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All about Sony PRS-T1 and Sony PRS-T2 Electronic Books and more

 
♦  Main page  »  Sharing our experiences - useful articles for reading people  »  Flashing Sony PRS-T2 Reader

Flashing Sony PRS-T2 Reader

Introduction

It is easy to compare the popularity of devices Sony PRS-T1 and Sony PRS-T2 by studying the mail messages received by our site, as well as watching for the activity of users of the two most popular forums - The-ebook.org and 4PDA.ru. Despite the fact that the new model PRS-T2 went on sale in August 2012, most people prefer the previous one, PRS-T1. The explanation of this is simple: the appearance on the market of Sony PRS-T1 in September 2011 was a kind of sensation. Most of parameters of PRS-T1 e-book was significantly better than the same things from competitors and it had a relatively low price. The Android OS, that Sony Reader used for the first time, gives ability to modify the software. When the new PRS-T2 has come to market many people almost did not notice it. In terms of features the new model do not differs from the previous one, but compared to the new models from the competitors the benefits of PRS-T2 are only compact size, good power saving and a high manufacturing quality. As for ability to change the Sony PRS-T2 with third-party software, this feature became hidden away further. Flashing of the Sony PRS-T2 Reader with the alternative software packages became more complicated than PRS-T1, and not all versions of this device allow the installation of third-party software. So there is nothing surprising in the fact that many consumers have turned to Kindle and Nook e-books, which have a screen with backlight and can be easily flashed.
For a long time, article about the Sony PRS-T2 flashing with third-party software was virtually not actual, and we were constantly putting off writing it "for next time" - up to the time when the people interested in this issue. We believe that this moment has come.

Story

Getting the internal memory dump (GaryN)
Getting the internal memory dump (GaryN)
The electronic books Sony PRS-T1 and PRS-T2 are working on Android operating system version 2.1.1. Manufacturer has installed on the books it's own applications, including native Sony Launcher. But Sony programmers touched not only the application software. Developers had "cut" part of the functionality of the operating system. In particular, they closed for the end-user the access to a number of settings and, most importantly, closed the ability of installation and removal of third-party applications. The main task for enthusiasts was seeking of how to extend the functionality of e-book, and to find a way to access to the system partitions to be able to modify the system software (localization, multilingual keyboard) and the application software (to fix various bugs left by developer, to extend functions built-in reader) and be able to install third-party software.
In case of the PRS-T1 Reader (first for "U.S." and "European" models, and later - to "Russian"), by the efforts of igorsk and boroda, a solution was found fast enough. Later the end-user installation and recovery packages by boroda, then by amutin (his packages are compatible with the already installed software, because his software simply replaced the original data and system partitions), a little bit later - by rupor were published. The main feature of the software by rupor is a careful integration of his developments to the existing Sony software, as well as modification of the software in order to increase functionality and make it easy to use. All the achievements made by rupor, with some delay, used in the package of amutin. One may ask the question: why do we need to use the firmware by amutin at all? The answer is simple: it has some definite advantages. The installation process is easier and more convenient for not very advanced users. In addition, due to the fact that the system partition replaces entirely, the final result is almost independent of what kind of software was installed on the device earlier.
Getting the internal memory dump (GaryN)
Getting the internal memory dump (GaryN)
As it turned out as a result of experiments, the way in which the undocumented access to sections of an e-book Sony PRS-T1 did not fit the model PRS-T2. One had to look for other opportunities, in other words, to look for the "holes", missed by Sony developers. The most work in this area was done by boroda. Unfortunately, the lack of access to a complete memory image ("memory dump") of PRS-T2, greatly delayed the work. At the moment GaryN started his experiments on Sony PRS-T2 hardware. He disassembled a few PRS-T1 and PRS-T2 devices, trying to unsolder the signal conductors of memory chips, and to connect them to the assembled device for reading the image to a file. Work went on for a long time, due to the problems arising. One of those problems - turning off the power circuit in ten minutes thereafter (the unit automatically goes into sleep mode), and to copy the contents of memory required much more time. By the way, during the experiments it was discovered that the power circuit of PRS-T2 devise is more advanced compared to the PRS-T1. It uses new logics applied with more modern component base. Experimentally confirmed that the Sony PRS-T2 Reader is much more power-saving device compared to its predecessor, and despite the fact that battery in it is the same. The result of many tries and errors gave a full memory dump, which was later successfully used to provide an alternative firmware. The detailed reports on GaryN experiments can be found here.

