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  • X96 unbranded firmware with some fixes

    After a lot of swearing, flashing, more swearing and flashing I finally managed to create a fully unbranded system that can be installed through TWRP.
    If you still know how the original X96 looks with the original firmware you will be surprised








    What has changed from the branded firmware:
    Bootlogo original S905X.
    Google bootanimation - that was the hardest part, allowing for a custom animation...
    Media Box Launcher unbranded and with unbranded theme.
    Unbranded Kodi completely removed so the rom will comply with all piracy laws and restrictions - more in the added apps section.
    OTA updater removed.
    All programs from the branded version removed, so no social media, Chrome, Netflix and so on.
    Apart from the naked system with Google apps I included:
    AdAway
    ADW Launcher
    XMBC Laucher for Kodi
    File browser replaced by FX filemanager
    Power Menu added - still requires to root the box! More under added apps.

    Added apps and modifications:
    Kodi was removed, but the install script for the addon packs is still valid.
    The script no longer refers to the system folder but to /sdcard/apps
    This means if you decide to install Kodi you can place the tar.gz archive for the addons in the apps folder of the internal SD.
    Kodi itself is not included.
    All fixes for the wireless keyboards fixed!
    This means now the ENTER or OK key will do just that without any unwanted characters instead.
    I also added the IR remotes Power function to the WiFi keyboard - press F12 and you can power down directly.
    If you need this power feature included into other controllers instead of using the Power Menu app let me know.
    The additional apps I thought to be of use will be in the apps folder of the internal SD.
    In FX file explorer it is called "Main Storage".
    Here you will find:
    Chrome
    Facebook
    Netflix
    Skype
    SuperSU by Chainfire
    Twitter
    VLC for Android


    How to install SuperSU:
    All modifications to the boot image, scripts, libraries and so on are done and included.
    This means the system is rooted except for the actual Superuser app.
    Install from the apps folder and let the binary update, once done reboot and enjoy.


    Installation of the ROM:
    As before wipe all through TWRP then install the ZIP file from extracted RAR archive - so unpack the RAR first to your SD card.
    Installation through TWRP does take a few minutes due to the hash verification.
    Since all included apps are integrated into the system the first boot is a bit faster compared to the above ROM.
    And the additional apps land on the internal SD for everyone to choose or delete if not wanted.
    Please allow about 5 minutes after after the launcher selection appeared before you actually start using the apps - some things are still installing in the background!
    Once you finnished the network and personal setup of accounts and such bott into TWRP and make a full backup in case you need it.
    A factory reset will set you back to the point of the installation of the rom - so no SuperSU and the added apps folder might be gone too.

    Known bugs:
    Just noticed the WiFi is not available at first activation.
    As the chipset is identified during activation you might have to select the network twice until you see WiFi available.

    Download from Filefactory

    Update 10/05/2017:
    The Beta 3 is here along with a Fully Naked Rom.
    The Beta 3 has Supersu now integrated and some apps moved into system space by default instead of having them as user apps.
    The system space for both versions is increased to the 1536mb of the original, unbranded firmware.
    Let me know if you find anything missing I should add or if something is not fully working.

    Update 17/07/2017:
    Thanks to the guys in Chine there is a new original firmware available.
    To spare everyone the pain of waiting several days for a download from Baidu to complete I uploaded the pack to Filefactory.
    You can find it here.
    Unpack the RAR to your SD and boot into (original) recovery with your favourite toothpick in the AV port.
    Be aware: This is the original and unmodified factory OTA update!
    Changes from the last OTA:
    New launcher with "KD Player" - a modified Kodi17 version.
    Possibly with several fixes for the Amlogic SOC - I did not check though.
    Default X96 bootanimation can't be changed.
    We now have a notification shade and nav bar available.

    Cleaned OTA - Beta 4:
    All bloat in the form of added and possibly not fully legal apps removed.
    Preinstalled apps moved to the internal SD for installation, the used system space will be deleted right after.
    KD Player still included.
    Chrome from the original included together with Ad Away.
    Filebrowser replaced with FX File browser.
    Kernel and system fully rooted with SuperSu preinstalled for your convinience.
    Latin IME replaced by a better PC style Keyboard.
    Keyboard fixes for the Enter button and shutdown using F12.
    OTA and FOTA apps removed. (since they would detect a modified system there is no use to try getting any OTA updates).
    You can download the archivefor the Beta 4 here. (once fully uploaded that is)
    A modified version with more launchers or apps won't follow as you can download what you need.
    If someone can tell me how big the system image (original) for the 1GB is then I could provide this great update for those devices as well.

