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Currently I have an iPhone (ancient 2G), and have just bought a Dell Mini3i (600RMB with an 18month contract @ China Telecom), as I donated my 3G iPhone to one of the extended family back home.

The Mini3i runs an Android variant called OPhone.

The 3i is a little underwhelming software wise.

Its quite crap at the moment as its sitting on Android 1.0 (OPhone 1.0), but for all intents and purposes Android = Ophone its pretty much the same underneath.

There are a bunch of similar phones to this – the Lenovo O1, LG GW880, Motorola something or other (can’t be hassled to go look) etc.

While I haven’t rooted mine just yet, I have been playing around, and reading the Chinese forums.

Boot loader appears to be similar on all the devices – its made by BORQ’s in Beijing, and appears to be quite basic.

Motorola and O1 seem to have the best support for now, the main problem in the Chinese forums is people bitching about being stuck on older versions.

Some are running 1.6, most on 1.5, and the unlucky few 1.0 “Ophone”
2.0 and 2.1 has yet to hit the mainstream here.

There are people with N1/G5’s (Nexus 1 / HTC G5) on 2.1 though (yes, thats you in Beijing Tom!), pretty much any phone is available, although anything with wifi is essentially grey import from overseas (HK mostly)

Back to the phone –

Thankfully you can install any apps as apk’s, no need to hack for that – so its fairly easy to get info on the innards.

RootExplorer is your friend ๐Ÿ™‚

RootExplorer also allows you to remount partitions r/w, so root access is fairly easy too. There are precompiled su binaries for 1.5 out there, although I’ve yet to do my phone.

The Dell mini3 is running on a Marvell Tabor. Fast chip, nice touchscreen, decent resolution, just crap on 1.0.

Firmware files for most of the “ophones” (except motorola) are mff files.

The mff files appear to just be compressed images with instructions for how to write the various partitions out.

eg the Lenovo O1 mff has this in the “mff” zip

2010/02/25 10:53 147,111,936 factory_CHERRY.fbf
2010/02/25 10:53 249 factory_CHERRY.mff.mlt
2010/02/25 10:53 364 JADE_EVB_RawNANDx16.ini
2010/02/25 10:53 327 magic_fbf.ini
2010/02/25 10:53 2,692 magic_fbf_inner.ini
2010/02/25 10:53 10,236,719 mfw.pac
2010/02/25 10:53 54,180 MHLV_NTDKB_h.bin
2010/02/25 10:53 176 MHLV_NTDKB_TIM.bin
2010/02/25 10:53 858 NTIM_td.ini

magic_fbf_inner.ini has the layout

[INTEL_FLASH_DEVICE_INPUT_FILE]
Number_of_Images=24

[IMAGE_HEADER_0]
Start_Address=0x240000
Image_Length=0x40000
EraseBlocks=1
WriteImage=0
VerifyWrite=0

[IMAGE_HEADER_1]
Start_Address=0x6900000
Image_Length=0xf00000
EraseBlocks=1
WriteImage=0
VerifyWrite=0

(etc)

Different phones have different firmware writing software, the Motorola’s are using RSDLite, LG – SML_OMS, CTHall, others something homegrown called Firebolt, which is written by BORQS. I have all the firmware tools already, despite the Ophone8 forums lack of courtesy in sharing, grrr.

Most firmware tools appear similar though functionality wise.
Haven’t played around inside the phone yet to see if its easy to get jtag access, although that was mostly because i couldn’t work out how to remove the top part without breaking it.

If anyone wants more info, or a firmware dump let me know.

Hopefully there is some interest out there in the English speaking world for these!