Introducing my new Android developer phone: 2013 Moto G

The first generation of the Motorola Moto G (XT1033) is quite a phone: small, cheap, long battery life, pretty snappy. Here’s a good review from Ars Technica.

I bought mine for <$100 from ebay and I intended to use it as a developer device. It’s the poor man’s Nexus 4: comparable phone, half the price as used. The one I bought was the Motorola edition, but there’s a more desirable one: the Google Play Edition (GPE). For a while it was sold on the Google Play Store but apparently for not long enough because I couldn’t find one used!

As all GPE devices, this one also runs a close to stock Android version and is updated faster (by Google) than the non-GPE equivalent version. You might ask yourself how important this is. Well, the GPE Moto G got the Lollipop update back in December 2014 and as of today Feb 22 2015 the non-GPE Moto G is yet to receive it (see the Lollipop Megathread over at Reddit). That’s more than 3 months and Motorola is one of better manufacturers in terms of timely Android updates. And yes, Motorola did commit to update the phone to Lollipop.

No need to worry though. The nice folks from xda-developers published the instructions to reflash the stock Moto G to the Android GPE image:

This is an Android 4.4.2 but as soon as it gets network connectivity it will prompt you for a 4.4.4 update. And then a 5.0.1 🙂

Before being able to reflash my device, I had to unlock the bootloader. Motorola has an online service for that:

The only downside I noticed is that by applying this ROM my phone lost it’s ability to do a factory reset. So whenever I had to do this, I just reflash the same GPE 4.4.2 ROM 🙂

PS: Whenever flashing your device, always keep it plugged in and charging!


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