August 10, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
It would be redundant to mention yet again how prolific the spread of Jelly Bean has been over the last month and a half. With devices old and new, low spec’d and high spec’d alike, getting usable ports, it seems like almost any device is capable of running Google’s latest and greatest. To add to the already long list of devices, the HTC Flyer and EVO View 4G along with the Samsung Epic 4G Touch now have their own Jelly Bean ports.
The EVO View 4G and Flyer ports were both created by XDA Senior Member Dexter_nib with the help of several other members and developers. The Epic 4G Touch port was made by XDA Recognized Developer Sbrissen, who also helped out with AOSP ICS. Despite being early releases, both ROMs are surprisingly stable. For the EVO View/Flyer release, the following has been reported as not working.
- video hardware accelerated playback (use included MX player for most compatibility issues)
That’s not that too bad, and if you’re not a huge user of these features, then this actually could be used as a daily driver for you. The Epic 4G Touch release is equally as impressive as there are also only a few issues:
- LOS (this is kernel related and I am still trying to track it down)
- Random screen wakes
- Camcorder effects cause FC
Aside from these minor issues, this could also be used as a daily driver. Early adopters of the Epic Touch should be more than used to LOS (Loss Of Signal) problems by now, as that has been a bug since the device’s release. It is nice to see some more stable Jelly Bean builds being released, allowing users to better experience the latest version of Android.
By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the Samsung HardBrick bug that has reared its ugly head on various Samsung Exynos 4210-based devices including but not limited to the Galaxy Note GT-N7000, Epic 4G Touch, AT&T Galaxy S II, and the Korean SHW-M250S/K/L. In fact, we recently featured an app made by XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire aimed at determining your particular device’s risk for hard brick.
Samsung is aware of the issue, which was first noted by Elite Recognized Developer Entropy512, and is in the final stages of delivering a solution. Until then, however, it is still advised to not flash any leaked kernels, or kernels in which MMC_CAP_ERASE is present.
We’ve contacted Samsung about the problem where performing a mmc erase could hardbrick your phone (i9100, i9100g, n7000, m250 – MAG4FA, VYL00M, and KYL00M with firmware revision 0×19 // T989 and I727 with fw rev 0×12) if it’s having a faulty emmc chip.
Read this thread for more informations about it: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1644364
They’re working as hard as possible on a clean solution which will be ready soon.
Please be patient and try to not flash any leaked kernels or kernels based on sources where MMC_CAP_ERASE is present.
In fact, earlier today Samsung contacted me to inform the community that progress has been made. In addition simply releasing a fix in the form of updated stock firmware, Samsung is also working with community developers to provide them the information they need to fix the issue in their own releases. This is important because binaries or patches released to end users require extensive (and time-consuming) testing. This way, however, developers can begin to incorporate the fixes as soon as possible.
We’re thinking two steps to provide.
One is to share the information that open source developers can use to fix the problem.
The second one is the patches applicable for both Official Samsung ROM users and Custom ROM users.
Due to our duties to provide more complete binaries to our customers, our patches require the full testing, which takes longer time.
That’s why we want to share the information first.
Good job, Samsung! It is commendable to see not only your team’s efforts to fix the issue, but also work with the community to ensure that the fix is disseminated as quickly as possible!
[Image taken from egzthunder1's fantastic article on the matter.]
June 6, 2012 By: Will Verduzco
By now, we’re all familiar with the hard brick bug that’s plagued various Samsung when updating to leaked builds of ICS. The bug has shown up on various Samsung Exynos 4210-based devices including the Galaxy Note GT-N7000, Epic 4G Touch, AT&T Galaxy S II, and the Korean SHW-M250S/K/L.
However, as we quickly found out, not all eMMC revisions were equally afflicted. Instead, the 0×19 revision was highlighted as known bad, whereas the 0×25 is thought to be safe. Revisions between 0×19 and 0×25 are thought to be possibly bad, whereas those newer than 0×25 are probably safe. Adding insult to injury, those keen on hex will be quick to notice that 0×19 converted to decimal is 25!
Naturally, someone was bound to create a simpler way of determining the status of your device, and that someone is XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire. With his new app Got Brickbug, users can easily check their device to see their risk status for the hard brick bug. As explained by Chainfire himself:
Attached is a simple APK that reads out your chip’s type and CID, and lets you know if we know that chip is dangerous or safe.
Just uninstall again after using.
Obviously, this comes “as-is”, we’re not responsible what you do with your device, etc. No rights can be derived from the output of the program!