    Beta 5 for those who like to do their own thing and finally those with just 1GB of system space.
    But even if the OTA name suggests 1 and 2GB X96 boxes I doubt the genuine ones come with 1GB as this OTA update needs more than 1GB on the system partition.
    So I removed all bloat and added apps to get down to below 1GB and sized the system image as small as possible.
    On a 1GB it should install just fine and report the usual size, on a 2GB system same story.
    All removed apps and additional ones can be found in this archive - just unpack to SD and install with FX.
    If you feel the need for even more mods you can try this Xposed version for the X96.
    Unpack to your SD, flash the ZIP through TWRP install the Xposed installer after the next boot.
    Use Xposed at your own risk and peril, I only confirm it installs fine and seems to allow using certain modules.
    I won't give support for Xposed as I don't really use it but thought it might be useful for others.
    Just to be clear: The Beta 5 can be used the same way as the Beta 4 but should work on 1GB systems as well.
    You need to install everything apart from FX, included Gapps and the keyboard fixes yourself from the above archive!
    For those on the Beta 4 or any previos beta the apps in the archive can be used too.

    Libreelec for the X96.
    How to:
    Be aware all data on the SD/USB stick will be gone, so use an empty one
    Download the above archive and unpack to your PC somewhere.
    Use Rufus to get the LibreELEC-S905.arm-8.0-8.0.1j.img.gz image on a SD or USB stick, I used a USB stick in the port next to the SD slot.
    Then copy the dtb.img over to the the SD/stick, overwriting the existing file!
    Plug into the box and use a toothpick during boot, once you see the logo you can remove the toothpick and Libreelec will start shortly after.
    Follow the instructions on the screen for the basic setup and enjoy Kodi right after.
    Did not try any install on the internal memory, but can confirm it works fine from USB.

    Videoboot
    With this version you can use a MP4 video file instead of a bootanimation.
    Works with sound of course and should support every MP4 video the normal video player can play.
    For your own video simply replace the bootvideo.mp4 in the systems media folder.

    Update 04/06/2017: Finally with Open GAPPS!
    The X96 showed some real resistance to overcome the chinese limitations and to allow a working installation of updated Google Apps.
    As I already spent a lot of days trying to get it to work I only focussed on Open GAPPS but no manual install or the XIAOMI Gapps installer.
    With the troubles in the beginning I created a way of installing it all that worked with no errors for me - I suggest to follow it before you try other ways.
    This Beta is right now considered to be in an experimental stage until users provided enough feedback to confirm it indeed works fine.
    All is based on a naked and slightly modified Beta 5.
    The system itself is pretty much naked except for the usual fixes, everything that could make troubles was removed, this includes:
    Camera, video and music, wallpapers and so on - install what you want and need through the playstore once all is working.
    Main reason for this was to avoid problems with the GAPPS package and to allow the use on 1GB systems as well.
    How to install:
    Unpack the RAR archive to your favourite SD card or USB stick.
    Plug into the box and start with a toothpick - TWRP will show up.
    Go to Wipe, Advanced Wipe and wipe Dalvik/Art cache, Data, Internal Storage and Cache.
    Go back and install the X96-no-gapps archive and add the opend gapps archive into the line.
    Upgrading the neural network takes a few minutes, once the AI is fully operational the GAPPS package will install.
    Simply ignore the fact that some of the listed apps will not be available, like Faceunlock - this is due to the removed camera and other things but also because of our harware platform.
    After that reboot.
    If all goes well and the intial boot goes well you can simply follow the on screen instructions from the wizard.
    In case after 10 minutes the Google animation is still going you have to try again but with a different approach (50/50 chance for the first to work).
    Start over with a another wipe as above, then install only the X96-no-gapps firmware.
    Reboot and do your usual setup of network and screen settings - don't start any apps or mess with SuperSu yet!
    Once all is good reboot into the TWRP recovery and install the Open GAPPS package.
    Reboot.
    Now all should go according to plan.
    Troubleshooting and additional infos:
    If neither the first nor the second way of installing works for I suspect that your previous ROM was not based on mine or the OTA firmware.
    In this case try one of my other beta firmwares if the included firmware itself already failed to boot.
    The initial connection to Google can take 4-5 minutes instead of the advertised 2 minutes, so please allow 5 minutes before you panic.
    The additional Google apps are not available at this stage and the loading will stay on the screen until you click next - simply add whatever Google app you need from the playstore.
    This included Google Music and Google Play TV.
    Again: no additional apps of any kind are included, I suggest to use VLC for audio and video or simply whatever you prefer.
    Oh, before you ask: Navbar and notification shade are active and working.
    Allow some time and check the notification shade for the updates once the system is running, I did not include all updated versions at this stage.
    Download the new Beta 6 - Gapps version.