Firmware and utilities by boroda

The result of all mentioned job was the publication of the package Minimal Root with Zeam Launcher by boroda. His software looks similar to the same package, released earlier by this author for Sony PRS-T1 e-book. Currently, the original firmware from boroda is largely a demonstration, as was later considerably developed and improved in rupor-s application packages. However, it is useful to investigate the material Minimal Root with Zeam Launcher. It describes the general approach to the installation of alternative software for PRS-T2. It is somewhat more complicated than the procedure designed for the previous model. A mandatory requirement is to make preliminary jailbreak procedure using specially prepared micro SD card. Later boroda published a suite of applications similar to the PRS-T1 ones.
Many users who are accustomed to working with the Zeam Launcher shell, successfully install firmware from boroda (despite the fact that there are much more advanced packages from rupor). In addition to the mentioned (Minimal Root with Zeam Launcher) package, author suggests a set of recovery packages for all kinds of Sony PRS-T2 device (including the "Russian" one). Practice shows that the recovery with packages from boroda are the most reliable. There are situations when a similar package from amutin does not work when you try to restore a hanged reader, while a packet from boroda do it's job successfully. The same things could be applied to the PRS-T1 model . If you want to recover a hunged reader, as we think, the best way is to use the appropriate SD-package by boroda. If you are going to install any application packages on the device you have previously installed any alternatives, it is recommended to run the recovery package for your version of firmware.

Firmware and utilities by rupor

Absolutely minimal root by rupor. Application page.
Absolutely minimal root by
rupor. Application page.
Developed through the efforts of boroda, the modified Sony PRS-T2 firmware, was the basis for the work of rupor. His work was resulted in the set of utilities for PRS-T2 Reader. The most famous and popular is the Absolute Minimumal Root. Just as is the case with software from boroda, you need to install jailbreak first before flashing this package.
Absolutely Minimal Root (AMR) by rupor (like all the other packages by this author) is designed for installation on the Sony PRS-T2 device with native firmware version 1.0.04.11081 (US, EU) or 1.0.01.11080 (RU). If the device firmware version is different from mentioned, you need to update the firmware to the "correct" version. Thoroughly proven and tested tools to upgrade to the "correct" version can be downloaded from this source (and you will have the guarantee that Sony has not made any changes to their firmware with these numbers later). The important notice: If the firmware version of your device is 1.0.05.12140, and you have not previously installed the jailbreak on your Reader, then there is no possibility to install any alternative firmware to your device (read detailes). The same thing is for the "Russian" Reader, with originally (installed by the manufacturer) has firmware version 1.0.01.11080. If this firmware version was installed by yourself, downloaded it by the link publishes a few lines before in this article, the ability to install the alternative software is preserved. If any alternative software has been already installed, then you need to uninstall the alternative packages, and after that you have to update the original Reader firmware with suitable recovery package.
AMR includes all the necessary tools for working with the system and application software, including the file manager Total Commander 2.0. The package allows you to work with multiple tune-up features of the operating system and to install the third-party applications. The package is fully localized: you can choose the Russian or any other language for the menus and use multi-language keyboard. Launcher for run applications is the third page of the main screen (go to this page by taping on the icon "Android"). Furthermore, the launch of applications is available via the drop down menu Bar ShortCuts, or via assigning of any of the applications for replace Reader Store icon on the home screen. The package includes the ability auto-collection makeup (the same as Sony collections , but they are created automatically: the collection used the names of files and folders). After installation AMR user gets ability to read fb2 books in "native" reading program, and to display the clock in the reading program as well as battery charge. Currently AMR is the most "advanced" and thoroughly tested package. We highly recommend it for installation on Sony PRS-T2 Reader.
Apart AMR, rupor offers a number of additional tools that extends Sony PRS-T2 functionality. Briefly enumerate them. Procedure for automatically resize data partition allows you to reallocate the device memory ("repartitioning") to expand the partition for installing applications. The procedure is potentially unsafe, so before you start to work, it is important that you must do a full memory backup. There is a specially developed memory backup method by rupor, which is available in its publication PRS-T2 - Rescue: full backup and restore.
Create a full backup
Create a full backup
Installing a complete set of dictionaries - is an utility that also makes memory repartitioning (backup required!), expanding the section for Sony built-in dictionaries, and installs all the proprietary dictionaries that are available in various Sony PRS-T2 models ("Russian", "European", "U.S.") on the device. Support ADB - the utility with function is clear from the title. If anyone does not know what is it, it means that he does not need to install this package. Apps2SD - allows you to move applications from the Data partition, which has a limited size, to the large enough user partition SDCard. ADB is already included to Apps2SD, so you do not need to install ADB separately.
In addition to the software mentioned the detailed installation instructions, links to the version history on the application source code, and information on ways for displaying epub book, the way to install alternative keyboard and about the possibility for change the screen_off_timout parameter described at website.

