Weekend project: Hands on a Jelly Bean

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As far as weekend projects go this was a great one. Last weekend I spent some time upgrading my Galaxy Nexus to the latest version of Google’s mobile OS, Jelly Bean. Also known as version 4.1, the latest release has a slew of new features that add up to something I could not wait for.

Currently most Android devices are not able to get Jelly Bean, most of which are due to delays from carriers holding up the release. For those who live on the bleeding edge of technology, you’ll know the feeling of not having the latest and greatest.

To get the release early, you will need to venture down the unofficial route of rooting and unlocking your device. This is a process I had looked at, but never done before. In the iOS world, jailbreaking is now as simple as visiting a website and following the steps, so I expected the Android experience to be similar.

It turns out the process is not as stream lined on Android, but there is plenty of guidance available. After following instructions from http://www.xda-developers.com I grabbed a copy of the Galaxy Nexus Root Toolkit. The first attempt at unlocking the device didn’t work, basically due to having the incorrect drivers installed. After trying a second time it was successful.


I had also learned of an app available in the Google Play store called ClockworkMod which allowed you to flash images to the phone. I had downloaded the image for Jelly Bean from Google’s Android site, as I mentioned earlier, it has been released, but Telstra isn’t yet pushing the update.

ClockwordMod needs an unlocked device to do its work, so after that was complete it was smooth sailing. Or so I thought. The first attempt at installing Jelly Bean via ClockwordMod resulted in the phone looping at during the boot screen. Immediately the blood pressure started rising at the prospect of a bricked device. After a little more research, I discovered this isn’t uncommon and usually repaired by reflashing. I decided to put it back to 4.0.4 (actually still a few point releases after the 4.0.1 I started with).

The phone booted up again successfully and the blood pressure subsided. Not content with being back to where I started, I tried again to push Jelly Bean which this time worked successfully! So basically what I learnt from this process was to read, read, read, then read some more. The hardest part was making sure all USB drivers were uninstalled and the correct ones were installed so the device could be unlocked.

I’ll have a full review of Jelly Bean at a later date, but overall I can say project butter has been a big success. The update was definitely worth it for the extra speed and silkiness of the UI. The new notifications and Google’s Siri competitor are also great additions.

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