Internal data used:
MAG4FA, VYL00M, or KYL00M fwrev 0×19 –> known bad
MAG4FA, VYL00M, or KYL00M fwrev >= 0×25 –> probably safe
MAG4FA, VYL00M, or KYL00M fwrev != 0×19 && < 0×25 –> probably bad
Everything else: unknown chip
As this is relevant information for any flashaholic, we recommend you head over to the application thread to test your device.
[Image stolen from egzthunder1's fantastic article on the matter.]
The Team Win Recovery Project has been picking up major steam for awhile now. And since its update to version 2.1 that we covered not too long ago, it’s been getting closer and closer to being one of those must have recoveries on newer devices. Unfortunately however, not every device has made the list quite yet. That doesn’t mean it can’t be.
Samsung Epic 4G Touch users have been clamoring for a TWRP 2.1 release for some time now, and XDA Recognized Developer Dees_Troy wants all the Epic Touch users know that Team Win is listening. While Team Win can’t personally get the recovery working on the Epic Touch, as they don’t have the Epic Touch to test it, Dees_Troy wants to spur the device’s already vibrant development community:
The TWRP source code is all public, including the GUI. It’s pretty easy to compile and work with and we have a nice guide to help you out here: http://tinyw.in/nP7d
If you need help integrating TWRP into your builds or have questions about compiling TWRP, feel free to find us in #twrp on Freenode.
So this begs the question, why the complicated response from Team Win? Well the answer, as expected, is rather complicated as well. As with most Samsung phones, there isn’t a proprietary recovery partition. Or rather, as Dees_Troy calls it, they don’t use a proper recovery partition. What actually happens is that the recovery is packed into the boot.img. This means that whenever a user installs a new kernel, they’re stuck with whatever recovery comes with that boot.img. As many Epic Touch owners will tell you, there’s a few different recoveries roaming around depending on which kernel you flash. This makes porting the recovery a little more difficult than normal because you not only need to port the recovery so it works, but you also have to compile a kernel in which to pack it. So, Team Win has made the code available for anyone who wants to go through all that for the Epic Touch.
For additional discussion and information, check out the original thread and let the porting begin!
May 18, 2012 By: egzthunder1
Since the latest leaks for the Samsung Galaxy S2 line up have been hitting us left and right, people have been jumping between ROMs—mainly between buggy, pre-release ICS builds and very stable GB. This is, after all, what we do on XDA as a habit: We see a leak, we flash it, we use it, and we tweak it. If it doesn’t fly, we simply roll back. Of course, there is always an inherent risk in flashing stuff that should not be on your device in the first place, but the risk of fully bricking a device in this day and age is rather small. Especially, since there are tools available to bring your devices back from the dead, such as UnBrickable Mod by XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler.
Having said this, not everything seems to be fine in the world of leaks. Thanks to XDA Elite Recognized Developer Entropy512, we have learned that most devices that are receiving leaks are at a very high risk of never waking up after a flash. It turns out that there is a major bug in the leaked ICS kernel that affects the /data partition in the eMMC chip, which apparently gets corrupted during certain operations such as wiping and flashing. This was originally believed to be affecting only operations performed in custom recoveries such as CWM. However, there have been reports of hard bricks being produced from the flashing from stock recoveries as well. The affected devices are:
Entropy and other devs have posted several warnings scattered throughout the site, in which they explain in detail what is happening. Our suggestion is that users should stay away from flashing ICS from leaks until the bug in the kernel has been completely fixed—unless of course, you are looking to hard brick your device. Remember, this is not something that can be resurrected via Unbrickable Mod or even via JTAG, as this is a firmware error in the eMMC. This is directly from Entropy himself for those of you interested in a bit more detail:
DANGER: Many Samsung ICS leak kernels may damage your device!
Those who pay attention to goings-on with various Samsung devices may have noticed that some devices are experiencing a large quantity of hardbricks when ICS leaked kernels are used. These hardbricks are particularly nasty, in that vendors of JTAG services have been unable to resurrect these devices, unlike simple bootloader-corruption hardbricks. This is due to the fact that these kernels are actually managing to cause what appears to be permanent damage to the eMMC storage device.
