How to: YD206 Yotaphone 2: Flash Lollipop, Root, Set up Always-On Screen

Yotaphone 2 (silicone.co.uk)

I had always been interested in this phone since its launch, but the price point was the downside (400+ GBP was too much for a phone for me). Recently I’ve stumbled a post in Mobileread and XDA , saying that it’s been discounted to 100 GBP price point, which’s pretty rational, if I do say myself.

(Trivia: other than Yotaphone 2, apparently there are other dual-screen phones in the market right now, such as OUKITEL U6 , Siswoo R9 Darkmoon, Siam X7,  almost-there Hi-Sense A2, and unlaunched Mi2. Price-wise this Yotaphone 2 price’s a steal though.)

Here it went, I bought the phone (even though my old one still worked properly. OK, it’s pretty old already and the battery life’s not stellar, but still. Aaaah, don’t make me regret my decision (def not though)).

After that decision to get one, there came the research spree (as usual). Apparently there weren’t exactly discounted, the price point for this series of Yotaphone 2 (YD206, which’s shipped with Chinese firmware + Kitkat) had gone to 100 GBP, as proven with my googling to other sellers. There’s other variant (actually there’re others, but these two are the most common ones sold online), YD201, with European firmware + Lollipop. Other than the obvious Kitkat vs Lollipop, apparently both support different bands. YD206 can’t exactly support all European LTE bands, that’s why YD201 is preferred internationally. You can check the bands for your country and carrier here.

After I rechecked though, fortunately the carrier I’m using now (Three in UK, and not with other carriers in the UK) is in the correct LTE band, as well as most carriers in Indonesia (which is good).

At first I was a bit wary on flashing Russian firmware + Lollipop on it, but apparently it’s very easy, I just followed the guide in this xda post (don’t forget to copy the radio folder from the Chinese firmware), and voila, Lollipop. I haven’t updated to Marshmallow yet. Waiting until it’s stable enough I guess.

How to Upgrade Your Yotaphone 2 to Lollipop

What I did (basically a rehash from what virtuanemo‘s done though):

Disclaimer: I’m on Windows 8.1! (I don’t know about how to do this on Mac). I just followed other people’s guide so I don’t think I can help if your phone get bricked.

Note: Don’t forget to backup all your data. Apparently the books available on the Kitkat Yota didn’t available on other firmwares. Not significant for me, but your other data are.

  1. Make sure that USB debugging is on. (Settings > About > Tap Build number about 7 times (you’ll know when it happens), then check USB debugging)
  2. Better to be connected to Wi-fi
  3. Download Qualcomm and ADB Drivers from gsmusbdriver site. You can watch the videos on how to install those two. For Qualcomm, just double-click, next, next, until it finishes.

    image[3]

      For ADB Drivers, open Device Manager, Action > Add Legacy hardware

    image

    Next, install manually

    image

    Next, choose Have Disk, and go to folder where you put usb_driver (don’t forget to unzip the folder)

    image

  4. Install Yotaphone Flasher. Download 5.0.0-HK1.1.66.zip (Latest HK firmware), 5.0.0-RU1.1.124.zip (latest RU firmware), 4.4.3-S01-003-CN1.0.3.32a.zip (latest CN firmware)
  5. There should be a yotaphone_flasher folder under (C:\Program Files (x86)\yotaphone_flasher). Create a firmware folder. Copy all the files from 5.0.0-HK1.1.66.zip (if you want HK build. 5.0.0-RU1.1.124.zip for RU build) to firmware folder (not as 5.0.0-RU1.1.124 folder but as radio+boot.img+….+userdata.img). Delete the radio folder. Copy the radio folder from  4.4.3-S01-003-CN1.0.3.32a to the firmware folder instead.
  6. Turn your phone off (don’t connect to your computer yet). Enter download mode by pressing power and volume button together, wait for about 5 seconds before “Downloading…” appears. Now connect to the computer using USB (from what I read, better to connect to USB 2.0 port, some people failed with USB 3.0. I successfully did mine with USB 3.0 port though.)
  7. Open YotaPhoneFlasher. Select 1. If it asks you about flashing, answer y. After it says success, you can close the prompt window. Your phone will reboot. Wait until it restarts. Better to wait until it’s all booted up before you disconnect the phone from your computer.
  8. After that, initialise your phone and install all updates. You’ll have HK latest build here.
  9. For RU firmware, similar method (4-8) applies, but the files you copy to firmware folder become the files from 5.0.0-RU1.1.124.zip. You’ll have RU latest build here.

