Last week we posted about the Huawei Ascend G300, a very clever little Android phone available for £100. I closed out the article by saying that the Huawei Ascend G300 presented rather good value as it could be upgraded to Android 4 ahead of schedule if you were willing to unlock and root it first. Today, we'll be looking at exactly how you go about doing that.
To begin, allow me to say this: FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS AT YOUR OWN RISK. Rooting, unlocking and installing new ROMs does invalidate your warranty and risk causing damage to your data and/or device. While nothing bad has happened to me or the vast majority of those who followed these instructions, you can't discount the idea entirely. So BACK UP YOUR DATA - if there's anything on your phone that you'd hate to lose, then back it up before you begin!
So, what will we need? Not much, really. A PC running Windows, a charged and fully updated Huawei Ascend G300, a micro SD card and a micro USB cable (like the one that comes in the box). Set your Ascend G300 to enable USB debugging, which should be under 'Developer Options' in Settings.
With this completed, we'll move onto the first step - rooting the Ascend G300.
Rooting the Ascend G300
So first we need to download a utility called SuperRecovery r1, developed by PaulOBrien of the Modaco forums. Download the zip file and extract it to some directory on your computer.
Next, we need to put the phone into bootloader mode. Do do this, turn off the phone, then pull out the battery and the USB cable. Wait a few seconds, then turn on the phone while holding down the VOLUME DOWN button. Instead of booting into Android, the phone will just stay on the red Huawei logo.
Now on your PC, double click on the 'install-superrecovery-windows.bat' file in the folder you extracted earlier. A command window will appear and it'll get to work. When you're prompted to do so, put your device into recovery mode by turning off the phone, then pulling out the battery and USB cable. Again, wait a few seconds before reinserting these, then turn on the phone while holding VOLUME UP to enter recovery mode.
Once the recovery mode has loaded, you should be rooted and ready to proceed. Just choose the reboot option from the menu to reboot back into Android 2.3. You should notice a new app called SuperSu or SuperUser, which means your phone is now rooted!
Backing up your IMEI
So a good precaution before trying to upgrade to Android 4 is to protect your IMEI, which is your phone's unique identifier. This can potentially be overwritten, so it's a good idea to back it up now while you can.
Using your phone, download this 5iromtoolbox APK file and install it on your phone. (You can either click that link on your phone, or download the APK and transfer it over USB). Open the app, then click the backup IMEI button. A file will be saved on your SD card.
Using your micro USB cable, connect your phone to your PC and turn on USB storage. Then you'll want to visit /sdcard/5irom. Copy the whole folder onto your PC, into your backups or some other place that you won't delete any time soon.
Now your IMEI is backed up. If you ever need to restore it, just do the steps in reverse - copy the folder back onto the SD card, launch the app and choose 'restore IMEI' then restart your phone.
Update to Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich, B926
So now we'll get to the fun part - actually installing Android 4! Before we begin, make sure that you've downloaded all of the available updates for the G300. You should end up at version B892. You can check the version number in Settings -> About This Phone (or similar); the last item should end in B892.
Now, download the official Huawei ICS 4.0.3 update. The download might take a few tries to start properly, so keep clicking if it fails. Once the download is completed, unzip it. Then, copy the 'dload' folder onto your SD card.
After you've ensured your phone is still well charged, go to Settings -> Storage -> Software to start the upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich! The update will take some time, but once the phone restarts you should be in Ice Cream Sandwich!
Unlocking and gaining root on Ice Cream Sandwich
To clean up the installation, connect the phone to your computer over USB again and delete the 'dload' folder so you don't mistakenly apply the update again.
To finish off the installation, it's good practice to unlock the bootloader and root the phone so you're ready to install ROMs or root-only applications in the future. We'll also install the Google apps, like Gmail, Maps and so forth.
Download UnlockBootLoader. Run the file, then click 'Root Your Phone'. A console will appear and disappear, and after this you should have root on your phone once more - check by opening the app drawer and ensuring that SuperUser is there. Run the app a second time, and this time choose 'Unlock Bootloader'. Once the app closes the bootloader should be unlocked.
Installing ClockWork Mod Recovery and Google Apps
We're almost done! Download the Easy CWM Recovery Installer and extract the zip file somewhere. Ensure that USB Debugging is enabled in the phone's settings (Settings -> Developer Options -> USB Debugging).
Power off the phone, remove the USB cable and battery for a few seconds, then replace them. Power on the phone by holding VOLUME DOWN and the power button to boot into fastboot.
You'll get to the Huawei logo and stay there once again. Plug in your USB cable, then on your PC double-click on 'install-cwmrecovery-windows.bat'. The window should close once the process is completed, and now you should have Clockwork Mod Recovery installed.
To check that it's working, turn off the phone, pull out and replace (after a few seconds) the battery and USB cable. Then turn on the phone with the VOLUME UP and the power button and you should boot into Clockwork Mod Recovery. From here, you can navigate around using the volume keys, back button and home button.
Now's a good time to install Google Apps. Download Google Apps and copy the file to your SD card (either using USB mounting in Android or the mount menu in Clockwork Mod). Be sure you are actually copying it to the SD card, and not just the internal storage.
Boot into Clockwork Mod if you aren't already there (VOLUME UP + Power Button) and choose 'Install zip from SDCard', 'choose zip from sdcard', then scroll to the right Google Apps .zip and hit home once more to select it. You'll be asked to confirm; do so and Google apps will be installed. From here you'll want to go back to the main menu using the back key, then choose 'wipe data/factory reset'. This will wipe your phone, allowing you to set it up with Google from the get-go.
Bonus level: Install Android version B934!
There's also a later version of Ice Cream Sandwich, B934, that you can install. Download the B934 zip file, copy it to your SD card, then launch Clockwork Mod Recovery and choose it as a zip file to install. Again, you'll want to do a factory reset after you do this. Google Apps is already installed but root is not, so just run the UnlockBootloader file again to regain root.
There are also loads of other ROMs for the Ascend G300 available over at Modaco. Check them out if you're feeling brave!