Kernels that are confirmed affected are:
[*]All Epic 4G Touch (SPH-D710) ICS leaks[*]All Galaxy Note (GT-N7000) ICS leaks[*]The AT&T Galaxy S II (SGH-I777) UCLD3 leak – and probably all others[*]Korean SHW-M250S/K/L official releases and any kernel built from their source
Kernels that SHOULD be safe are:
[*]GT-I9100 ICS leaks[*]GT-I9100 official releases[*]Kernels built off of the GT-I9100 Update4 source base
Operations that are likely to cause damage when running an affected kernel:
Wiping in CWM (and likely any other custom recovery) (confirmed)
Restoring a Nandroid backup in CWM (wipes first)
Flashing another firmware in CWM (most flashes wipe first)
Wiping in stock 3e recovery (suspected, also wipes a partition)
Deleting large files when running an affected kernel (suspected but not confirmed)
If you have an affected kernel:
Flash a known good kernel using Odin/Heimdall immediately. Do NOT use Mobile Odin, CWM, or any on-device method to flash. Known good kernels include:
[*]Nearly any Gingerbread kernel[*]ICS kernels built from the GT-I9100 Update4 source code
The root cause of this issue has yet to be determined, however, numerous Recognized Developers in XDA suspect it is due to Samsung enabling a feature in the affected kernels, MMC_CAP_ERASE – This is a performance feature that can greatly increase flash write performance, but appears to bring out a flaw in the flash chipset. GT-I9100 ICS kernels do not have this feature enabled and appear safe. However, not enough is known to declare all kernels without this feature safe – the only entity that can confirm the root cause of this problem and declare it fixed without taking great risk (destroying multiple devices with no way to repair them) is Samsung themselves.
In general, until further notice, if you are running a Samsung ICS leak for any Exynos-based device other than the GT-I9100, it is strongly advised to flash something else.
And this just showed up this morning in our forums as well, courtesy of XDA member garwynn. Apparently, Google has been contacted and they are aware of the issue, and one engineer is hoping to work towards a fix.
Well, it’s been some time but thankfully Mr. Sumrall from Android did get back to us on our questions. I think the community will find that this was worth the wait.Issue: fwrev not set properly.
As we suspected the bugfix is not in our build. (The patch applies this unconditionally.)Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken SumrallThe patch includes a line in mmc.c setting fwrev to the rights bits from the cid register. Before this patch, the file /sys/class/block/mmcblk0/device/fwrev was not initialized from the CID for emmc devices rev 4 and greater, and thus showed zero.(On second inquiry)
fwrev is zero until the patch is applied.
Question: Revision didn’t match the fix
(Emphasis mine in red as it discusses the superbrick issue.)Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken SumrallYou probably have the bug, but rev 0×19 was a previous version of the firmware we had in our prototype devices, but we found it had another bug that if you issued an mmc erase command, it could screw up the data structures in the chip and lead to the device locking up until it was powered cycled. We discovered this when many of our developers were doing a fastboot erase userdata while we were developing ICS. So Samsung fixed the problem and moved to firmware revision 0×25.Yes, it is very annoying that 0×19 is decimal 25, and that led to lots of confusion when trying to diagnose emmc firmware issues. I finally learned to _ALWAYS_ refer to emmc version in hexadecimal, and precede the number with 0x just to be unambiguous.However, even though 0×19 probably has the bug that can insert 32 Kbytes of zeros into the flash, you can’t use this patch on devices with firmware revision 0×19. This patch does a very specific hack to two bytes of code in the revision 0×25 firmware, and the patch most likely will not work on 0×19, and will probably cause the chip to malfunction at best, and lose data at worst. There is a reason the selection criteria are so strict for applying this patch to the emmc firmware.I passed on our results a few days later mentioning that the file system didn’t corrupt until the wipe. This is a response to that follow-up.As I mentioned in the previous post, firmware rev 0×19 has a bug where the emmc chip can lockup after an erase command is given. Not every time, but often enough. Usually, the device can reboot after this, but then lockup during the boot process. Very rarely, it can lockup even before fastboot is loaded. Your tester was unlucky. Since you can’t even start fastboot, the device is probably bricked. If he could run fastboot, then the device could probably be recovered with the firmware update code I have, assuming I can share it. I’ll ask.
Question: Why the /data partition?Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Sumrall (Android SE)Because /data is the place the chip that experiences the most write activity. /system is never written to (except during an system update) and /cache is rarely used (mostly to receiving OTAs).
Question: Why JTAG won’t work?Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken SumrallAs I mention above, the revision 0×19 firmware had a bug that after an emmc erase command, it could leave the internal data structures of the emmc chip in a bad state that cause the chip to lock up when a particular sector was accessed. The only fix was to wipe the chip, and update the firmware. I have code to do that, but I don’t know if I can share it. I’ll ask.
Question: Can a corrupted file system be repaired (on the eMMC)?Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Sumralle2fsck can repair the filesystem, but often the 32 Kbytes were inserted at the start of a block group, which erased many inodes, and thus running e2fsck would often result in many files getting lost.
