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Custom Android firmware

Android application development

Android operating system was declared by Google company as an open-source system. This is partially true, the base for OS Android is Linux and you can download source codes of Android from http://source.android.com. After downloading source code from this website and compiling it, anybody can perform the custom Android rom development. However, besides the compilation of the OS shell, one should also provide device drivers which are usually provided by device manufacturers without source codes.

Why build custom firmware?

Before we propose the custom Android firmware development services, it is necessary to explain why you can need it and why custom firmware is useful for commercial Android applications.

At early stages, Android was far from perfect, which stimulated some enthusiasts to build their own versions of operating system. The aim of custom builds was the installation of newer unofficial versions of Android on the phone, the optimization or bugfix of existing problems in the operating system. With the course of time, Android was much improved, and the most successful custom builds were developed further and become large community projects, such as CyanogenMod.

The commercial applications require custom Android firmware to turn Android-based phone in a specialized device, which works only in a predefined way and does not divert the operator. Thus, unnecessary functions should be disabled, for example, return to OS by pressing Home button.

The custom firmware may help to carry out the following tasks:

  • custom animation on device boot;
  • admin and user rights when using the phone;
  • setup a password on access to phone;
  • limitation of calls (allow only local calls or even calls to some predefined numbers);
  • limitation of Internet access;
  • limitation of messaging (including SMS messaging to shortcodes);
  • blocking of access to storage.

What the firmware consists of?

Android operating system consists of kernel, device drivers and shell. As a rule, kernel and device drivers are developed by the device manufacturers and setup in the custom firmware in unchanged form. Only the shell is compiled from source code. The shell consists of low-level part (adapters for device drivers, OS boot loader) and high-level part (system applications, such as phone, built-in browser, API, etc.).

What we propose you?

The development of custom Android firmware consists of the following stages:

  • Analysis of the client requirements (also, analysis of the possibility to carry out the task without custom firmware);
  • Build and testing of the custom firmware for a mobile device specified by the client;
  • Update of the firmware according to the client requirements;
  • Delivery of the ready firmware and manual for upgrading the mobile device.

Custom firmware examples

Mobile audioguide "CitySurf"

The mobile phones LG Optimus One and LG Optimus Sol were turned into specialized devices, which tell users about nearest sights according to the current GPS location. In the custom firmware, the boot logo has been changed, mobile network functions were disabled, the USB interface of interaction between phone and PC was updated, boot and switch off were accelerated.

Plant inspections of Lafarge company

The mobile phone Samsung Galaxy XCover was turned into a device for plant inspections of Lafarge company. The device scanned QR-codes of inspected equipments and provided inspectors with the inspection forms. In the custom firmware, the boot logo has been changed and Home button was blocked.

Image smartphone for the conference

The mobile phone may be turned into an image device for the conference. Such device shows the logo of the conference on boot and starts a specialized application after boot. The call functions are limited to local (to save money on a SIM card) and access to SD storage is disabled.

How to order the firmware development?

To get a free consulting on your task, please fill the contact form. Send us a short description of your project, the device and Android version. We will analyze the task and reply you with the terms and costs of the custom firmware project.