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THOUGHT: Only use the appropriate ROM for your Pocket PC and Smartphone
Posted by Arne Hess - on Sunday, 06.07.03 - 15:01:10 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 5945x
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Since the introduction of Pocket PC 2002 all Pocket PCs has a flashable ROM which makes it easy for Microsoft and the OEMs to provide updates, upgrades and fixes (something we know as EUU = End User Upgrade). However, that days it also began that some OEMs provided EUUs earlier than others and the users started to mix-up EUUs like using an iPAQ EUU on a Jornada.
Even more dramatically is it if you use Pocket PC Phone Edition EUUs on difference devices like a GSM 900/1800 EUU for the xda on a GSM 900/1900 device from AT&T Wireless since you might screw up the radio module.

The latest developments here was using Smartphone ROM upgrades from carriers on a different device. Currently Orange and Smart are releasing their updates in short time frames, however if you install a Smart ROM on an Orange Smartphone you might completely screw your phone like happened in the past days with the latest Smart 1.50 ROM upgrade. It completely locks down your device and if you are not in the Philippines and a Smart customer you shouldn't try to "upgrade" to the Smart ROM.

According to my information I got from the Philippines the new ROM prevents SIM unlocking of the Smart Amazing Phone (and even of the SPV if you installed it on it - as far as I've heard) and it will lock previously unlocked Smartphones as well.

The Smartphone forums are full cries for help to fix screwed devices so be aware - flashing devices with ROMs which wasn't designed for that device (doesn't matter if Pocket PC, Pocket PC Phone Edition or Smartphone) might completely screw up your device!

Cheers ~ Arne


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Posted by Wolfgang Irber on 06.07.03 - 20:08:50

Well Arne,  That's a good point. But on the other hand, the despairing user cannot be really blamed for!  Microsoft marketing makes us wanting the new software, telling us all about the new features which make "life richer" and the planet a better one, but you won't get the upgrade from MS, you get it from your vendor: with often more than less delay...

My personal opinion, MS AND the vendors have to revise their strategy in upgrading Pocket PCs. It's just VERY bad management how it's done right now...

Cheers W

Posted by Arne Hess on 06.07.03 - 20:16:27

Wolfgang, I think he can be blamed. If I drive an Audi I'm not going to try parts of a BMW engine just because both are cars - I know it's different. Same for me with Pocket PCs - both are Pocket PCs, right but with different drivers and accessories, etc. So expecting that the EUU from one OEM works on a different device is careless; specially if you start to mix up devices and carriers.

You use an xda on the O2 network - for example - but would you go and install a ROM from T-Mobiles MDA on it, just because both came from HTC? I wouldn't do it so I wonder why folks come along and install a Smart Amazing Phone (Tanager) ROM from Smart Philippines on an Orange SPV (Canary) which even isn't used with an Orange network but a completely different one.

So it's not Microsoft, nor the OEMs it's simply the customer/user. Sometimes you have to be patient as long as your OEM hasn't released the EUU or other ROMs. That's life...

Posted by Wolfgang Irber on 06.07.03 - 23:15:22

Arne, let´s meet us somewhere in the middle.

I am seeing it just from the end user perspective, you from the software developers´perspective. Why should - from the end user perspective - the software that is running on a MDA not do the same on a XDA? Being labelled the same and providing the same feel & look?

Getting back to your example, Audi and BWM are really quite different, aren't they?

Just by seeing that people try doing the software mix, the OEMs and MS appear to fail in running a proper information policy. It's just about communication...

Anyway, I am going to wait till o2 has released the upgrade. But this is an annoying point too: even within the same company, o2 UK may release the upgrade at a different time than o2 Germany or Ireland.  How does it appear to the customer?

XDA / MDA user are generally technically quite experienced and willing to try things out. They are browsing the internet and reading in newsgroups.