So, while the fix doesn’t apply to us at the moment, we’ve been given a great insight into the superbrick issue as well as information that a fix is already developed (hopefully we’ll see it released!). The bug likely applies to us and assuming the fix for the 0×19 firmware is given then it would apply to our devices.
On a lighter note, I wanted to include his close:Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken SumrallYou are getting a glimpse into the exciting life of an Android kernel developer. Turns out the job is mostly fighting with buggy hardware. At least, it seems that way sometimes.
Please stay clear from flashing anything ICS onto your devices until this has been solved.
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[Thanks Entropy512 for all your hard work!!!!]
April 26, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
As we’ve discussed before, the use of video streaming applications such as Hulu and Netflix while on the go has been on the rise recently. Despite the developer’s efforts to make Hulu available to all (major) devices, there are still a few devices such as the Samsung Epic 4G Touch that are not yet supported.
To help ease the pain, XDA Senior Member ReActiveDisorder has released a modified Hulu application that works on all Epic 4G Touch devices, regardless of Android version. In fact, since the developer removed the phone check, there is also a chance that this could work on many other devices that have not yet received Hulu’s official blessing. Says ReActiveDisorder:
I have a Hulu membership and was angry cause our device wasnt “Compatible”. Talk about a total rip off. So I modded the apk to work with our device.
I disabled the phone check within the app itself.
The modified app is easy enough to install. Simply put it on your SD card and side load it like any other application. The best part is that there is no root required, so on the off chance that one of our community members hasn’t yet rooted, they can still take advantage of this modded file. While the application is modified, users will obviously still need a Hulu Plus account in order to access content.
For more information, download links and discussion, check out the original thread.
Getting a tablet UI to work on an Android phone is pretty cool. Not only is it a breathe of fresh air from the typical Android phone experience, but it looks cool and is actually functional on larger phones once you get used to it. In fact, whenever an AOSP-based ROM hits a device, getting tablet UI on it seems to be on the high priority list of things to get working since it’s slowly becoming popular with end users. Well for those running certain AOKP builds, getting tablet UI is as simple as flashing a mod, and the mod is expected to be ported to a number of other devices.
The port for the Samsung Epic 4G Touch has now arrived thanks to XDA Senior Member rsalinas1. As it’s still cumbersome trying to flash anything Ice Cream Sandwich on the Epic Touch, users should definitely take care to follow the installation instructions carefully—this is no ordinary flash-via-recovery modification. Users will have to flash the EL26 kernel in order to even get the proper kernel and recovery on their devices, flash the AOKP ROM, flash the GAPPS, and then flash the mod all in one shot. In other words, in order to get this mod on your phone, you’re going to have to install the entire ROM over again—for now, at least. The modification itself does work, however, and gives users the tablet experience they’re looking for. Even the software buttons are included in this modification.
If you’re looking to get some tablet UI goodness, check out the first link at the top. For those with the Epic Touch, you can find your device specific mod in rsalinas1′s thread.
April 5, 2012 By: jerdog
XDA has a long history of developers searching out ways to bring key features and/or software from one device to another, and hopefully adding value to the user in the process. In that same vein XDA Senior Member VeNuM has put together a pretty slick ICS ROM for the Samsung Epic 4G Touch.
The ROM is based on the latest “stable” leak from Sprint and Samsung, and features the Sony Xperia Launcher instead of Samsung’s TouchWiz launcher. VeNuM is calling it AnaKonda. It is based on build FC24 (Android 4.0.3). The release brings many enhancements and fixes such as Odex Me and a spectacular theme from XDA Recognized Themer dazednconfused.
Here’s what VenuM had to say about his motivation for this project:
I’ve been looking for something “different” for our Samsung devices for some time and thought it would be both challenging and rewarding to give the new launcher a go… Plus dazednconfused had demoed a great looking orange and green theme that I thought made the system distinct. Really though, it’s about giving back and sharing with the community. We have a great developer and user base on the ET4G and I’m just happy I can contibute to the community as a whole…
If you fancy trying something different, check out the ROM thread for more information.
March 28, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Android phones have undergone a transformation over the last few years. Unlike other platforms that often seem reluctant to change, Android phones have only gotten bigger and faster, squeezing even more awesomeness into every cubic centimeter of each passing new generation. Along for the ride are other fun things such as allowing Android users to run software that isn’t actually Android.
Many devices can actually run several distributions of Linux. The Samsung Epic 4G Touch is one of the latest to gain the capability. XDA Recognized Developer dasmoover has brought some flashable Linux goodness to Epic Touch owners, giving them the option to run Debian, Backtrack, and Arch distros.
