Upgrade Android on the Motorola Flipout

Motorola Flipout MB511

This post is about upgrading the Motorola Flipout (MB511). The biggest drawback of this smartphone is the lack of software updates from the manufacturer. The default software consists of Android 2.1 plus the MotoBlur set of features, which is, in my opinion, nothing but bloatware. I recently got myself a second hand unit.
This device was introduced few years ago targeted at a young market of users. On one hand it features high quality but really average hardware, a 3.2 MP camera, Android 2.1, 720 MHz single-core processor, 512 MB RAM and, roughly 128 MB flash memory for installing apps. On the other hand it has a built-in sliding full qwerty keypad.
Good news is a user from xda-developers packed an unofficial release of CyanogenMod 7, which boosts the power of the Flipout to an acceptably useful Android 2.3 GingerBread. Furthermore, the standard upgrade removes the Google Apps and MotoBlur by default, making it more suitable for the privacy aware public. Since Google Play is not a must have, individual packages, or even open source repositories such as F-Droid can be installed.

Here's a short tutorial on how I recently upgraded my Flipout to CyanogenMod 7.
Warning: CM7 is an unofficial release and it could permanently damage your phone. Do it at your own risk. I take no responsibility in case you turn your phone into a fancy brick or lose some functionality after performing the upgrade. I claim no authorship on these instructions but I will try my best to provide details on how I succeded doing this. Please find at the end of this tutorial the hyperlinks to the original threads I followed.

In order to achieve this you will need:

  • A working Windows machine (or virtual machine with working USB).
  • About 30 minutes.

A coffee, tea, or beer is recommended.

a) Back up all your data. It's also a good idea to copy your original baseband files. Some people seem to need them after the upgrade.
b) Format your microSD card, and then copy the following files:

1. Start with a clean installation.
The best way to achieve this is by installing the original firmware. I used this firmware version, which worked flawlessly: RUTEM_U3_01.14.16_DEBLUR_SIGNED_USARUTH15ND0RTINT0 56.0R_PDS000_USARUTHEHKTWEMARA_P011_A010_HWp3_1FF.sbf.

  1. Install the Windows drivers. Choose the right 64 or 32 bit version attached in the first post of this tutorial in german
  2. Install RSDLite
  3. Reboot the system
  4. Start RSDLite
  5. Click the [...] button and select the .sbf firmware file.
  6. Turn off your Flipout, take out the battery for a couple of seconds, and put it back in.
  7. Press the Up key from the Flipout keypad, together with the Power button, for at least 4 seconds. Then release the Power button.
  8. If you see a black screen with white text, you can release now the Up key. Otherwise retry steps 6 and 7.
  9. Connect the USB cable. Wait until windows installs and sets up the driver. Click on Show Device in RSDLite.
  10. When your Flipout appears in the list, select it.
  11. Now click Start, and the process will begin. It will take some time, so relax and enjoy. DO NOT remove the USB cable until the process is finished, NOT even if the progress bar shows 100%.
  12. The flashing will be done after the phone reboots itself, or the message "Please start the phone manually" shows up. You can now unplug the cable, and start the phone.
  13. To finish, restart the phone again.

2. Permissions and Bootstrap Recovery

  1. With the File Manager browse to the SD card and install Universal Androot. Open it and click "Go root". Don't select "Soft root".
  2. Now from the File Manager install Bootstrap Recovery. Open it and click both buttons above. You will have to grant permissions. Click both buttons below and the phone will restart.

3. Upgrade Android
You will have to use these key mappings:

  • Vol+ and Vol- for navigation
  • Power button - Select
  • Backspace - Return

At the recovery screen select the following points.

  1. Wipe Data/Factory Reset
  2. Mounts and Storage
  3. mount /System
  4. Back, and select Install Zip from SD Card
  5. Navigate to the directory containing the previously downloaded zip files
  6. Install the Zip package with the CyanogenMod 7
  7. Hit Back, and select Reboot System
  8. You are done!

It's time to enjoy your brand new Flipout.

Please note: I translated and compiled the information, but all credit goes to the original threads.



Image credit: CC & GNU FDL Wikimedia Commons.