As much as I have been handling Droids and how careful I have been digging deep into them, I did brick mine, permanently. Few of us out here have managed to come this far, and as much as it left me mteja for a day, I learnt a lot and somehow I don’t feel anything. I don’t feel that I have lost much because my dead ZTE Blade aka San Francisco is right here by me, dead, and it did serve me as it was meant to, which is way better than it being snatched from me by my Majengo boys who hang along Gakere Road of Nyeri Town because that is what they do best in the first place. Or for it taking a full body shower in those keg mugs (@omogirango does that a lot to his cellular devices, I wonder how his Galaxy Mini has survived this far) and many other undesirable ways you might not want to see your smartphone parting ways with you for good.
The ZTE Blade is an entry level android smartphone from the Chinese ZTE Corporation and has gained popularity among the Kenyan youth with the same reasons as to why I picked it being similar to those who own it at the moment. It has a bigger screen as compared to those who have owned the Idiot previously, the pixel density is at 267 ppi and is averagely clear for low end devices and I really didn’t find reason to complain about that. Read more about the specifications on your Google and you will agree with me it really qualifies for our minimum needs as much as it can’t do all the shit I wanted it to.The ZTE Blade available for the Kenyan market is the European variant that is shipped with android 2.1 aka Éclair and definitely a Gen 1 model. Of course no one wants to be so 2008 by hanging around with Éclair so an upgrade is inevitable to some latest Android versions like Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean but many still prefer Gingerbread. The latest builds of Android 4.0.* are stable, smooth and good enough for it (@kenbonyois an expert in that).
For you to install any custom ROM for The Blade, you need root access and depending on the ROM you would want to use, then it will be upon you to upgrade from Gen 1 to Gen 2 because those ROMs are Gen 1 or Gen 2 dependent, but I did upgrade mine to Gen 2 because many of the custom ROMs for this phone are Gen 2 based. Here is where the problem is.
I realized there are so many tpt files out there for the upgrade from Gen 1 to Gen 2. A tpt is simply a zipped file that one flashes to repartition the onboard memory. I don’t remember the 3 partition sizes before and after flashing tpt but the /data/ and /system/ partition get a boost in preparation of the custom ROM installation. Other tpts repartition on how you will want your memory to be e.g. if you want more /data/ memory for more installation of apps bla bla bla. It all depends on individual preferences.
Back to how I ruthlessly murdered this phone.
I love recovery mode so I wanted to clear my batt stats because my battery drains really fast. It always adds me an hour or two after clearing them batt stats. There are times it couldn’t boot into recovery but did some other time later but it refused this time. The quickest way of gaining access to recovery as I thought was to flash a tpt and it would definitely take me there. I unzipped a Gen 1 to Gen 2 tpt, a corrupt tpt (a deadly mistake because my phone is already in Gen 2) and the image file was around 5MB instead of 26MB as I was to realize later.
With such an image file, you can guess how safe it is to try it. It didn’t finish flashing as several error messages popped up. It hung there, I removed the batt and that’s the last time it powered on. The phone can’t boot, can’t charge and isn’t being recognized when I connect using a USB cable. In fact the LED doesn’t blink. Dead.
A soft brick can be dealt with. That is if your screen goes blank but the LED blinks on powering on or getting stuck at the green android logo. A simple debricking process involves putting the correct tpt image file in your SD card and flashing it by holding the volume up + menu and then hitting the power button. That will flash your custom recovery and then you’ll proceed from there.
If the tpt method fails, then there is another complex process to unbrick it if and only your Blade can’t boot into download mode and this method interferes with the phone’s original firmware. You might lose your IMEI on using it but the IMEI can be put back in a process that will be discussed some other day. Briefly, it involves installing ZTE Mobile USB drivers on your computer, and then boot your phone into download mode (remove the battery and press both the vol+ and vol- together and then plug it to USB on your PC. It should blink. There is no need to put the battery back). Then, rush to your Windows device manager, double click on ports and if you don’t see ZTE Mobile or something close to that, then that is a permanent brick. You need a replacement (I need a replacement).
If your ZTE is recognized then you will proceed and flash the original firmware in a process that requires a full stomach and a mugful of “carbon” (@echenze understands that better). The method will be discussed soon, very much soon.
It is highly advised you be careful on what tpt you use. If you must download a tpt, then get it from Modaco or XDA Developers or the official Orange San Francisco website and not anywhere unless you are really sure it is the correct and an incorruptible one, else…