If you’re in South Africa and you own an HTC Magic Android phone you’ll soon realise that it’s missing Android Market, which to be honest, is pretty much what makes Android so damn amazing in the first place. In its place is the Leaf Open Market. Leaf are the South African HTC importers. Open Market is about as awesome as getting stabbed in the eye with a pencil, repeatedly. The application works okay, but the selection of applications is incredibly dismal.
Update 30/06/09: There are rumblings that Leaf is going to “release” Market in “two weeks”. Supposedly they’re going to be sending out instructions on how to ROM your phone or allowing you to take it into a vodacom store and getting it ROM’d there (most likely they’ll need to send it away). I have no idea how true these claims are. Maybe someone wants to phone Leaf and ask them?
Update 23/07/09: A really good resource for anyone looking to hack their Magic is the XDA-Developers Forum. Some kind souls have also recently added a Wiki specifically put together for hacking the Magic (Sapphire) which every one of you should read from start to finish.
Anyway, the primary reason I love Android is because it’s hackable. Commence hacking. Warning: Yes, this probably will void your warranty. Yes, it’s possible that the real Android Market will eventually be released in SA, but I’m not holding my breath.
Basically what we’re doing here is updating the phone’s firmware to the version HTC originally intended the Magic to ship with… There are stacks of other firmwares (called ROM’s in the ‘community’) floating around, I’m just pointing to one that definitely works. Using the wrong ROM can put your phone in a state where it refuses to boot… Never fear, see below ‘Recovering from a bricked Magic‘.
I’m going to explain the general steps you go through first… This will help you understand what it is you’re about to do so that you aren’t just blindly following instructions.
- We get the Android SDK and Fastboot applications installed on our computer
- We copy the ROM we want to install onto the SD Card and rename it ‘update.zip’
- We boot the phone into FASTBOOT mode.
- Using the FASTBOOT program we temporarily upload and ‘install’ the daldroid-recovery.img ROM over USB. (This is a special boot loader app that lets us do cool stuff like made Nandroid backups and install that update.zip ROM from the SD Card.)
- The phone boots into the daldroid-recovery mode.
- We backup our original ROM to the SD Card using Nandoid, clear some settings and then install the new ROM.
- Congratulations, you have a rooted, real android phone ;)
Step by Step Instructions
Okay, now that you know the basic steps, here are the details.
- Enable USB debugging on the device in Settings->Applications->Development->”USB Debugging”
- Ensure you have the Android SDK downloaded, and the included USB driver installed correctly on your desktop.
- Download Fastboot. Since I use linux I just copied the ‘fastboot’ binary to the Android SDK’s tools directory and made it executable.
- Open up a terminal/dos prompt and “cd” to the tools directory in your Android SDK folder.
- Plug in your USB Cable.
- Run the following command:
Linux users will need to run:
sudo ./adb devices
- You should see your Android phone’s serial in the list. If you get an empty list, you need to sort out your USB driver.
- Download Daldroid’s Rooted (adb shell) Original HTC ROM for Magic and Daldroid’s Recovery Image
- Unzip the daldroid-recovery.zip file and put it in the Android SDK’s tools directory.
- Connect the phone with the USB cable and from the notifications bar, mount the SD card. Rename daldroid-htcmagic1-signed.zip to update.zip and copy it to the phone’s SD card.
- On your device, enter the bootloader FASTBOOT mode by turning off the phone and then, while it is off, pressing the volume down button while pressing the power button.
- You should get a screen with some androids on skateboards at the bottom…Give it a second to run whatever tests it runs.
- Pressing the back button will get you into FASTBOOT MODE and you should see the screen change to say ‘FASTBOOT USB’
- Type the following commands on your computer (not on the device):
fastboot boot daldroid-recovery.img
Again, Linux users will need to run:
sudo ./fastboot boot daldroid-recovery.img
- This will upload (over usb) a mini recovery image and reboot your phone… It’ll take a few seconds and you’ll be prompted with the recovery interface.
- Select ‘Nandroid Backup 2.1’ from the menu. This will write a backup of your existing system to the SD card… useful in case something goes wrong.
- Select ‘Wipe Data/factory reset’. This erases settings etc that might not be compatible with the new firmware
- Select ‘Apply sdcard:update.zip’. This essentially installs the system image from the update.zip file.
- Select ‘reboot system now’.
- Wait a long time for the first initialization. Congratulations, you have a real, rooted, Android phone with Android Market and thousands of quality apps to install.
The really nice thing about the Daldroid image is that it comes with all the APN settings etc required for Vodacom so your HSDPA will work straight away.
Recovering from a ‘Bricked’ Magic
I promised earlier I would tell you how to recover from a ‘Bricked’ Android phone… I’ve put ‘bricked’ in quotes because a lot of people seem to be thinking they’ve bricked their phones when in reality it’s quite easy to recover.
- Check if you can get to into Fastboot Mode:
- Remove the battery.
- Wait 10 seconds (or more)
- While pressing the volume down button, pop the battery back in.
- If it doesn’t turn on by itself, keep pressing the volume down button and press the power button.
- You should get the Fastboot menu.
- If you don’t get into Fastboot mode, try a few more times and then panic. I don’t know how to help you. Try Google.
- You now need to copy the right update.zip (see step 8 above) onto your SD Card. There are two ways:
- Get a usb card reader or use another cell phone that will allow you to mount the SD Card over USB and just copy it.
- or, the slightly fancier way, while your phone is in Fastboot mode run the following command on your computer (first put the new update.zip in your Android SDK tools directory):
adb push update.zip /sdcard/update.zip
Again, Linux users will need to run:
sudo ./adb push update.zip /sdcard/update.zip
This uploads the file directly onto the SD Card via USB. It takes a minute or two so do be patient.
- Now you just need to follow steps 11 though 20 from the instructions above and you should be golden.
Updated (21 June 2009) – Putting the original Vodacom ROM back
If for some or other reason you want to go back to the old version of the Vodacom ROM, you can do so quite easily.
Nandroid writes a selection of files to the SD Card:
2.5M boot.img 339K cache.img 60M data.img 256K misc.img 265 nandroid.md5 5.0M recovery.img 78M system.img
You should really make a copy of them on your local machine just in case. Once you’ve got those files on your local machine you can restore your phone using fastboot like so:
- Copy the nandroid files (*.img) from your backup into your SDK Tools Directory.
- Boot your phone into Fastboot mode (Steps 11, 12, 13) from the Step by Step guide above.
- Run the following commands from your computer:
fastboot erase system -w fastboot erase boot fastboot flash system system.img fastboot flash userdata data.img fastboot flash boot boot.img fastboot reboot
- Congratulations, you now have your old Vodacom phone back. :/
Hope this helps, feel free to ask questions.