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Installing custom roms and backing up the T-mobile Pulse (Huawei)

by mat on December 21st, 2009

The chaps over at the modaco forums have detailed how to backup and replace the firmware on the android T-mobile pulse. This post aims to consolidate and link all the information in these posts and provide a few explanations.

tmobile pulse

tmobile pulse

Definitions
Rom – a file which contains the image for a particular version of android
Nand memory – the internal memory of the phone which contains android
flashing – replacing the contents of the Nand memory
root – superuser or admin

Gaining root access
This follows the forum post here

  • Download superboot and unzip.
  • Reboot your phone into bootloader mode (Power off your phone then turn it on with volume down and the red button pressed). You should be presented with a blue screen and some information, connect your pulse to your computer via the usb cable.
  • Windows – Run ‘install-superboot-windows.bat’
  • Mac – Run ‘./install-superboot-mac.sh’, You may need to make the script executable by using ‘chmod +x install-superboot-mac.sh’
  • Linux – Same as above ‘./install-superboot-linux.sh’ and ‘chmod +x install-superboot-linux.sh’. These commands will most likely need root access so you may need to prepend these commands with ‘sudo ‘.
  • You should now see your pulse has some text on the screen with information about how much data was transfered.
  • Reboot (by taking the battery out) and you should now have root access on your phone

Installing and running recovery tool
This follows the forum post here.

  • The process is the same as above but using a different zip file: recovery
  • Once rebooted, you will need to install the ‘quickboot’ program from the market app. This will allow you to boot into recovery mode (this require root access which we have previously attained)
  • Using the recovery tool you can backup your android using Nandroid, this will only save the Nand memory not any of your settings.
  • The backup will by default save the backup to your SD card, you can then enable usb transfer in the recovery menu and save this to your computer.

Partitioning your SD card
The SD card may need to be partitioned in preparation for the custom rom.

  • From the recovery menu you can partition your SD card.
  • By default the size of the swap partition (used as “extra”-RAM by android) is 32mb however the current MoDaCo Custom ROM’s will not boot properly if there is a swap drive on the SD card
  • The MoDaCo roms also allow an ext2 partition to be made for applications in order to free internal memory.

Installing Custom Roms
Now the SD card is partitioned we can go about installing the new version of android to our pulse. We simply upload the rom zip onto the SD card and select the update option from the recovery mode. The first boot after this is done will take a while to transfer all the apps to your SD card.

Currently there are two roms from MoDaCo, one Customised Vanilla android 1.5 and a Customised T-mobile 1.5. They contain useful extra tools and include ssh access (with the password for ssh contained in the about screen).

Future
Hopefully there will soon be a rom will be release with a updated version of android 1.6 or 2.0 which can be flashed onto the pulse to bring all the new and improve features described here. Recent discussions have hinted at multi-touch becoming a reality once the kernel sources are released (they are now released)

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