After that, I root the device combining method from gsm obzor site mostly, with the help from the android soul site (that I tried first but ended up failed).What I did, from what I can recall (and from my CMD backlog):

How to root Yotaphone 2 with TWRP

Disclaimer: Same with the one above, but let me reiterate.  I’m on Windows 8.1! (I don’t know about how to do this on Mac). I just followed other people’s guide so I don’t think I can help if your phone get bricked.

Note: Don’t forget to backup all your data. Apparently the books available on the Kitkat Yota didn’t available on other firmwares. Not significant for me, but your other data are.

  1. Make sure that USB debugging is on. (Settings > About > Tap Build number about 7 times (you’ll know when it happens), check USB debugging) and installation from unknown source is on (Settings > Security > Unknown Sources)
  2. I think when you installed the YotaPhoneFlasher you’ve installed ADB and fastboot already (CMIIW), so no no need to do this step. But in case you didn’t do the YotaPhoneFlasher flashing, install ADB and fastboot from this downloadmirror (15-second ADB installer). Just answer y for every prompt. (Even after you’ve installed YotaPhoneFlasher, reinstalling doesn’t hurt)
  3. Download SuperSU. Copy SuperSU to your phone (as there’s no micro SD, you definitely just copy to the internal storage). Download TWRP_Yotaphone2. Unzip TWRP_yotaphone.
  4. Open command window in your TWRP_yotaphone2 folder (Shift + Right-click, open command window)
  5. Unlock bootloader by typingimage
  6. Then, flash TWRP recoveryimage
  7. I forget what I did in this step, but if I’m not wrong, you should unplug. there should be options appearing in your screen ( (if not, pressed the power+vol down again, I guess). Choose TWRP (with volume down). Then OK with power.) Will boot to TWRP Project.
  8. From TWRP Project, just install the SuperSU by chossing Install, then selecting the UPDATE-SuperSU-v2.46.zip you put in your phone.

    TWRP Recovery Home Screen

    Not mine, just for example. From here.

  9. After you’ve finished, just swipe

    image

    From here.

  10. Hopefully everything goes well. Phone should’ve rebooted and root is complete. You can check with RootChecker.

Other Setup and Impression

 YotaMirror CFG is good to setup your EPD.

My yotahub settings, will be really happy if there’s an airplane mode widget:

Yotahub1 (2) Yotahub2 Yotahub3

Other apps setup for easier e-ink experience and what I did to mine:

  • Pocket is working nicely, especially with its swiping gesture. I am still looking for browser and RSS Reader with swiping gesture but for now I am content with what I have.
  • The music player widget recognises TTPod (a rather obscure Chinese music player), FB Reader TTS+, and @Voice (Voice Aloud Reader) which so very nice
  • At first I had some problems with FBReader and TTS+ but after I upgrade my FBReader it worked fine?
  • The always on-screen doesn’t have front light, a priviledge of frontlight e-readers I already forget for years. I guess you could just flip the screen, but if you have USB OTG, you can also plug in a USB reading light, resulting in this weird and inconvenient setup.

DSCF9383

    • With silicone case it can actually fit rather snugly inside my previous phone flipcase (Galaxy Grand Duos, pictured above). I’m a big fan of flip covers, but I don’t think there’s one designed with Yotaphone 2 (with flips for both sides) in mind. I’m thinking of either holing hole on this flip cover for the always-on screen or screwing the silicone case to something to make a flip-like cover. As for now, this goes. The earphone and micro-USB holes fit rather alright too.

      Update: I already screwing the silicone case to some flip cover. Pic will follow.

Downsides (because nothing’s perfect). Especially compared to my old one:

  • No more dual SIM-card (If you have this once, you’ll miss this so much)
  • Micro SIM-card (you need to order or cut them if your carrier doesn’t provide multiple one)
  • No dual-screen flipcover existed (there’re only a few silicone cases, bumper case, this only-one-side flip cover)
  • No removable battery (I blame Apple and gadget trends for this)
  • No micro-SD card slot ((again, I blame Apple and gadget trends for this. Fortunately it supports USB OTG (which my old phone lacks), so I can just plug an USB flash drive))
  • No compatibility with fake Samsung earphone (a. k. a. no on/off volume up/down buttons for me for a while until I buy a compatible pair or using the Yota ones. Pretty sad as they’re the cheapest ones in the market with buttons. Update: I bought new pair with on/off button, yay.)