Users have the option of several images to use, varying in Linux distribution and file sizes, ranging from a meager 750 MB to a gargantuan 5 GB. The images and the update.zip installer make for an easy install for most users and a lot of room for customization. The developer promises updates, so users will soon have even more options to get their Linux kick.
For additional information, download links, and discussion about the project, please visit the original thread. Be sure to make a backup before attempting anything, just to be safe.
March 26, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Most tools help users and developer add things to their Andorid devices—be it themes, mods, or even GUI interfaces that flash kernels and ROMs. However, there’s another genre of tool that is just as essential to the Android experience: applications that backup essential system files that can easily be broken when flashing development work.
XDA Senior Member HellcatDroid created one such tool for Samsung Galaxy S II, allowing users to perform numerous tasks including backing up and restoring EFS, dumping the kernel, flashing kernels, and verifying that your EFS partition is intact. The tool has been out for awhile, and most of the bugs have been worked out.
One of the major changes in the newer versions is that it now supports all of the US carrier-branded variants of the device, including Sprint’s Epic 4g Touch, the T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S II and the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S II. This means pretty everyone with a Galaxy S II can partake in .
For additional information, screen shots, a full change log and feature list, check out the utility thread. Now before anything goes awry, backup your EFS partition. If it’s too late for your device, and you have already borked your EFS and IMEI, you’ll need a more manual method.
March 19, 2012 By: Ian Stacy
Owners of the Samsung Epic 4G Touch have been lucky lately. First the bloat removal tool provided by XDA Senior Member Calkulin showed up, seamlessly doing it’s job for both Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich ROMs. The very same week Calkulin delivered another surprise in the form of the leaked FC14 update for the phone. Lucky, indeed. In an impressively quick follow-up, XDA Senior Member kc_exactly has already posted the newest update for the device, thanking XDA Senior Member qbking77 for his help finding the update.
If you’d like to give it a test drive, Calkulin has again provided the FC15 update as a rooted ROM with busybox in both odexed and de-odexed format and the necessary FC15 modem in a flashable zip. Just like the F14 update, a wipe and data format is necessary, and both the modem and the update zip must be flashed in the same ClockworkMod session since the recovery partition will be wiped. You will no longer have CWM after applying the update.
As usual, make a backup of your device before attempting anything. His work can be found in his ROM thread. In addition, kc_exactly provides links to an Odin version of a rooted FC15 system and a tar of the stock FC15 update in his compilation thread. Take it for a spin and report your findings!
March 16, 2012 By: Ian Stacy
Samsung Epic 4G Touch owners, begin celebrating! XDA Senior Member Calkulin has posted the leaked FC14 4.0.3 firmware, stock and rooted with busybox installed, along with a de-odexed version and the FC14 modem.
The developer warns that users installing the update must flash both the firmware file and the FC14 modem in the same ClockworkMod recovery session because after installation and rebooting you will no longer have CWM recovery. The developer also notes that a factory reset and data wipe is recommended, and he has included a flashable zip that will guarantee all partitions are formatted properly.
Shortly after Calkulin‘s original post, XDA Senior Member qbking77 posted two youtube videos regarding the update—an installation guide and a review of the update. If that sounds like something you’d like to take advantage of, you can check them out here.
All the downloads and information can be found in the original post here. Best of luck to those who attempt to install it!
March 15, 2012 By: egzthunder1
We are all aware of a large number of methods to get rid of unwanted bloatware from our devices. Manufacturers really give you no option to rid yourself of software they want you to use as they can potentially bring in revenue for them by selling you products through these. Moreover, without a custom ROM or access to root, you really cannot do away with them as they are normally uninstallable. And even if you could somehow easily uninstall them, then comes the question of what you can safely uninstall without losing major functionality. The Epic 4G Touch is one such device, loaded to the top with Sprint applications and other things that you may or may not need, but thanks to XDA member Calkulin, there is now a way to easily de-bloat your E4GT.
Bare Rom Converter is a tool that can (and must) be flashed through Recovery. It will essentially go to the system partition of the device and make all of that stuff vanish by automatically removing the unwanted apks. The best part about this, aside from you not having to do much, is that it already knows what it can safely remove without leaving your device crippled.
The tool works flawlessly and was based on his previous work to de-Sense the EVO 4G. If you find any errors on this or if you would like to recommend other things that could be removed, please leave a line or two in the thread. Feedback as always, is highly appreciated.
I decided to create this converter zip that deletes most non essential apks from the system partition, this is like my old Remove Sense zip that I did a while back on the EVO. This will work on any GB & ICS ROM
You can find more information in the original thread.
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