Thursday, November 10, 2011

Switched to Wind Mobile... how to Root and Flash an Optimus 2X (G2X).

I switched to Wind Mobile for my cell phone service two days ago. The big news here is the plan I switched to... I was paying $60/month through Koodo ($25 plan, $10 CD/VM/Text add-on, $25 2GB data add-on). I will now be paying $29/month (yes, less than half!) and I'll have unlimited calling, unlimited texting, and unlimited data. My home phone and Internet are now both through my cell phone.

Incidentally, I actually called Koodo first, to give them a chance to retain me as a customer. They offered me nothing. So, duh, of course they've lost me. I'm better off with Wind, but I probably would've stayed for convenience if Koodo had made me an offer.  That being said, if you don't live in a Wind zone, Koodo's still your best deal for a cell phone at the moment.

So... while the monthly plan is the big news, the big bonus with switching is that I have an incredible new phone, the LG Optimus 2X (which is actually a G2X... more on that in a moment). This phone has a dual-core processor, 4" Gorilla Glass screen, 8 GB internal memory and a microSD slot, 8mp camera that records in full HD... it's quite nice.

While the phone is very good stock, it does come loaded with only Android version 2.2.2. I'm a complete geek, so I needed the latest version (faster, better battery life, more customization, etc).

To save you the blood, sweat, and tears I went through with what should be an easy process, here's a guide to rooting and updating the ROM in your Wind Optimus 2X(G2X):


This part is easy. It requires two things: USB Debugging must be checked in Settings-Applications-Development, and you must have a microSD card installed. Then just download and install GingerBreak, run it, and you'll be rooted in a few seconds.  (Just download it in an Android browser, open the file from the browser, and Android will prompt you to install it.)

Install ClockWorkMod Recovery

If you install the ClockworkMod Recovery utility via ROM Manager (installable via Market), then ROM Manager will ask you for your phone model.  This is the part where I'm going to save you from the hell I went through... DO NOT select LG Optimus 2X!  If you do, you end up in a boot loop, staring at the LG logo (not fun!).  You need to select the T-Mobile LG G2X for your model.  It's the same phone in every way that counts, but there's a minor enough difference that you're stuck if you don't know that you're dealing with a G2X instead of a 2X.  Remembering that you've got a G2X, not a 2X, will save you much aggravation.

You're not done, though.  ROM Manager just sets you up with what is essentially a redirect... you'll only be able to launch ClockworkMod from a phone that's booted without problems.  In order to be able to launch ClockworkMod by holding down Power and Volume Down while booting your phone, you need to flash it using One-Click ClockworkMod Recovery Flasher.  It's an easy process, and will save you from thinking you've bricked your phone.  ;-)

Now that you've got ClockworkMod installed, it's easy to switch from one ROM to another.  Just make sure you backup your current ROM first before you do anything!

Flash a ROM

The G2X is a phone that's officially supported by CyanogenMod.  CyanogenMod is a ROM based on the latest release of the Android operating system (which is open source).  The CyanogenMod developers then tweak it for performance and ensure it runs on various phone models.  Unfortunately, as of this writing, when I flashed CyanogenMod 7 (CM7), neither the stable nor nightly version allowed my 3G data to connect.  Everything else worked fine, just not the essential part.  ;-)  From what I've read, I suspect it's a baseband issue. (Note: The nightly CM7 #197 now works correctly.)

However, there's good news.  There's a CM7 based ROM called EaglesBlood (sorry, I have no control over the bizarre names people come up with) that does work in every way.  The version that worked for me without any issues is EaglesBlood 2.4.  (Note: Your mileage may vary, but EaglesBlood worked perfectly for me for about a day before data quit... thankfully the new CM7 nightly now works.)

Download the EaglesBlood .zip file to the root directory of your SD card as well as the Google apps package, then power down your phone and power up in ClockworkMod Recovery holding Power and Volume Down. Once you're in the recovery screen, you can scroll up and down using your volume up/down buttons, or the menu and home buttons.  To select something, use the Search button.  Assuming you've already got a backup, you'll want to do a Data Wipe/Factory Reset, Cache Wipe, then under Advanced do a Dalvik Cache wipe (there's probably some redundancy in there, but you want to clear out what's on the phone by default).  Then you're going to install a file from .Zip... simply choose your EaglesBlood file and flash it, then do the same thing with the Google apps package.  Once you've done that, reboot the phone.

Congratulations, you're now running an optimized version of Gingerbread 2.3.7!  You'll see a big improvement in performance, battery life, and customizability over the Froyo 2.2.2 which ships with the phone.

Note:  Hopefully everything went smoothly for you... the above was learned through the stressful process of thinking I'd bricked my phone a couple times.  ;-)  However, you flash a new ROM at your own risk.  I think it's pretty hard to permanently brick your phone, but you can set yourself up for a few hours of stress if you screw up.  I DO NOT provide tech support!  If you experience problems, just remember that Google is your friend, and that XDA is the place for all things Android.

Addendum: As of nightly #197, Cyanogenmod is now working correctly with this phone.  Follow the same instructions as above, just substituting the CM7 .zip file.  Cyanogenmod is the leading after-market Android ROM, so it's what I recommend.

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