So a couple of years ago on eBay, Samsung Galaxy Tab CDMA units (Sprint especially) were going for peanuts—like $20-30 shipped. These are good tablets for the money, far better than the Chinese import models in component, screen, and build quality, and we picked up a couple (plus a spare) for the kids to have tablets.
Unfortunately, they’ve always been a bit slow due to TouchWiz and Samsung bloatware, and now Android Froyo (vendor ROMs maxed out at Android 2.x) is starting to get old enough that some kids apps from the Play Store are no longer supported. I’ve always meant to bite the bullet time-wise and see if I could get these upgraded to something better by rooting and using a custom ROM, and now I have.
I have the last CM10 (Jelly Bean) nightly running on the spare right now after a couple hours’ experimentation. Everything seems to work, thought we don’t use the CDMA, and it’s far snappier, and very cool to see a “modern” version of Android running on the thing. Unfortunately, the universe of the original Galaxy Tab (especially CDMA units) is getting old at this point, and also disorganized.
- It’s hard to see what the “best” path is to root+CWM+CM10
- There appear to be a lot of variants
- There is a lot of misinformation
- There are a bunch of corrupted .tar.md5 files out there as well
— § —
It’s actually a lot simpler to get there than I thought. Here’s what you need to do.
- Visit this thread on xda-developers. Don’t bother with the links in the first message—they lead to corrupted downloads. But buried at the top of page 36 is this link to a Google-hosted ZIP file that actually contains a working .tar.md5 file for root+CWM recovery to get started. Download and unzip the file.
- Go to the official source and get the last CM10 nightly for the “p1c” platform (you can just search Google for “p1c cm10 nightly”). Also download the gapps version for CM10 (you can search google for “gapps cm10”). Both of these are ZIP files.
- This is the trickiest step in many ways. Inside the CM10 ZIP file, you need to edit the file META-INF/com/google/android/updater-script to remove a spurious assertion—otherwise, CWM will refuse to install the CM10 ZIP. The first four lines of the file (everything before the first semicolon) have to go. The problem is that ZIP utilities are unpredictable in their behavior, and most peoples PCs aren’t case-sensitive (while the ZIP file is) so unzipping the whole package and then rezipping it won’t work for most people (don’t try it). If you’re on Unix/Linux or similar, you can unzip just that file, edit it, and rezip just that file (with full path) back into the archive. On Windows or Mac without the command line, you’ll probably have to find a utility that lets you edit text files inside a ZIP “in place,” without unzipping the entire file. Whatever you do, you’ll need to edit the updater-script file within the ZIP file, preferably minimally touching the rest of the ZIP, to remove that spurious assertion.
- You now have your files. Copy the CM10 ZIP and the gapps ZIP to an SD card and insert them into the Galaxy Tab.
- Run the Odin binary enclosed in the ZIP you downloaded in step (1), either in Windows or in a Windows VM.
- Power the Galaxy Tab down, then power it back up again while holding the Volume-Down button. You’ll get a screen-filling yellow warning not to turn off your device. There are no options.
- Plug the device into USB. You should see Odin recognize it. Click “PDA” and select the .tar.md5 file from the ZIP that you downloaded and unzipped in step (1). Take care to UN-check repartitioning. Then, click Start to install the .tar.md5.
- When Odin confirms that you’re done the Galaxy Tab reboots, you’ll be in a weird state—when you boot up, nothing works, endless app crashes. However, you can power down. So power down. Then, hold the Volume-Up button and power back up again. You’ll boot into CWM recovery.
- In CWM recovery, opt to install ZIP files from your SD card. Install first the CM10 distribution ZIP, then install the gapps ZIP.
- Do a full cache wipe and a full data reset to start fresh.
- Finally, reboot. You now have CM10 working on a CDMA Galaxy Tab. No promises on CDMA service, though the bars indicator seems to work. And you have root and also CWM recovery 6.x.
It’s taken me a couple of hours to find the right path, but now that I’ve found it, I can CM10 the next two tablets in about 10 minutes each… Though I’d better ask the kids first. It’s one thing to revolutionize the spare, but it may be quite another to touch their own personal tablets, even if some of their favorite apps have now been updated beyond Froyo compatibility.