A few months ago I decided to buy a GooPhone i5s (MT6577).
After some searching I noticed that no one had put out a stock AOSP ROM for this device.
The iOS skin was particularly laggy and terribly designed so I went searching for some ROMs from other phones I could port.
Here’s where it gets cool. The MediaTek flashing software allows you to write any data you want to any address of the NAND. This gives you full control over what OS you want to run, like a Nexus device.
The best of both worlds right? Hardware from Apple(almost) and Software from Google.
Anyway, I ended up finding a usable ROM from another iPhone 5 clone, before the iOS skin was added. I originally wanted to build a ROM from source, but that wasn’t going to happen.
I took note of the applications and did my best to recreate a stock Android experience on the GooPhone i5S. The product is ‘I Can’t Believe It’s not AOSP’
It works for the most part, calls, texting, web browsing. Only a few bugs:
- Mute switch won’t work
- Front facing camera is rotated 90 degrees
Other than that. It runs great, much faster than the stock ROM. It benchmarks at about the same level as the Galaxy Nexus although it only has 512MB RAM. I found the web browsing experience to be surprisingly responsive. Once your app is loaded, this thing flies! Mostly because the graphics chip only has to push 480×854 pixels.
In the end, I learned a lot. Hacking together an Android ROM isn’t that hard, I just had to edit build.props, and patch kernel modules.
Unfortunately, I did end up selling this phone, so I won’t be able to continue development for the ROM. And KitKat is a definite ‘no’ unless someone else releases kernel modules that work for 4.4
Now i’m using a real iPhone 5S, it’s a really nice phone, and you can tell between the two in terms of build quality.