    Update 15/11/2017:
    They finally released another update, got available two days ago but file date is a bit older.
    You can check on the Baidu servers yourself if you like Baidu X96 Downloads
    Password there is: hp7u
    Download as a RAR from Filefactory.
    Once I find some time I will check if and what fixes are needed that I can do.
    Last edited by Downunder 35m; 11-14-2017, 22:49.

  • #2
    is this for 1/8 or for 2/16 hardware?
    no slide notification from top? cause its so difficult if i download smethinks and no progress bar
    ​​​​​​

    Comment


    • #3
      It is for the 2/16GB version, I have no 1/8 available for testing.
      And so far I did not include a notification or menu bar either, just had no need for it.
      But thinking of a complete change by replacing most of the rom in favour for the Google Nexus look.
      Just needs a lot of time to exchange rom parts embedded that deep into a system and not 100% sure if my skillset is high enough for the task.

      Comment


      • #4
        I did some more tests last night and it is certainly possible to create a beta for 1GB systems as well as 2GB versions.
        Just for the bigger packages the 1GB models will miss out.
        But the actual hardware got me thinking...
        AFAIK the only difference on the S905 platforms is that the 1/8gb models use one memory chip, where the 2gb ones use two.
        Would love to see what happens if someone would just use a reflow station to add the missing chip...

        My plans for next beta:
        Move all added and vital apps into the system space instead of installing them as user apps.
        Include SuperSU directly into the rom.
        Remove the Media Box launcher and only leave the ADW launcher - please feedback for this one if you want to keep the unmodded version of the Media box launcher!
        Remove the Power menu as it is no longer required - F12 on the keyboard shuts the box down.
        Offer three versions: 1GB, 2GB and "fully naked" - the last with all apps except FX and SuperSU removed, including all Google apps (for those wanting to modify all aspects of the system themself).

        After I get the above working as planned:
        Create a rom with the Android TV launcher (Leanback) and the same look and feel as on the Nexus player.
        Will take some time as first I need to clean the system for the naked version and then by some magic get the full TV gapps package working.
        Let's see how that goes LOL

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for all of your work on this! My X96 boxes haven't even been delivered yet and I already appreciate what you've done. It sucks you had to strip down your work because of the legal stuff but it's all good.
          I ordered 2 of the 2G/16G boxes and I can't wait to tear into one. You'll be hearing from me as I dig in!

          Comment


          • #6
            i have x96 2/16gb version x96 but i using XannyTech Custom Mod Rom and this rom using only 1gb ram.
            i hope using 2gb ram with root with this rom .
            thank you and i will try tomorrow

            Comment


            • #7
              The difference between 1GB and 2GB is only an issue if you need more system space than what is available in a 1GB Rom.
              I noticed with several roms I tested that the 1GB versions often react faster as there is less "clutter" in the form of bloatware and other things.
              Of course the kernel plays a role as well but as long as we are only working with 32bit systems on a 64bit CPU I don't think it matters much.
              And as said all my roms are now set to the default 1536mb for the system partition as the original (2GB) firmware.
              Unless the partitions, including boot and recovery have been resized you will never get a full2GB and even with everything else sized down to the max you might only get 1.7GB.
              Keep in mind that bootloader, boot partition and ramdisk need to go somewhere too.
              And some roms, like the X96 be default also use hidden partitions that all take space from those 2GB

              The only reason why one would really need more than aroun 200mb of free system space is if the person plans on installing a lot of games and apps with demand for system storage - but that is only a very few, most will utilise the internal storage and only need a few kb to mb's of additional system space.
              And for those still in demand for different addon packs for Kodi can still check my Instructable as I will update it soon to the current firmware with all mods that I use personally.
              But rules are rules, so no stuff out of the legal grey area here, not that it would be a problem to find what you need in any (complete) firmware update.
              As a hint: Search for a .tar.gz or .zip file of more than 100mb and with Kodi in the name within the system folder

              Comment


              • #8
                Experimented a bit more with possible modifications on Android level and must say I am a bit disappointed by how the china men handle things.
                I do understand that manufacturers for mobile phones rely on often massive modifications to the pure Android system but at least they do it in a proper way.
                The systemui is just a big mess with most of the standard icons missing and of course what is included in a stock Android system is modified in many places.
                The Android framework is messed up in a similar way making proper and well documented mods and changes a pain to implement.
                And I did not even touch the kernel apart from the required changes to get SuperSu working properly.
                Compared to others system like the A95 we forcefully "miss out" on a lot of things that otherwise could be implemented in a few minutes.
                After all it at least explains why so many roms I tried to port fail to work on the X96 unless kernel and bootloader are changed as well.
                So currently I am bit stuck in terms of what to tackle next...
                For a proper new kernel I lack the required Linux system and skill set and have no real time to learn and read up all that is required.
                For now that only leaves the standard system mods to get a bit closer to userfriendly and easy to mod firmware.

