Technology Software

Flashing Firefox OS B2G on HTC Explorer A310e/Pico

There is a lot buzz around Firefox OS in recent times and I thought of taking a peak at it.
Firefox OS, due to its open standards approach and with its strong community base, is slowly gaining momentum.
Since the device is not launched in our geography, I decided to convert one of my old HTC Android devices to Firefox OS.
Since Android device does not come with any restriction on modifying the OS, users are not bound to any copyright agreements.
So, I started looking at custom ROMs and found one for my HTC Explorer (Pico).
As mentioned in the blogs, some of the key features (like sim card detection) are not working.
But I was very keen to have first-hand experience of Firefox OS, so decided to go ahead with installing Firefox OS.
After flashing the Firefox OS on my HTC Explorer, I could see first glimpse of OS on my device.
I was very excited and started playing with Firefox OS.
But as rightly said in the blogs, I noticed that following key features are not working:
  • SIM card not detected (Unable to call/SMS)
  • Syncing contacts from GMAIL
  • Camera (Video Recording)
  • Bluetooth
  • Marketplace
I decided to find a solution to make these features work; at least I want to see my SIM card working.
After a little bit of tweaking, I was able to make few of these non-functioning features work.
For the advantage of other users like me, I thought of bringing all these workarounds under one blog.
So this article will list all the steps to be followed for flashing Firefox OS on HTC and making all the key features work.
Prerequisites:
  • Rooted 'HTC Explorer a310e'
  • Make sure that ClockWorkMod and ROM Manager are installed on the device.
  • HTC mobile must be boot loader unlock.
    [Note: While following boot loader unlock steps select "All Other Supported Models" to proceed with the further process]
  • If HTC mobile is not a rooted device, then follow the below steps to root the device:
Steps for Rooting Mobile:
  • Minimum 60% Battery backup in the phone.
  • Rootchecker:
  1. Make sure that Rootchecker is installed on the mobile device.
    Rootchecker can be downloaded from play store.
  2. Rootchecker allows the user to check whether the phone is properly rooted or not.
  • Download and install HTC sync on your computer.
  • Download A310E Recovery zip file (7.
    78 MB) for computer and extract it after downloading.
  • Download Superuser zip file (2.
    34 MB) for computer and do not extract it after downloading.
  • Install custom recovery by following the below mentioned steps:
  1. Remove and insert the phone battery.
  2. By pressing volume down and power buttons at a time enter into boot loader mode.
    (Here use volume up and down buttons for navigation and power button for selection).
  3. Now connect the mobile device to the computer via USB cable.
  4. From the desktop run recovery.
    bat file to begin the flashing process.
  • Now create a folder named "Root" in sd card and copy the downloaded Superuser.
    zip file in the Root folder
  • After completion of installation, disconnect the device from computer and reboot the device
  • Enable USB debugging in the phone
Settings -> Applications ->Development -> USB Debugging
  • Switch off phone and Reboot the mobile into Recovery Mode using this key (hold Volume Up + Power button).
  • Once entered the Recovery mode, select "install zip from SD card" and then select "choose zip from SD Card".
  • Now SD card will open and select Root folder and choose the "Superuser Zip" file that is copied in above steps.
  • Wait till installation finishes.
    Now select "Go Back" to see rooting status the phone and then "reboot" the device.
  • Now open root checker and check whether the phone is Root Access or Not.
Installing Firefox OS:
  • Download Firefox OS B2G.
  • Copy the downloaded Zip file in the root directory of the SD card.
  • Before flashing B2G it is recommended to take the backup of the existing ROM.
    To do this
  1. Power off the phone and boot into bootloader/fastboot mode by pressing power buttons volume and down simultaneously.
  2. Choose "Backup and restore" Option in the recovery mode.
    Now using phone's volume keys to scroll to the option saying "wipe data/factory reset" and press the Power button to select it.
  3. Confirm data wipe by selecting the option saying "Yes - delete all user data".
  4. Do the same for the option saying "wipe cache partition".
    Now select "wipe dalvik cache" option from "advanced" and then select "format /system" from "mounts and storage".
  5. Install the ROM package transferred to SD Card by stepping back to "Backup and Restore" and select "install Zip from SD card" option.
    Select the file copied in SD card.
  6. Once the installation process is completed, which takes just about a few minutes, "Reboot the system" to get Firefox OS.
Solutions for non-functioning features: SIM Card functioning: Since SIM card is not getting detected, we are unable to make/receive the calls and SMS.
To overcome this problem follow the below steps:
  • Go to Settings > Cellular and Data > Network Operator
  • Select automatic for network operator.
    Then the device will scan for available network operators.
    You can see that your network displayed in the list.
    It will not allow you to select your operator but will automatically detects it
  • With these settings now you will be able to make/receive a call and even SMS will also work.
    Note: SIM card indicator will still show that it is not detected but all the SIM functions will work
Syncing Contacts from GOOGLE/GMAIL: By default we will be able to import the contacts from SIM and Facebook.
But it is not providing option to sync my contacts from GMAIL.
Follow the below steps to sync the contacts with Google account:
  • Download the "Importer" app from the Firefox market place and install it
  • On launching the 'importer' app, it will check with the configured Google account and prompt the total number of contacts that are found.
  • Just click on the import contacts button and all the contacts from Google account will be imported.
Functions that worked for me:
  • In some blogs, it is said that SD card is not getting accessed, but I am able to read and write to SD card
  • Initially I was unable to open marketplace and after few attempts I was able to open it and install applications from marketplace.
Issues yet to be resolved:
  • It is not showing the sim card icon (but just ignore it - SIM is detected).
  • Bluetooth and
  • Video recording

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