How to buy, upgrade, brick, rescue and generally enjoy a HTC Magic in just 14 days

Step 1: Buy
So you’re not happy with your cheapo rebound phone, pining for your lost HTC Hero and you start checking out bargain-sites for a good 2nd hand Android smartphone. After a week or so you spot an HTC Magic, on sale for €100 and 2 days later go buy that beauty for even €10 less because hey, there’s no SD-card.

Step 2: Upgrade
Your brand new Magic turns out to be that very first Android-phone Proximus started sellinng in May 2009, with Android 1.5, but without HTC Sense and tethering. Not really the smartphone you’d settle for, so you start looking around xda-developers for an upgrade path. You install flashrec, flash a new recovery image and in recovery flash MyHero 2.0.5 and after 1 month without it, you can finally boot into that beautiful HTC Sense UI again.

Step 3: Brick
HTC Sense, great, but still Android 1.5 and no tethering, seriously? No can do Sir, so you head back to xda-developers to figure out your next step. Late at night, after browsing millions of forum posts about perfected SPL’s, goldcards and recovery images, you find a thread with links to official HTC RUU’s. Easy-peasy and you download one of those boot your Windows PC and start flashing. HBOOT updates, radio updates, … all goes well and you doze off for a minute. But when you open your eyes, the upgrade process halted and you have a white screen with “invalid Customer ID” in red and no Android. You reboot, no go. You try to enter recovery mode, no go. Congratulations, you now have a shiny (semi-)bricked HTC Magic and you go to sleep feeling an utter moron for trying to flash an official RUU.

Step 4: Rescue
The next day you start looking for information on the secret craft of goldcard creation. You spend a couple of days trying to get your SD-card’s CID on your PC, but eventually ask a colleague to adb-shell into his device with your SD-card in it to get the job done (thanks Thomas!). You don’t bother downloading crypto-software to reverse the string for all the wrong reason, instead immediately heading over to the goldcard-manufacturing-webstie, write the disk-image to SD and you try to flash the RUU with the goldcard you just created. Damn, no go! You reverse the string manually, no go. You buy a new SD card (4Gb Sandisk), adb-shelling into your own cheapo Acer this time to get the CID and create a new goldcard, no go. Over a week goes by and you decide to have another stab at it and opnly then you see that the string should be hex-reversed, not reversed. You click the link to an online hexreverser, create a goldcard with that string and bingo, the RUU flashes!

cyanogenmodStep 5: Enjoy
It looks like you’re back where you were at step 2; Android 1.5 with HTC Sense UI and no tethering, so you decide to install Cyanogenmod by first downgrading your radio & hboot and then -finally- flashing Cyanogen’s Android mod.

And there you have it, after only 2 weeks you successfully turned that old HTC Magic into a modern, fast and reliable Android smartphone. Android 2.2.1 that is, with ADWlauncher, tethering and Exchange-integration. Time well spent, except … Vodaphone has an official Froyo update for the Magic out as well and there’s already a tweaked ROM for it on xda-developers. You really should try that one out as soon as possible, now shouldn’t you?!

11 thoughts on “How to buy, upgrade, brick, rescue and generally enjoy a HTC Magic in just 14 days

    1. frank Post author

      well, upgrade howto’s are rather device-specific (there’s no easy upgrade for my acer e110), depands on the brand and type of tablet :-)

      1. Charlo

        Yeah okay, i know about the device-specific thing. But there has to be a way around it. It’s utter crap to depend on a manufacturer for an update.

        Imagine not being able to upgrade Vista to 7 on a pc…all hell would break loose. Not very open of Android.

      2. frank Post author

        well, it’s not as much about android as it is about restrictions manufacturers put in the bootloader (IPL + SPL).

        ignoring the bootloader-part (which one can do in some cases) in general you need to flash a new recovery image (which might already exist, if not you’ll have to port it) and then use the recovery image to flash a new version of the ROM. that ROM would be based on either AOSP + kernel-modules) that are specific for your device or on a leaked & tweaked ROM.

        if I can’t find a buyer for my acer e110 and if I find the time to spare, I just might try to have a go at it :)

        but what tablet are you struggling with?

  1. Charlo

    Cheap-ass Mobii 7 tablet.In a sense, you get what you pay for, but I feel the system would be better running Linux. Or a newer Android. ;-)

  2. Thomas

    That was needlessly epic :]

    Happy everything worked out though, keep me posted on how 2.2.x fares in the long-run because it systematically flaked out on my Hero after a month’s time with the half-dozen ROMs I tried.

  3. Nicky

    Hehe, been there done that, but with a WM 6.5 phone, even after the update it is was rubish. Now I have a stock 2.2 android phone and it super.

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