Rant Section (ahaha)

Actually this phone has also been launched in Indonesia  early this year. But, the marketing’s totally all wrong, sigh.So what if you told people’s that it has two screens. Why it needs to have two screens, that should be the emphasis. People not appreciating e-ink (always-on screen), will be disappointed with the price point. The price point’s far from what people expected in Indonesia (def the original price, 440 GBP, which is also expensive even for people appreciating the EPD). Moreover from what I’ve seen from the reviews and the snippets, they used the EPD screen to play games, watch videos, etc., which definitely didn’t justify the point of EPD screen.

Anyway, I sound like a preacher here, haha, but years (not really) of e-ink experiences after being a convert made me wanting to spread the goodness of e-ink to everyone (haha again), so, for people not knowing what’s so special about EPD in general and this phone especially

  • It consumes low battery. With the bigger and bigger size and processing of new generation phones and the static progress of battery, the longest battery test result of flagship 2016 phones gave you about 9h of uptime. Compare with Kobo and Kindle which boast 2 weeks-1 month of uptime, and old call-and-text-only phones which can last until a week. That’s a really short time. Anyway, haven’t checked about the real uptime of this phone, but with the EPD Yota promised 5 days.
  • It’s better for your eyes than AMOLED. OK, maybe this is not a claim for everyone, but my experience with e-ink give me better sleeping schedules out of my reading screen habit, so I can vouch for myself.
  • It performs the best when you’re outdoor with the sun. Have you ever traveling outdoor with your phone? You need to access Google Map. Because of the sun, you need to pump up your phone backlight to the max. Because of that, it costs you your batteries. You haven’t even reached your destination, but your phone’s died already. AASDFGHJKL:@X. With the EPD, it’s easier to read under the sun. The screen will get updated when it needs it. At the end, battery. (my ultimate reason)
  • As long as you don’t change what’s on the screen, it’ll stay. This is also good for battery, but you’ll be thankful for the always there text, map, tickets with QR codes, even when the phone’s died.

The good things about this phone, again (if, for example, compared to other dual-screen phones. (spec-wise I definitely leaning for Hi-Sense A2, Siam X7, or Oukitel U6 dual-SIM card-ness and micro-SD slots more)

  • About the front camera. OK, 2 MP will definitely be bad for videochat, but you can always mirror the screen and ended up with 8 MP “front camera”
  • The widgets and the links between the front-and-back screen (let me watch reviews for the other phones)
  • The NFC, Wireless charging support, USB OTG support which help
  • The quite good official supports for firmware and tinkering
  • The price, definitely the price

Seriously, one media even wrote that “even one screen sucks up a lot of juice already, what about two then” and another said “e-paper is not as responsive as the main screen and it’s B/W). That’s the beauty of it! (OK, I definitely want colour e-ink to but yeah). (Source 1 Source 2)

The way they promote this should be in outdoor events, battery-conscious and at the last, reading community. I think this is one of the hardest part of the promotion, I guess. The e-book reading community is not that high in Indonesia, unlike in Russia (which’s why this phone existed), or in US for example (as Kindle’s kingdom).

Review-wise, I definitely not a user who looks for latest processor (won’t run heavy apps on it, not a gamer, so not really the first priority), the best and highest resolution-camera (as long as the picture is decent), so this phone’s enough for me, even without the e-ink (OK, I still want micro-SD and dual-sim capabilities). If you’re someone with penchant of e-ink and worrying about your phone battery life, I guess this will be the phone for you now. I am still wary on what happen if it has some problems though.

So, what if you don’t want Yotaphone 2, which Dual-screen phone I suggest you to get? I already mentioned about the specs beforehand, but based on the EPD screen, I lean more to Siswoo R9 Darkmoon and Hi-Sense A2 because they have mirrorring function. The other EPD sadly only able to do notifications and some basic functions.

Even endorsed by Putin! (OK, definitely not something good, but notable).

About Ky

Currently Indonesian university student trying to submit more useful contents to share one's limited knowledge. Rather has wide, shallow interests, the writings will be as sporadic as it can be. Should write more scientific and field related topics, but writing muse says otherwise. Expect more on technical related writings especially softwares and apps, cultures, music, and random things.

Posted on December 23, 2016, in Personalizing, Plugging, Reading and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Ahmad Alraii

    This post was really helpful ..
    i got 2 yotaphone2, and i was following up each step simultaneously, it was fun doing this twice ..:)
    Thanks again, every thing went fine ..

  2. thank you for this guide
    a now have latest RU firmware
    cheers form Croatia

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