After buying a new Lephone A60 you might be a little confused about all the terminology used in Android World. In this post I am going to clear things up a bit.
When my phone arrived from Hong Kong (I can truly recommend http://hotmid.com/) I already knew I’d have to root it and do some magic to get Android Market and Gmail. The guys from hotmid have a nice video where they show what to do but they do not say WHY they do it. So if something unexpected happens (like boot loop) you’re on your own. After doing some research (mainly russian forum forum.china-iphone.ru) on the subject I decided to share what I’ve learned.
1. What is firmware and how and why to change or update it?
Generally speaking it is the stuff that runs the phone (messaging, calls, hardware etc.). Every device has its own firmware delivered by the company that constructed it (Lenovo in this case). It is quite common in the Android World that it is modified by the users (i.e. new language versions or features are added and/or modified). Sometimes there’s a problem with the firmware and fixes / new versions are released by the manufacturer. Firmware is usually delivered as images of the partitions
How is the new firmware installed on the phone?
There are two ways of doing it:
- via update.zip – the file is copied to the SD card and then in recovery mode it is flashed.
- via cable – in this case you need the images of partitions and a special flashing program Lenovo A60 Flash Tool (download) and the A60 USB drivers. More on flashing through the cable in this post[TODO] and in the video provided by the guys from forum.china-iphone.ru.
2. What is rooting?
It is a process that will let you do whatever you want with your phone. You will be able to install, update, change, remove custom firmware, install fixes and run many advanced applications (like MobileUncle Tools used during the process of flashing recovery and firmware) that require root privileges. It will also probably void your phone warranty.
What if you don’t root A60? You still will be able to make calls, receive text messages and use all the preinstalled applications (and probably even download from chinese app market . You will not have access to the Android Market and Google applications. Generally speaking – you will be left with what Lenovo gives you.
3. What is recovery?
Recovery mode – a mode where you can do administrative stuff. To enter this mode turn on your phone while holding Volume down(-). You can also reboot to recovery mode from MobileUncle Tools. You can access this mode after flashing recovery image to the recovery partition
Recovery image – this is a binary file (image) of the recovery partition which contains recovery program. After rooting your phone you can use custom image (i.e. with english interface) by flashing it to the partition. There are several recovery images available for A60 (links from forum.china-iphone.ru):
- Original recovery image. Version: A60_S155_110830 Language: English (download)
- Recovery image from the site 592zn.com, ported by linerty: Version: 2 Languages: English Download: Mirror 1 , Mirror 2 , Mirror 3
- Above recovery image with revisions from igor_newman: (download) I used this one on my phone – recommended.
- Chinese recovery image from mobileuncle.com: Version: 1.0.1 Language: Chinese (download) – this version was delivered by the guys from hotmid.com. If you have this one but don’t understand chinese below is a translation.
How to flash recovery image to A60?
You can do it using MobileUncle Tools (link from forum.china-iphone.ru):
- Copy recovery image file to the root directory of your SD card (under Windows E: or F: or any other letter that the system assigns it)
- Run MobileUncle Tools on your phone and tap Flash Recovery From SdCard.
- Give the program root permissions if asked (this is serious operation so it needs to be executed as superuser).
- Select your recovery image (*.img) from SD card and wait for the process to finish.
- Now you can reboot to recovery
You can also do it by cable [TODO].