How to Flash the Android Oreo 8.1 Developer Preview on the Razer Phone

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Mar 30, 2018
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Much to the disappointment of everyone, the Razer phone released last year with AndroiNougat 7.1.1, despite Oreo having been out for a few months prior. Razer promised an Oreo update sometime in Q1 2018, and they barely made the deadline and announced that the device would jump straight to Android Oreo 8.1, and released a developer preview. The official OTA is expected to hit devices in April 2018, but if you can’t wait and want to get a taste of Oreo right now, here’s how you do it.

Do note that the stock USB cable that comes with the device is designed exclusively for power delivery and cannot be used for data transfer. For more information on how to get your hands on a compatible USB A to USB C cable, head over to this link.  Also, applications that utilize the Google SafetyNet API, such as Google Pay, will not function while this image is in use.

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DISCLAIMER: Manually flashing the update involves unlocking the bootloader, which will void any warranties you have. As the build is a developer preview, it may contain some bugs and Razer Support will not be able to troubleshoot any software issues you may encounter. The process will completely wipe all the data on your phone, so its recommended that you back it up before proceeding.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a look at how to flash the preview on your device.

STEP 1: For starters, you’ll need the latest fastboot tool (version 23.0.1 or later). You can get it from the Android SDK Platform-Tools package. Instructions on how to install the drivers can be found here. Once you have the fastboot tool, add it to your PATH environment variable. Here, PATH refers to the location of the Android ASK Platform-Tools Package, e.g. C:\Downloads\Android ADB Interface

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STEP 2: Unlock the bootloader: This is a critical step, without which you cannot proceed with the installation. To unlock the bootloader, you’ll need to enable developer options. To do that, navigate to Settings > About phone > tap Build number seven times. You should now see a ‘Developer Options’ in your Settings menu. Navigate to Developer Options and find the toggle switch that says “OEM unlocking” and toggles that on.

STEP 3: Start the phone in Download Mode: Power Off the Phone. Press and hold the Volume Down button while switching back on, until “Download Mode” appears on the screen. You can also do this via ADB by entering the command “adb reboot bootloader” in a terminal/command prompt. Make sure you have your phone connected to your PC/Mac before that.

STEP 4: The step will require your device to be connected to a PC/Mac via USB and an open terminal/command prompt window. In the command prompt window, type “fastboot flashing unlock” and press enter. You’ll be prompted with a confirmation screen, on which you’ll have to use the Volume Up and Down buttons for navigation and the Power button to select an option. Confirm that you want to unlock your bootloader by selecting the option, and your phone will reboot after that.

STEP 5: This step is to unlock the bootloader critical partitions. After the device reboots, enter the Download Mode again, by repeating the above steps. Now, type “fastboot flashing unlock_critical” (without quotes) in the command prompt window. You’ll be greeted by a confirmation screen again, and you’ll have to select the option that asks you verification for unlocking the bootloader critical partitions. Your phone should reboot shortly after.

STEP 6: Flashing the system images: Download the Android Oreo 8.1 developer preview from this link and save it in an easily accessible folder. Start the phone in Download Mode again and open a terminal/command prompt on your computer and navigate to the unzipped system image directory. To change directories, use the ‘cd’ command (for example, if the image is in C:\downloads, and your command prompt shows the path as C:\, type ‘cd downloads’ (without quotes), to change the directory).

STEP 7: Executing the flash_all script: In the downloaded image, you’ll find a file that says “flash_all.sh” (Windows users have to use “Flash_all.bat”). Execute the flash_all script by double-clicking on it. This script installs the necessary bootloader, baseband firmware(s), and operating system for your Razer Phone. The step might take a while to complete, so please be patient. After installation, your phone should reboot. At this point, you’ll be running the Android Oreo 8.1 developer preview on your phone, but there are a few more steps to complete before proceeding.

STEP 8: Locking the bootloader: It is recommended that you lock the bootloader and the bootloader critical partitions before finishing up, as several applications do not run with an unlocked bootloader. To lock the bootloader critical partitions, enter Download Mode on your phone using the same steps as earlier, and then issue the command “fastboot flashing lock_critical” on the terminal/command prompt. Your phone will reboot shortly after. The last involves locking the remainder of the bootloader, and to do that, enter Download Mode again and issue the command “fastboot flashing lock”. Your phone should reboot shortly after.

After the final reboot, you should be running the Android Oreo 8.1 developer preview on your Razer phone. If you experience issues with your device after flashing to the developer preview or simply no longer want to continue on Oreo Developer Preview, please click HERE to download the latest appropriate Android Nougat release image and manually revert to the original Nougat build. The steps to flash the Nougat build remain the same, just use the Nougat factory image in place of the Oreo 8.1 developer preview image.

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