Firmware and utilities by amutin

Packages by PRS-T2 Flasher of amutin are almost the same as AMR by rupor, but have the additional programs installed. Using those packages one can easily read documents in a variety of formats: fb2, fb2.zip, txt, rtf, epub, chm, pdb, prc, mobi, djvu, doc, docx, xls, xlsx, csv, ppt, pptx, pps, ppsx and pdf. Latest packages by amutin, as a rule, do not include the most recent AMR releases, so the functionality of the current firmware from rupor can be wider. Other disadvantages of packages by amutin are that these packages when installed overwrite the previously installed applications, and one has them to re-install. This is also the advantage: the success of the amutin's software flashing process is almost not dependent on what was installed on the Reader before: a system partition during flashing is rewritten completely. Other benefits of the packages by amutin include exceptional ease of installation, which allows you to put the process to flow. When author makes the release of PRS-T2 Flasher, he installs the AMR on his own device, supplies with the necessary third-party applications, makes some changes to localization, and makes all the testing. The result is the ready-to-use image of system and data partitions with AMR installed and with pre-configured applications. You have just to flash any other the other device with this image, and the device it is ready for use. Easy to install, the packages from amutin were became popular especially among vendors of electronic books, selling the devices with alternative firmware pre-installed.
On his page amutin offers two types of his package PRS-T2 Flasher: one is designed to run on the "American" and "European" model of Sony PRS-T2, the second - on the "Russian" model. The author also offers the recovery packages for different versions of the firmware, as well as links to download the "correct" original firmware update utilities. Before flashing your book, you need to update the firmware to the "correct" version, and make micro SD card prepared (all the instructions are available) and install PRS-T2 Flasher by one click (jailbreak will be installed automatically).
 

Conclusion

When installing alternative firmware on Sony PRS-T2 Reader, you have to follow all the same requirements as for the Sony PRS-T1. Download the latest stable version of the package that interests you. Carefully read the installation instructions. Before you start, it is necessary to fully charge the Reader. You must upgrade the firmware to the version recommended by the author. If you are running Microsoft Windows Vista, 7 or 8, you should disable User Account Control (UAC) first and reboot. You have to login with administrator privileges to run any flashing software. Before starting the installation of alternative packages we recommend you to make a full memory backup. In many cases, you should also start with running the recovery package from boroda, compatible with your device firmware version. During flashing, do not push any buttons on the computer and e-book device. The flashing process can take up to 20 minutes. The additional recommendations can be found in our article How to flash Sony PRS-T1. Detailed instructions. After flashing, you may want to install additional applications. How to install the applications is described in the article Self installing software on Sony PRS-T1 and PRS-T2. Do not upgrade the firmware to version 1.0.05.12140: after such update, you will lose any ability to install any firmware from third party developers.
Gavriil Chitalkin, 2013/02/16

Related Links

♦ Firmware download and install applications for the Sony PRS-T1 and PRS-T2 (firmware and applications)
♦ Versions of Sony PRS-T1 and PRS-T2 devices
♦ How to flash Sony PRS-T1. Detailed instructions.
♦ Self installing software on Sony PRS-T1 and PRS-T2
♦ Do not install the firmware 1.0.05.12140 on T2 !
♦ SONY PRS-T2 inside (h/w & f/w) (GaryN)
♦ PRS-T2 - Root and Apps for Android (boroda)
♦ PRS-T2 - Advanced functionality and Russification (rupor)
♦ PRS-T2 - Rescue: full backup and restore device (rupor)
♦ PRS-T2 - Russification and installing of additional applications (amutin)
♦ Sony PRS-T2 - flash, Russification and installing of additional applications (amutin)
♦ Download "correct" versions of the Sony PRS-T2 firmware (rupor)
 
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