Razer Phone Factory Images Published on the Developer Portal
Razer is known for their console and PC devices that focus on gaming, but it was surprising when they announced their very first Android smartphone. This was the result of the company acquiring the talent behind the Nextbit Robin, and with the two forces teaming together they released the first Android smartphone sold in western markets with a 120Hz display. While the device has been marketed toward gamers, it has been able to grab the attention of many Android enthusiasts thanks to its powerful specifications and today they have began publishing factory images for the Razer Phone up on their developer portal.
The Razer Phone has hit a lot of checkboxes when it comes to key features that Android enthusiasts want. It runs a near-stock Android OEM ROM so it isn’t bloated by excessive and barely used software features. (The stock launcher is actually a customized version of Nova Launcher Prime to boot!) It has two front-facing speakers with each of them being powered by their own dedicated amp. The 120Hz display allows for an incredibly smooth user experience that many have been looking for since the original Google Pixel. And similar to Nextbit, the team behind the Razer Phone is quite open to the developer community.
One of the first things developers look for when a new smartphone is released is the kernel source code. The kernel source code for the Razer Phone was released two months ago and by the end of December we had an official release of TWRP ready to go for the public. This allows for enthusiasts to flash a custom ROM, gain root access, and even install other Android modifications such as the Xposed Framework. With this level of access though, there are times when we need to start fresh.
Google has been publishing factory images for their Android releases for years, and others including Essential and OnePlus are open to hosting the same on their websites. So it was no surprise when today we learned that there is a developer portal for the Razer Phone up on the OEM’s website. Here, you’ll find links to the kernel source code archive as well as factory images (which come with instructions on how to restore your Razer Phone’s original factory firmware). With factory images, you no longer have to worry about messing something up so badly that you can’t get your phone back to a working state.
It should be noted that, just like with Google’s devices, your bootloader needs to be unlocked in order to flash the factory images. This sounds silly at first, but it’s actually done for security purposes. Having this requirement will prevent a hypothetical malicious actor from downgrading the bootloader to exploit an older, already-patched vulnerability. Android Oreo introduced rollback protection, but the Razer Phone hasn’t yet updated to this release. Hopefully it will, soon, as companies like Essential and HMD Global have each released Android 8.1 to their flagship devices.