Monday, March 2, 2015

Breathing life into sluggish Android devices: Samsung Galaxy Fame GT-S6810P

Another departure from all things Japanese to talk about making technology easier to manage. In particular, I want to commit to writing the method for installing a fresh operating system on the Samsung Galaxy Fame GT-S6810P (before I forget it). Off-the-shelf, it is atrociously slow, but it can be improved a lot by installing Cyanogenmod 11 on it (nothing miraculous, but it feels much more responsive).

All of the necessary information can be found on this thread; however, having never tampered with my phone at all, it took me a while to get the job done, plus having just installed cyanogenmod on my Nexus 7 I had gotten cockey and by skipping a step got the "status 7" error, which was caused by having the wrong recovery for this installation (see below).

Before proceeding, as with the thread above, you tamper with your phone at your own discretion, preferably with a backup phone on-hand in case you screw up, because I can't help you if you do. Phones come in many models, and some may not be compatible with the following instructions, if you attempt to tamper with your phone without being sure you wont brick it, then it is ultimately your fault when it dies.

0a) Turn on USB debugging on the phone
0b) Get a copy of adb.  You can use adb by going to the command prompt, navigating to the folder where you have adb, and then just typing adb and a command. E.g.
cd C:\Path\To\ADB
 adb devices
the "adb devices" command queries for the plugged in android devices. If you dont see your phone on the list, you will need the USB drivers for the phone.
0c) Get the USB drivers for your phone! I'm not sure if I needed them, since adb recognized my phone without them, but I installed them anyway, so I recommend it.
1) I downloaded ODIN 3.07 (don't forget to virus scan the file, and be careful where you download ODIN, as my internet security went haywire on a couple of sites).
2) I followed the instructions on this post
   2a) I flashed CWM6 using ODIN (turn off the phone. Plug the phone in, then hold the power, home and vol down buttons at the same time - keep holding until the download mode appears - then, in ODIN, add the CWM6 tar file to the PDA section of ODIN and click start)
  2b) in command prompt I ran adb like so:
          adb reboot recovery
  2c) this reboots the phone into CWM6, a recovery system. From here you can sideload a second recovery which is either more compatible with the phone, or more compatible with the Fame version of Cyanogenmod 11. This is achieved by selecting the menu option to install a zip by sideload, then use adb again:

adb sideload C:\Path\To\Recovery\
and when that is finished:
adb reboot recovery 
  2d) install cyanogenmod through sideload again:
adb sideload C:\Path\To\Cyanogenmod\
  3) At this point, I rebooted the phone (adb reboot) to check that it was usable. Sure enough everything was working. However, there were no google apps. Thankfully, the author provides a link to the google apps on his post (same post as before). This can be installed by sideloading as before (reboot into recovery, then use adb to sideload it in)

Now my phone works better than it has ever worked before. It's slowed back down a little after I choked it with all my "must have" apps, but it is still faster than before the tampering.

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