Hoping to find workarounds for many of the quite annoying bugs. Why are they not treated this way? The information policy from o2 could definitely be improved (t-mobile as well). They are not even saying at which time I may expect to get the upgrade. If I just imagine all XDA / MDA user had to rely on the customer support from o2 / t-mobile...

Everytime I was calling, I didn´t really find a technically savvy person at the other end. I am absolutely happy with my xda, but would NOT recommand it to my girl friend unless she want's to be a carrier's guinea pig.

Anyway, I am again off track, and back to the cars: I am sure that parts of a BMW engine work perfectly fine in an Audi, it is just the matter which ones you choose... :-))))))))))

Cheers W

Posted by Arne Hess on 06.07.03 - 23:46:50

Here is my insight on the matter.

Let's look at the ROM updates of the XDA and the one form AT&T... these are totally different devices as the radio modules are different... of course if the update came from Microsoft directly, they wouldn't address upgrades to the radio modules too... so it is then passed to the Telcos to distribute them... Now if I were to use the XDA upgrade on an AT&T device... I'm simply fitting a wrong ROM image on the device which will simply screw up the radio module.

Similarly with the case of the SMART Aazing Phone which currently has the latest ROM for download.  The ROM is designed for the SMART Network, anyone else who tries this ROM fora smartphone other than that which runs on SMART's Network is bound to have a useless device locked to a network halfway across the world.

It is the warning that these vendors already post along with the updates which so many have ignored. I remember every download warning that states "Only use with X device" or "Not to be used on any other device". Why do people ignore such warnings?

One can clearly see that an iPAQ and a Cassiopeia are totally different devices,  but why do they still risk it?

Every Pocket PC has its own firmware in addition to the OS supplied by Microsoft... then isn't it obvious that such warnings may hold some validity?

Users have been warned time and again... now who is to blame for such screw ups?

On the other hand, it would be nice if Microsoft wold release OS updates which are independent of Firmware updates from vendors... How possible is this? Well it is very possible... and hopefully it happens...

Mabuhay! ~ Carlo

Posted by DubWireless on 07.07.03 - 01:03:25

It would be a good for the ROM upgrade process to have to match to the particular device before proceeding with the actual update to try and stop this issue. So that it would not be possible for a ROM to be loaded onto a device it was not intended (developed) for. When the ROM matches with the correct device's then the upgrade could take place.

I've seen some messages of people in the US trying the O2 developer release of Windows Mobile for PPCPE 2003 for the XDA, but after flashing their MDA it reports that the OS is not intended for the device in use. If the upgrade process had to initially pass a device matching step then maybe it could help with the issue.

Curiosity and not being aware of the consequences will always get the better of some people - better to take the burden/action from the user and into the upgrade process.


Posted by Marc Zimmermann on 07.07.03 - 07:17:38

DubWireless: The HTC ROM installers check for matching languages and I am quite sure device types as well. At least they're doing a pretty strict job in trying to prevent changing the ROM language.

This, however, does not keep people from messing around and actually patching the ROM images with a hex editor in order to circumvent the checks performed by the installer.

As far as I see it, people will always try to work around such protections and install ROMs that are not intended for that device. I don't think that a manufacturer is to blame here at all.

Posted by DubWireless on 07.07.03 - 13:54:35

Hi Marc - Thanks for the info the HTC language check, good to see them doing some checks.

I'd agree with you the manufacturers aren't to blame, but perhaps a modified upgrade process could help rule out a large number of these mis-matched installs.

I understand people can go in and mess/hack a ROM image. Someone who installes a ROM then didn't get from an official source is taking an even bigger risk as not only is the ROM not for their device they don't know where it's from (who knows what else the person who messes/hacked it has done). Sure most anything can be hacked, it's the number and intelligence of obsticles you put up in the way that is your defense.

I would still think it worthwhile to have this device check provided in those ROMS available for download by those manufacturers/vendors. It would give the casual end user who can easily find/download an official ROM less opportunity of installing it to their device (and I'd wager there are more of those who try than those who would be more 'diehard' to seek out and install a hacked 'unofficial' ROM).


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