It happens once in a while: your current device, of which you really take care, does seem to have technical problems. You search the internet, desperately trying to find a cure. But in the end, you will have to admit: bring it in for repair, which basically means you will not have a phone for the next three weeks (at least). How to solve this?
You can ask around in your personal net, whether someone might have a device eating dust on an empty shelf. It has to be Android, because of the fact all your contacts are at Google’s, not on your SIM. No one has one. You ask again, and then, some one turns up with an ancient Samsung Galaxy Apollo (GT-i5800). After a while, an HTC Legend comes available too. Both devices run Android 2.2 Froyo. You have a few days left between Christmas and New Year’s Day and want to give both phones a second life. So, how do you do it?
In my case, I had the Samsung first. It has a Samsung S5P6422 667MHz processor, 512MB ROM, 256 RAM and a 240×400 pixel TFT screen. Initially it ran Android 2.1 Eclair, but I had a lot of tweaking to perform to get 3G working, so I updated to 2.2 Froyo quickly. Still I had problems with 3G, so I decided to root the Apollo in order to flash a custom ROM. It’s easy to root, I used SuperOneClick for it. Then after, I used Odin to flash a custom ROM called Kyrillos, which is a CyanogenMod CM7 based port. It runs fluently, with the processor overclocked at 1000MHz.
All the steps taken aren’t difficult. Only thing is SuperOneClick and Odin only run on Windows. Just read all the manuals thoroughly and show yourself a little courage.
So I was ready to use this as my daily phone, but it didn’t really satisfy. The screen has a small resolution and isn’t very bright. And it’s very, very plastic build. Then I got an HTC Legend. This is a device I do like: the aluminum unibody with the kinked and curved bottom. The Legend has a Qualcomm MSM7227 600MHz ARM 11 processor, 512MB ROM, 384 RAM and 320×480 AMOLED screen.
I was determined to get this one rooted too, just for fun and to get it upgraded to a non Froyo ROM. I did a lot of reading on the CyanogenMod website first, which has a Wiki on the Legend, and several forums than after. Rooting the Legend in the early days seemed a tough job, with creating a Gold Card and typing a lot of commands using the CMD on Windows. Searching and reading on, I found a more recent way with just three steps. This would be easy.
But I had to unlock the bootloader first! HTC has provided in a Bootloader Unlock Service, using the HTC Developer site. It is available for the Legend, but in my case I had to downgrade my ROM first, using an HTC RUU (ROM Update Utility), a tool that in a certain way is similar to Samsun’s Odin. Once downgraded I should have been able to unlock my bootloader easily, carefully following the manual. Again I met difficulties, I had to try several times before HTC agreed and sent me the bin file I needed to unlock the bootloader. After that rooting went pretty easy using HTCSuperTools (which isn’t native HTC) and could I flash CMW as a custom recovery, after which flashing a CM7 Nightly as a custom ROM was just routine. As usual, I customized both the home screens on the Samsung and the HTC using ADW launcher with MetroStation icon pack.
I still have to wait for my Nexus One to get back from repair. But in the meanwhile, I had some fun playing around with two outdated Android devices. Other ROMs besides the ones I chose can be found here for the Samsung and here for the HTC. The HTC Legend is my daily, and though it has limited power, it’s not a device to be ashamed of. It fits in quite well.