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The UnBrickable Mod and Beyond

The UnBrickable Mod and Beyond

A bricked phone.  No JTAG.  Modify hardware, upload a bootloader, and the phone lives.  Pure development.

That’s what I think of the work of AdamOutler and Rebellos to breathe life into dead devices.  A couple days ago, WillVerduzco wrote an article on Rebellos’ method of unbricking Hummingbird devices by uploading your very own custom bootloader to your device.  A couple weeks ago, AdamOutler asked for help getting the official Samsung bootloader for Galaxy devices.  Since then, the two teamed up to put Rebellos’ Resurrection Bootloader on devices modified according to AdamOutler’s UnBrickable Mod.

Now they’re finding the fun doesn’t stop at unbricking phones.  They’re flashing bootloaders built for other operating systems.  “I used UnBrickable mod to install Bada OS bootloaders on my Captivate,” AdamOutler says.  “Totally bricked it.  Messed up partition tables and everything.  It assimilated my Captivate.  I used UnBrickable mod to load up a secondary bootloader while holding the key combination, then flashed it.”  He goes on, “I was worried for a bit because it would not download, but eventually we got it!  It works!”

This means the months of hard work put into this project finally paid off.  AdamOutler working on hardware, Rebellos working on software.  Once the hardware side of development finished, Rebellos stepped in.  “You see,” AdamOutler says, “Rebellos is a developer working on a port of Android for Bada OS.  He’s 18 years old, from Poland, just got his driver’s license, and he’s a badass behind the assembly language console.”

Samsung Galaxy devices normally boot using a primary bootloader to load a secondary bootloader that, in turn, loads the Linux kernel.  Rebellos replaced the primary bootloader.  That means they should be able to load non-Linux systems, like Windows Phone 7 or iOS.  Rebellos says that will take, “tons of work in pure assembler, as they aren’t opensource.”  He adds, “I’d say for SGS family you can count on Bada and any opensource OS, like Ubuntu.”

To put it clearly, the work these developers put into this project means the beginning of HD2-like development on any device with a CORTEX-A8 processor in it, including the  iPhone 4 and Nexus S.  And that’s exactly what AdamOutler and Rebellos plan to do.  “We basically created a whole new system for developers to use for developing and noobs to use for unbricking after playing with the big kids.”  Pure development.

The developers are currently looking for bricked and broken CORTEX-A8 phone donations, such as these:

Samsung I9000 SGS
Samsung S8500 Wave
Samsung S8530 Wave II
Samsung SGH-i997 Infuse 4G
Samsung T959 Vibrant
Samsung SGH-T849 Galaxy Tab 7.0 inch
Samsung GT-P1000 Galaxy Tab
Samsung GT-i9010 Girogio Armani Galaxy
Samsung GT-i8350 Omnia 7
Google Nexus S
Apple iPhone4

If you would like to help out with this historical work, please see the development thread.

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