Tag Archives: S!Mail

Flashing and hacking the android phone for Japanese Softbank network.

polish english 

So, i went to Google Developer Day 2009 last tuesday and got free HTC Magic GDD2009 phone – limited edition.
It’s very cool toy, has everything i need, but as usual here, MMS/Mail does not work when using normal cellphone SIM card.

The Story:

Here, in Japan, people use E-mails to communicate (more popular than SMS), but these are not ‘real’ emails – these are MMS’s converted to emails on the fly by provider.
So, by sending email to addres xx@softbank.ne.jp, their server will find who is recipient and convert it to MMS, sending to this person.
Vice-versa, by sending email from phone, it actually is MMS that you send, and provider will convert it to e-mail outside the network.

The way MMS receiving works: special SMS comes to the phone, it contains first 1024 bytes of message and some data instructing it to download the rest – this remaining part is being downloaded via standard HTTP protocol, but this is when problem starts – Softbank blocks HTTP User-Agent of unknown phones (not being sold by them).

Another (and the most annoying) problem i encountered, is the android device itself, the edition i have, does not support sending MMS at all.

Solutions:

Step 1:

Make backup of your current device (you can skip it if you’re too lazy or confident ;-) ):

Please follow these instructions: http://android-dls.com/wiki/index.php?title=Magic_Rooting

(You can download fastboot from HTC page given in step 2).

You just need to download Magic modified recovery image,

http://www.droiddeveloper.com/hrbuilds/recovery-new.img.zip

unzip it, copy to device and boot your device using it:

adb push recovery-new.img /sdcard/recovery-new.img
adb shell sync

Then, once you have the file on SD card, reboot your android, and while it starts keep “BACK” and “POWER” pressed – android will enter fastboot mode, then type:

fastboot boot recovery-new.img

Your android will run this recovery image which allows you few things, like update from sdcard, make backup etc.

Choose the option to backup nandroid.
It will place backup of your current device onto the SD card – might be worth keeping :-).

YOU DO NOT need to ‘root the magic’ or do any other steps from this instructions – these steps are for other purposes, not applicable here.

Step 2:

Making android support MMS (if your provider does not block user agent this is the only and final step):

This will flash your device to the same version as Google IO event, you get few features like Voice synthesis (voice search and voice dial), Amazon MP3 access – these are not present in Japanese version.
But, the drawback is – You will not have Japanese language support anymore.

First, make sure you really need to enable MMS, go to Messaging application, start typing, and press menu, if you DO NOT have options lile ‘add subject’, ‘attach’ – then you DO need it.

Flash it using these instructions from HTC website: http://www.htc.com/www/support/android/google-io-device.html

You DO NOT need worry that instructions is for Google IO edition and not GDDC09 – these phones are in fact different but there are ways around it.

I recommend using fastboot method (its not at all hard),

You will need to downlaod fastboot binary (available at HTC), and 2 of these images: Radio Image and System Image.

Follow instructions for Radio Image installation, most likely your device will boot after it completes but you will get permanent android starting logo,
please have your USB cable connected and adb showing logging – you will see that it tries to boot all over again – THIS IS OK – no need to panic.

Place radio image onto your card by typing:

adb push <radio-image-package>.zip /sdcard/update.zip
adb shell sync

Boot into recovery mode by holding HOME while it reboots, Then choose ALT+s on the screen, next HOME+BACK, device should reboot, it might not start at this point by just showing you android logo – this is ok, no need to panic…

Once you have radio package downloaded and flashed , time to flash it with system image – this is little tricky:

Push the image onto SD card:
adb push <system-image-package>.zip /sdcard/update.zip
adb shell sync
Boot into Fastboot (BACK+POWER while you start it) – MAKE NOTE OF ‘hboot’ version – you will need it very shortly.

You can safely try to flash system image, but it will fail due to incompatible HBOOT version (they require 1.33.3004, and you have probably 1.33.3005).
No need to worry here, we can make it happen :-).

So, what you need to do, is to UNPACK your system image to a folder, edit the file android-info.txt, change the require version-bootloader to your hboot version (1.33.3005 most likely), save it, and compress all the files in this directory into new zip file (all of them need to be in the ‘root’ of zipfile).

So, now you have compatible system image that will work well on your device, try flashing it now, DO NOT FORGET to select options to clean userdata and cache – this is required, without it, your device will boot only to android logo and keep hanging there.

Step 3:

Modifying User-Agent string in the MMS client (this *MAY* be enough to complete only this step and it might as well make your device support MMS’s – i have done all steps though):
(GGDC09 version has MMS disabled, and i am not sure whether just changing MMS app is enough to enable this).

Geeky version:

Download android source, follow instructions to compile it, apply this patch:

--- packages/apps/Mms/src/com/android/mms/transaction/HttpUtils.java  2009-06-12 23:56:28.000000000 +0900
+++ packages/apps/Mms/src/com/android/mms/transaction/HttpUtils.java  2009-06-12 23:47:20.000000000 +0900
@@ -220,7 +220,7 @@
 
     private static AndroidHttpClient createHttpClient() {
         AndroidHttpClient client
-                = AndroidHttpClient.newInstance("Android-Mms/0.1");
+                = AndroidHttpClient.newInstance("SoftBank/1.0/705NK/NKJ002/SN001 Android-Mms/0.1 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1");
         HttpParams params = client.getParams();
         HttpProtocolParams.setContentCharset(params, "UTF-8");
         return client;

(It will only change your User-Agent string reported to MMS gateway, will not touch the one in web browser).

Compile the source again, and install new Mms app using adb:

adb install -r ./out/target/product/generic/system/app/Mms.apk

Lazy version:

Download this file, and install using adb:

adb install -r Mms.apk

Do not forget to configure your APN (you will find instructions and passwords on the internet), remember NOT TO set apn type to “mms” – didn’t work for me this way.

All the files you need, are also mirrored Here:https://kubatyszko.com/filez/

Useful links:

Rooting HTC Magic – creating backup

HTC Google IO device support page

Android source

Further work: change more of android source, to have nice settings under MMS app, to edit UserAgent :-D.

Enjoy :-)

——-

UPDATE!!!

Thanks to Roberto Jung Drebes , now i know that there’s no need to flash GGDC09 with anything to get MMS working, all it takes is to use my MMS.app (or compile your own) – just the way i suspected.

Also, he found that setting apn type as ‘mms’ – doesn’t work unless you already have other apn with type ‘default’ – this way it works very well. Good way to ensure you don’t end up with huge phone bill due to data transfer…