexus 4; Ubuntu Touch, CyanogenMod 13 (i.e. Android 6), SailfishOS and  Android 5.

How is the trick done?

First off, open your Terminal (as user, not as root) and type in the following commands.
  • git clone
  • cd magic-device-tool
  • chmod +x
  • ./
Next, attach you phone to your Linux-computer with USB-cable. Start your phone by keeping down Power- and Volume Down -buttons to take the phone to fastboot mode. Follow the instructions on screen. Your phone is propably not unlocked. Let Magic Device Tool take care of that. Choose the OS you want to install and wait.

Why isn't for example MaruOS available for every device in the list?

MaruOS is available for Nexus 5 only. In the future we may see ports for other phones as well. As you might have noticed phones from Samsung, Sony etc. are missing. If you want to test-drive for example Ubuntu Touch then Nexuses, BQs and Meizus are the ones for you!

Is it worth it?

Absolutely! Magic Device Tool lets you take a deeper look at your phone and it's possibilities. Learn how to do it! It pays off!

Supported devices
  • BQ Aquaris E4.5 - krillin
  • BQ Aquaris E5 HD - vegetahd
  • BQ Aquaris M10 HD - cooler
  • BQ Aquaris M10 FHD - frieza
  • Meizu MX 4 - arale
  • Meizu Pro 5 - turbo
  • LG Nexus 4 - mako
  • LG Nexus 5 - hammerhead
  • Asus Nexus 7 2013 (WiFi) - flo
  • Asus Nexus 7 2013 (LTE) - deb
  • Asus Nexus 7 2012 (3G) - tilapia
  • Asus Nexus 7 2012 (WiFi) - grouper
  • Samsung Nexus 10 - manta
  • OnePlus One - bacon
  • Fairphone 2 - FP2
Homepage of Magic Device Tool:

Keep in mind you are flashing your phone at your own risk! Do not flash a phone which is needed every day! Purchase another phone for test purposes!

Supported phones

SailfishOS 2.0 on Nexus 4

sunnuntai 23. lokakuuta 2016

Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter - share your screen wirelessly in Windows 10

*Finally* there is a wireless connection based on Miracast technology between my Windows 10 laptop and Samsung HD TV. The screen of my laptop can be shared and seen on TV - without any wires.

If your hardware meets these requirements you can try it as well:

  • A laptop with certain drivers compatible with Miracast technology (circuits and drivers must be Intel-based? All drivers were pre-installed in my case)
  • Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter (I purchased one from local flea market)
  • An HD TV

So what did I do to make the above combination work? Nothing much.

  • First Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter was attached in TV (seems to work out of the box, see pictures below)
  • Next the right HDMI source was chosen from remote control
  • Finally the laptop was connected with TV by clicking Notification Center in Windows 10 (lower right corner, see picture below), Connect and WiFivideo

Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter

Microsoft Wireless Display
Adapter attached

WiFivideo (texts in Finnish only)

Click Notification center in lower right corner, next Connect

Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter is named as WiFivideo

You may also expand your display if you like

Wireless connection of screens
between Windows 10 and Samsung HDTV

torstai 13. lokakuuta 2016

Ubuntu Linux 16.10 is out! Download your flavour of Ubuntu Linux 16.10 now!

Ubuntu Linux 16.10 is out! So why not download your flavour of Ubuntu; Gnome, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu or Mate! The choice is yours!

Take a look at the download links here:

sunnuntai 9. lokakuuta 2016

Flashing an aftermarket ROM gives your phone extra lifetime

What is an aftermarket ROM?

When you purchase an Android phone operating system is there, pre-installed. After year or two new versions of Android are unveiled. You start to think if your phone will receive a new version of Android. Usually one bigger update can be expected.

Since the source code of Android is available for free and can be reached by anyone there are many developer groups offering their own derivative versions of Android. These, so called aftermarket ROMs are invaluable for those not receiving Android updates. Your phone might have many extra years ahead.

For example my Nexus 4, first introduced in November 2012, is no longer supported by Google. That is, Android 6 and 7 never happened to Nexus 4. I'm supposed to stick to Android 5 or try to find an aftermarket ROM based on Android 6 or 7 source code.

Is there an aftermarket ROM for my phone?

Bummer. Not all phones are supported! However if you happen to own a Nexus phone chances are there are several ROMs available. You can start digging CyanogenMod site. See if your phone model is among the supported ones. If you don't like CyanogenMod (supported by Microsoft) move on to OmniROM or XDA-Developers, just to name some. Remember, the older phone the worse chances.

Ok, a ROM found - how do I flash it?

This is a sticky one. First you need to get your PC ready for flashing by installing adb and fastboot. Next, your existing Android needs to be unlocked and debugging has to be enabled. If you are familiar with Windows or Linux setup chances are you'll learn how to flash your phone as well. Take a look at these instructions from Cyanogen Mod; how flash Nexus 4.

Bear in mind mobile devices are somewhat different from PCs. When flashing for the first time a lot of coffee and patience is needed. One more thing: do not flash a phone you need every day. If you fail you are holding a brick in your hand.

Is it worth it?

Ok, flashing takes time, it is dangerous and might make your phone useless. Is it worth it? Absolutely! My Nexus 4 is from year 2012 and is still able to run the latest Android 7 which is not officially available but can be found with the name CyanogenMod 14. One might say my phone's new OS runs slow and lags. This may happen if there is not enough RAM memory available. However Nexus 4 is powerful enough to run the latest Android.


There are new phones like Google Pixel available. Those new devices are very tempting but expensive. If you happen to own a flashable phone why not give it a facelift and flash it. That way your phone will get extra years of living and there is no need to purcase a new phone that often.

Nexus 4 running an unofficial
CyanogenMod 14 (aka Android 7)