There be Dragons here….

Recently,  Team OctOs put the word out for testers.   As part of the standard warning,  we often remind people we are looking for testers who can recover their phone should the worse happen.  At times, I use the analogy “melt your phone” and others (I believe its CM) talks about the ROM “eating your cat”.

Hyperbole, but only just.

It seems to me that people tend to treat their mobile devices much different than their normal PCs.  People who will refuse automatic updates on Windows because they want to comb through the changes and make sure things aren’t going to break have no issues testing new releases of Android in general, and I’m not just talking about the tin-foil hat crowd who thinks Microsoft wants to capture videos of your reaction to “The Fap’pening” leaks.

Your phone/tablet/wearable generally costs twice as much as a modern mid-level PC, yet people give it no thought.

Testing, in any environment, has inherent risks and dangers and requires knowledge and skill in the mitigation of these risks.  People use the terms “Brick”, “Soft brick”, and “Hard brick” often interchangeably (and incorrectly).

Soft brick means the phone does not function as intended due to a software issue.  This could be a bad flash, corrupt ROM, etc.  These types of situations are recoverable by whatever low-level functionality the device has for it (ODIN for Samsung, for example.  nvflash is another).

Hard brick means the device is dead and beyond recovery, like when you have a device-specific partition that you delete without a backup *cough Dubbsy cough*.  These types of bricks are just what it sounds like.  You’re device is now a brick, and usually usable for parts.

Our Android testers assume much of the risk by testing our builds prior to public release.  They go in knowing the dangers that can happen and are confident in their ability to re-mediate the situation should the worse occur.  But there is ALWAYS a danger when flashing devices, as much as we’d like to minimize it.  Bad downloads, the nature of how the flashing process works, bad luck and karma of the user, a vengeful Odin tossing lightening-bolts to your local power grid, etc.  Your Android device isn’t Johnny5 and “anomalies” are almost never synergistic.

I cannot stress this enough.   If you flash your phone, you run the risk of bad things happening, period.   If you are not prepared to handle the consequences, you should not be flashing your phone.  This goes for any ROM, including restoring to OEM Stock.  I’ve seen ODIN flashes go bad.

We appreciate the people who test for us.  I’ve written our love-letter to our testers in the past because of this, and we still mean it.  For the devices we own, we test prior to letting even the testers have it, because if I’m going to break a device, I want it to be mine – I can usually fix what I break and am in a better position to do so than most.

I’ve heard concern from some of the Team about posting this, afraid I might chase away people from the ROM.  To this I say “Good”.  Know the risks, if you are not willing or able to handle the fallout, you shouldn’t be doing it.