HowTo Install/Uninstall Ice Cream Sandwich beta to a Huawei MediaPad

Following my last blog post about my bad experiences with Google Android tablets (sorry only in German available, try Google Translate), I decided yesterday to flash my Huawei MediaPad with the latest Android Ice Cream Sandwich update 4.0.3.

 

While the actual update process is relatively uncomplicated, the process to revert it back to stock firmware can be quite nerve-stretching. I rely heavily on the experiences and descriptions provided by users in the android-hilfe.de board.

We start with all necessary preparations and requirements:

  • Huawei MediaPad 7″
  • MicroSD card for installing the update on the pad (personally, I use this card: Transcend Extreme-Speed Micro SDHC 16GB Class 10 Speicherkarte)
  • Micro USB cable (comes with your MediaPad)
  • If you are on Windows, you will need the ADB drivers from the Huawei Hi Suite (currently unavailable, possible mirror here)
  • If you are on Windows, you will need the fastboot tool for communication with the bootloader
  • If you are on Linux or Mac OS, you just need the Android SDK. These OS do not require an additional ADB driver or the fastboot utility
  • As I want to restore to my last installed firmware, I will need the firmware version C167B012. This is actually quite tricky to find on the internet. The download links from the android-hilfe.de board are not available anymore, but someone found a mirror. This update is the stock firmware, that comes with MediaPads available in Germany. This older version is required for reenabling the OTA (Over The Air) update feature provided by Huawei. The linked archive file also contains the necessary bootloader image boot.img
  • The current (V100R002C002B008)ICS beta firmware is available here. See the first post for possible download mirrors.

We have now all necessary tools and files that are required for the firmware update. Be aware that flashing beta firmware will void your warranty! Flashing the firmware will also delete anything that is stored on the internal memory of the device. If you rely on saved games or preferences, you will have to use tools like Titanium Backup to secure all necessary files. You have been warned!

 

How to flash the ICS Beta:

  • Extract the downloaded archive with the ICS Beta
  • Copy the „dload“ folder untouched to the root of your MicroSD card.
  • Shut down the MediaPad
  • Boot the MediaPad with pressed power button and pressed volume down button.
  • The MediaPad will now boot into the firmware update mode and you will see a green Android with a progress bar
  • Wait for the update until you get a note to remove out the MicroSD card
  • Remove the MicroSD card
  • My MediaPad restarted at this point, so it wasn’t necessary to hold the power button for 10 seconds as the note said
  • You are now on ICS, complete the setup like you are used to
  • You can now insert the MicroSD card back again. Use Androids file explorer or any other tool to delete the „dload“ folder. Otherwise you will start another update process next time you restart with the MicroSD card inserted.

 

As you can see, the update was quite simple and straight forwarded. The tricky part comes when you want Honeycomb (3.2) back on your device with OTA enabled:

How to return to stock HC from ICS beta:

  • Connect your MediaPad to your computer
  • Install the ADB driver, if you are under Windows. For other OS install the Android SDK
  • Copy the C167B012 Honeycomb firmware to your MicroSD card. It’s again the „dload“ folder, which you should put on your MicroSD card into the root folder
  • Reboot the MediaPad with inserted MicroSD card.
  • The green Android robot and the progressbar should appear
  • Follow the instructions and remove the MicroSD card, then reboot
  • You are back in Honeycomb. However, your bootloader is still the one from the ICS beta, so you cannot install any OTA update yet
  • Wait for the device to boot up, it will install some of the Huawei OEM apps.
  • Skip the registration and setup process
  • Enable the USB debugging feature
  • Copy the boot.img file to the folder where you installed fastboot. On Windows, this will be the folder where you extracted the fastboot file I’ve linked earlier. On Mac OS, you will have to go to your android SDK folder and put it into the platform-tools folder
  • Start fastboot: Open in Windows a console and change to the folder with fastboot in it. Execute „fastboot flash boot Boot.img“ and press return. On Mac OS go to the platform-tools folder and execute „./fastbook flash boot Boot.img“
  • You will see the message „< waiting for device >“
  • Shutdown the MediaPad and connect it with the USB cable, if you removed it previously
  • Boot the MediaPad into the Fastboot mode: Press the volume down button followed by  the power button.
  • If the MediaPad vibrates, release the power button, but keep the volume down button pressed
  • You will see a notice on the screen that the MediaPad is Entering the fastboot mode
  • The console window will show something like this:

sending ‚boot‘ (12288 KB)…
OKAY [ 3.091s]
writing ‚boot’…
OKAY [ 1.423s]
finished. total time: 4.514s

  • Press the power button for more than 10 seconds to reboot the MediaPad
  • Reboot the MediaPad
  • Connect to a WiFi network and check for Huawei updates in your settings
  • Let the update to B013 install and follow the on screen instructions
  • You are back on the original stock firmware and can use OTA again, gratulations!

 

I hope this instructions were useful and helped you. I would like to thank saxonite for his downgrade instructions and hellwach for his ICS instructions.

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