I had to change phones due to my old one breaking down.
But I wanted something pretty sturdy (that could handle the various high-breaking-risk activities I did) and with a very long battery life.
I settled on a Blackview BV9500 phone, from a chinese manufacturer I don't remember the name of, as it was the only decent option I could see on the market.
I had lots of trouble managing to properly setup a custom ROM, especially because of lots of shady forums and forums written in languages I had trouble handling (e.g. russian), to the point of bricking my phone's motherboard after I selected the wrong image to flash (my first ever phone brick!).
This references my phone's info, its requirements in terms of system, the ROM I chose, and my current app/services choices.
The phone's specifications for ROM flashing
The Blackview BV9500 is marked as an A-only phone system by some contributors to the treble experimentations project1.
It also has an arm64 CPU architecture.
The treble experimentations project is an open source effort to maintain AOSP releases for a vast array of phones supporting the GSI system (Generic System Image).
Since my phone is GSI-compatible, it is perfect and I can expect a decent compatibility.
However, the phone is marked as A-only, BUT due to it being shipped with Android 9 and not Android 8, there is a quirk required by Google which makes it require AB ROMs2, and not A-Only ROMs (it is something I had a lot of trouble with, as I consistently tried A ROMs).
Additionally, the wiki page indicates that the phone needs VNDK support.
In short, this phone's specs are:
- ARM64 CPU architecture
- Android 9+ = A/B GSI ROM
- VNDK requirement = VNDK-compatible ROM
I also note that I don't want to burden myself with any google apps, so I will choose the ROM that doesn't ship them.
The treble experiments shows a relatively stable Android 11 release, so that's what I took.
The file I chose is named
Flashing and that kind of stuff
To flash it, and because I didn't want to deal with setting up a TWRP recovery (after trying, and failing, for a while), I chose to go through fastboot.
To restart my phone in fastboot mode, I powered it off, and continously pressed Volume Up and Power together until it restarted in recovery, which let me select fastboot mode.
From then, the standard procedure applied:
$ fastboot flash system GSI/system-roar-arm64-ab-vndklite-vanilla.img ... flashing $ fastboot reboot bootloader
Once I was in the bootloader again, I wiped the cache folder, and restarted the phone, and boom, I now have it installed!
Apps and such
For my personal convenience, I kept the phone rooted (some shitty bank apps may complain, I don't consider them to be important enough to warrant removing root for my own needs).
I used adb to flash the F-Droid store, which I use for most of my app needs, and it gives me access to Aurora Store, which I use to have an anonymous access to the play store, so I can still download and maintain the store-bound apps I use.
In all, I use the following apps as daily driver.
- Aegis for TOTPs
- KeePassDX for my passwords
- Catima (for fidelity cards and such)
- Tachiyomi (for reading)
- Firefox mobile
- the Simple Apps suite (Simple Calendar, Simple Camera, Simple Gallery specifically)
- Tusky, Telegram FOSS, K-9 Mail for communications
- Markor for note-taking
- MoodFlow for mood and health tracking
- Syncthing-Fork for my files
- Some proprietary apps: Spotify, Steam
This is the french writeup log in which I wrote every steps I went through and thoughts and such.
-- Blackview BV9500 -- La ROM AOSP treble est censée être supportée, et c'est un github et pas un forum random pété. - [Page d'infos / setup sur BV9500](https://github.com/phhusson/treble_experimentations/wiki/Blackview-BV9500) - [Page de release](https://github.com/phhusson/treble_experimentations/releases/tag/v312) De ce que je comprends, - Je dois prendre des ROMs A-only archi ARM64 - Pas de compatibilité magisk (je m'en fous mais voilà) Pour boot en recovery, c'est Power + Volume UP, ça donne accès au boot en bootloader (fastboot). -- ROMs testées -- -- Treble GSI -- - system-roar-arm64-aonly-vanilla.img: marche pas - system-roar-arm64-aonly-floss.img: marche pas - system-quack-arm64-aonly-vanilla.img: marche pas - system-quack-arm64-aonly-gapps.img: marche pas - system-arm64-aonly-vanilla-nosu.img: marche pas -- LineageOS GSI -- - LineageOS 18: marche pas - LineageOS 17: marche pas -- STOCK -- - ROM stock: marche pas, corrompue Faut que je teste en éditant /system/build.prop et en rajoutant ça. ``` ro.audio.ignore_effects=true ``` --- EDIT --- Après un bug, le #1992, j'ai appris que les tels A sortis ave Android 9 doivent être flash avec des ROMs AB... #1992: https://github.com/phhusson/treble_experimentations/issues/1992 Donc ça me fait un peu peur, mais bon, on va essayer, au point où on en est. > Why should I use GSI for A/B devices to some A-only devices? : On Android 9, Google changed the requirements and all devices shipped with Android 9 must use "system-as-root". Before this change, only A/B devices were system-as-root and GSI name was separated by A-only and A/B. For this historical reasons, you have to use GSI for A/B on the devices shipped with Android 9+.. Le site dit que le blackview a VNDK actif, donc je prend les builds VNDKLite -- AOSP -- - Roar A/B arm64 vndklite vanilla: SUCCESS - Quack A/B arm64 vndklite vanilla: Not tried, since the Roar version (android 11) worked.
A/B systems (or "seamless updates") are made to allow for having two systems (one in each slot, slot A and slot B, to have a fallback in case one fails during update), see more on the android documentation. ↩
"On Android 9, Google changed the requirements and all devices shipped with Android 9 must use "system-as-root". Before this change, only A/B devices were system-as-root and GSI name was separated by A-only and A/B. For this historical reasons, you have to use GSI for A/B on the devices shipped with Android 9+." (source). ↩