                If anyone with a 1/8GB model feels the need to play the risky game of beta tester:
                Give me a download link for the latest official firmware for your X96, I really prefer the OTA update but if no other option I can do with a burn image as well.
                From there I can implement a full root to replace the half working root and add the required binaries and calls for SuperSU.
                Due to the physical limits of a 1GB system partition I won't be able to include all programs and additional things.
                But I will try to squeeze as much as I can into the possible system size by moving the actual installation of all non-system apps to the SD card.
                The result, if all goes well would be that you still have more free system space as you have now but get a bunch of usefull apps and mods on top.
                Downside of course is that someone needs to play the guinea pig and report what works and what fails.....

                Comment


                • #9
                  downunder While you are forbidden from posting a "jazzy" ROM here, would you be willing to share one via email?
                  Have you done any testing with Nougat on the X96?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I did some testing with a ported 7.0 rom but stoppen pretty soon.
                    Not sure if it was just the rom I got or if it will be true for all 7.0 roms coming:
                    Nougat uses even more protection for the system than Marshmallow.
                    Memory areas are seperated and encrypted, bootloader fully locked and vital system tasks can't be modified due to hash checks upon boot.
                    Even the installation was a pain as I had to match all required hardware signatures for my X96.
                    And the new features or some gadgets for the look and feel don't justify the hassle of messing with it.
                    IMHO and just for games and watching stream Android 6 is more than enough.
                    My Nexus 7 is running Android 4.2.2 for a reason

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Downunder 35m View Post
                      IMHO and just for games and watching stream Android 6 is more than enough.
                      Thanks!
                      I've only seen 2 or 3 listings for a box with 7 on it. They didn't seem too official and the price was way high for the same hardware as X96. Seemed really scammy to me.
                      I imagine Nougat TV boxes will be on the market sometime soon though. Sucks they're locking everything down and making it difficult. The ability to modify with ease is their main marketing pull!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It is not so much the manufacturers of these boxes who "scam" us.
                        In fact it is Android itself
                        Once you start thinking of it the whole stuff makes a bit of sense though.
                        Marshmallow already offered a lot of added security but the TV boxes were mostly unaffected by this, except on a kernel level.
                        For example the encrypted partitions that we don't even see or notice because all encryting is done on the go.
                        Nougat however is seperating memory areas for programs and certain binaries, especially system apps are far better guarded then before.
                        All to make the system secure against harmful websites, malware and outside hacking attemtps.
                        Downside for the rom cooks is that there no tools for this available yet that would support our chipsets.
                        A lot can be done with the existing tools but once you need certificates, has codes and so on they all fail for the above reasons.
                        Should still be possible to do a lot of mods on a firmware level before installing but once that's done....
                        Considering all current Nougat roms for TC boxes still use the Marshmallow kernel I would say the first generation of available boxes and firmwares will be somewhere between the two.
                        Nougat look and 64bit OS but apart from that still the same underlaying code.
                        Only once we have a full Nougat kernel things will get really complicated.
                        And wit our 2GB boxes we might not even get the benefit of Nougat at all as the basic Android system already uses close to 2GB - without any added programs.
                        As said, unless you do a lot more than games and streaming even 5.1 will do just fine on the box

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Nice to see the chinese released a new firmware just a few days ago
                          Seems I have to start all over again LOL
                          Will play around with it a bit and if any good upload a clean version with SuperSu and FX file Explorer.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Link for this new firmware??
                            Many devices now mk902ii/Shield/Mk68 /Ugoos/neox5/minix5 (yes they still work lol) mk80 no it doesnt work lol.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              @ Scooter2014:
                              As usual only on Baidu, here is the direct link for the new update.
                              Requires an account or the usual Baidu cheats to download.
                              Will provide a normal download link in a few hours as I doubt many people here use Baidu.
                              But that what would be a firmware with all the semi legal software included, like Modbro, FilmOn, Showbox and so on....


                              First impressions are really good for this updated firmware.
                              Kodi is now named "KD Player" in the menu, most likely to avoid early detection in online listings for those countries trying to ban Kodi.
                              Apart from that the standard launcher we know from the original firmware.
                              Overall really responsive!
                              But for me the best part: They finally listened to the customers and included a menu and notification bar!
                              Downside is again a locked system with fixed bootanimation.

                              Will fix for SuperSu (if possible) and see what can be done about the OTA anf FOTA stuff to turn it off or remove it.
                              If I manage to do what I need I will upload a clean rom here soon, the (slightly modified) OTA update might appear in my Instructable at a later point.

                              Finally a firmware that has what everyone wants, well except those with need for Android TV

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