1. Android Central Question's Avatar
    I bought my son a cheap smartphone from a popular online e-market site. It cost £30 so we both knew it would be pretty awful, and it is. Terrible battery life, resolution, slow etc.

    It also has non-standard apps like "Browse" instead of just using Chrome or a proper native browser. You can download Chrome etc. but it doesn't seem to want to let you use it easily.

    The whole thing reeks of Chinese data-harvesting knock-off rubbish. Honestly, I do know I shouldn't be surprised, but if I can make my boy's experience of his first phone slightly less awful (maybe learning a bit about hacking on the way) then I'd like to do that.

    What I'd like to know is: is there any way I can completely erase everything (what I used to call "format c:\" for a PC) and install a clean version of Android, maybe even Linux?

    I might be mistaken and my son has downloaded a load of malware on his own, but I really suspect the OS of being... well, suspect.

    I should also say the phone is clearly old and won't support the latest version of Android. The model number is "MTK6580". If you search that, you'll get an idea of the piece of garbage we're talking about.

    He uses stuff like WhatsApp and Spotify, as well as Play Store games, so whatever legit OS we replace it with should be able to run all that stuff.

    Also, if everyone thinks it's not the OS but rather something my kid has downloaded that's put a load of malware on it, please say if you think it's worth just factory resetting first!

    Any help appreciated.

    10-02-2019 10:41 PM
  2. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Welcome to Android Central! In order to do what you're asking, you'd have to find a custom ROM developed for that particular model, then root the phone and flash that ROM. It's extremely unlikely that anyone would have developed a custom ROM for a cheap no-name device, so I doubt you have any options for that.

    Is there anything in particular that makes you concerned about things your son uses that might have malware? Where are you installing apps from?

    Please register on this forum, which will allow you to engage in discussion more easily, as well as post images. https://forums.androidcentral.com/as...community.html
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    10-03-2019 12:22 PM
  3. mustang7757's Avatar
    Should bought a Motorola for first phone for better experience.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    10-03-2019 12:37 PM
  4. Mooncatt's Avatar
    Those no name phones have been known to have malware baked into the OS, but almost impossible to know for sure without some deep investigation.

    Personally, I'd recommend just stick with name brand devices. Even their second and third tier devices are decent for a kid's first phone. Many of them can be had for less than $10/mo with financing, and some are free (though tied in with a carrier line).
    Golurk and Laura Knotek like this.
    10-03-2019 12:39 PM
  5. Rukbat's Avatar
    You could try to find the manufacturer's site and see if they supply the ROM for the phone, but you'd be getting the same ROM that comes with it. Android isn't like Windows or Linux, with "one size fits all", each copy has to have the vendor part of the system written by the vendor (the company that makes the device). Android talks to "the keyboard", for example, but the software to go between that and the actual tapping on a screen is up to the vendor to implement.

    As for "MTK6580", that's the "System on Chip", effectively the microcontroller, GPU, RAM, ROM, etc. I personally don't care for Android devices with MTK SoCs, but many devices use them, and they work. (It's like Intel vs. AMD.)

    But unless you can develop the vendor package, and add it to AOSP (the generic Android package), the best you'll get is what's on it now. (The worst will be that the manufacturer doesn't supply the ROM, or that they're no longer in business. A lot of Chinese companies buy a large lot of devices from the actual manufacturer, with their brand name on them, and sell them, then retire on the profits. (You can get a cheap tablet from a Chinese manufacturer in large lots for a few bucks each - then sell them for $20 or $30 through places like Alibaba. That's $18 or $28 profit each, and if you buy 1,000, you can live on that in China for quite a while.)
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    10-03-2019 04:46 PM
  6. Golurk's Avatar
    There are a few cases of dodgy software and sometimes even malware on obscure Chinese phones...especially dirt cheap ones like the one described. Brand names are usually a good choice in terms of reliability and trustworthiness...here’s a list of pretty reputable smartphone brands which you can trust both security and performance (i.e their phones are of good quality) wise:

    China specific: Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Lenovo and OnePlus

    Other: Apple, Samsung, Google, LG, Sony, Nokia (HMD), Motorola and Asus.

    Stick to those brands and you should be fine.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    11-15-2019 01:03 PM
  7. Tim1954's Avatar
    I'd run over it with my jeep then toss it in the bin....
    11-15-2019 08:00 PM
  8. mustang7757's Avatar
    I'd run over it with my jeep then toss it in the bin....
    Like this Is my cheap Chinese smartphone inherently filled with malware?-s52hu.jpeg
    Laura Knotek and Tim1954 like this.
    11-15-2019 10:04 PM

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