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How to Upgrade Your Nexus Device Without Waiting By Flashing a Factory Image

How to Upgrade Your Nexus Device Without Waiting By Flashing a Factory Image

Google’s Nexus devices are supposed to receive timely updates, but the staggered rollout means it can take weeks for devices to receive over-the-air updates. Luckily, there’s a geekier way to upgrade to the latest version of Android.
Google provides official system images for their Nexus devices, which anyone can download and flash on their devices. This is a way to skip the wait when a new version of Android is released for Nexus devices.
Note that this process is more complicated than simply waiting for an over-the-air update. If you’re a normal person and not a geek with an itchy trigger finger, you’ll probably just want to wait.

Unlock Your Device

To flash a system image, your device will need to be unlocked. Nexus devices allow you to unlock their bootloader with a single command. If you’ve already unlocked your device to root it or install a custom ROM, you can skip this part. If you haven’t yet, you should be warned the unlocking your device will wipe its data, as if you had performed a factory reset.
You can unlock your boot loader in several different ways. For an easy method, you can use the Nexus Root Toolkit, which will walk you through the process.

Download the System Image
If you want to do it the manual way, read our guide to Flashing your Nexus device with a new ROM and complete the process under “Unlocking the Bootloader with Android SDK.” You can stop after issuing the “fastboot oem unlock” command and verifying the device is unlocked by looking for the open lock icon during the boot process. There’s no need to install ClockworkMod Recovery — in fact, the below process will erase any custom recoveries you have installed. You can reinstall them later, if you like.
Visit Google’s Factory Images for Nexus Devices page and download the appropriate image for your device. Note that you’ll need the image for your specific hardware. For example, there are separate images for the Nexus 7 (2013) with Wi-Fi only and for the Nexus 7 (2013) with cellular data.
Download the file to your computer and use a file-extraction program, like the free 7-Zip, to extract its contents to their own folder.

Decide Whether to Wipe Your Data

Flashing the system image in the normal way will wipe your device, essentially performing a factory reset. You can try to update without wiping your device, although you may encounter problems. However, this process should work fine when going from one Android version to the next version.
To prevent your device from being wiped, open the flash-all.bat file in a text editor likeNotepad++. Edit the line containing “fastboot -w update” and remove the -w switch before saving the file.

Get ADB and Fastboot

Download the Android SDK archive. We’ll only need a few files from the SDK.
Open the archive file and locate the sdk\platform-tools\ folder inside it.
Select the following files and extract them to the same folder containing your system image files:
  • adb.exe
  • AdbWinApi.dll
  • AdbWinUsbApi.dll
  • fastboot.exe

Flash the System Image

Hold the Shift key, right-click in your system image folder, and select Open command window here to open a Command Prompt window in the system image folder.
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Enable USB debugging on your Nexus device by accessing the hidden Developer Options menu and turning on the USB debugging option.
Connect your Nexus device to your computer with its included USB cable, and then run the following command to reboot the device into the boot loader:
adb reboot bootloader
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If there’s a problem, you may need to fix your device’s drivers. Read this guide for more information on setting up ADB and ensuring it’s working properly. Bear in mind that you’ll have to accept the authentication prompt on the device before the adb command can do anything.
Once the device displays the boot loader on its screen — you’ll see an Android with its front panel open — double-click the flash-all.bat file. The script should flash your device with the new system image.
When the process is complete, your device will reboot automatically. If you didn’t remove the -w option, you’ll have to go through the first-time setup process again.

This process is also useful if you’ve flashed a custom ROM and need to get back to the standard Android system image that comes with your device. This option is largely intended for developers and Android geeks, so it’s more complicated than simply waiting for a normal OTA (over-the-air) update

How to Flash Your Nexus S (or Any Other Android Device) with a New ROM

How to Flash Your Nexus S (or Any Other Android Device) with a New ROM

When you bought your phone it was cutting edge, had the latest version of Android, and made your heart sing. A year or more later, it doesn’t get the new updates and the performance is a little sluggish. Breathe new life into your phone by flashing it with a new custom ROM.

Why Do I Want to Do This?

There are many reasons why someone might wish to flash their phone with a new ROM, but the most common reason is that it is the only way for them to upgrade to the most current and optimized version of Android.
The sad reality is that most cellular carriers quickly abandon old devices and cease rolling out updates for them. Now while we understand the economics of the situation–it’s not profitable to pay the hardware company to create new updates and to support legacy phones–we still think it’s a shame that perfectly good phones are so quickly relegated to the support junk bin.
Take, for example, the phone we’ll be using for this tutorial, the Nexus S. When it was released in late 2010, it was Google’s flagship Android phone. Sure, technology marched on and it’s no longer the most cutting edge phone around, but it is still a perfectly capable little device. Rather than rely on carriers to provide us with updates (which are usually months behind the official Android releases and often buggy), we’ve come to rely on the large and fantastic community of phone modders and customizers to get our upgrade fixes. Thanks to active communities like those behind the CyanogenMod, we’re not stuck waiting on our provider to get around (if they ever do) to giving us the next Android update.
So if you have a phone that the carrier no longer loves, but that you still want Android updates, optimized apps, and other new-phone-perks for, then flashing a new ROM to your phone is the way to go.
Note: Any time you monkey around with the internals of your phone, tablet, or other device in a fashion the manufacturer and/or supplying carrier did not intend for you to, you void your warranty and you risk permanently bricking your device.
That said, we’ve been rooting, jailbreaking, unlocking, reflashing, and other wise modding phones, tablets, consoles, and other walled off electronics for years without so much as a single hiccup, let alone a bricked device. Read the instructions carefully and you’ll be fine.

What Do I Need?

First, it’s important to note that although we’re providing general guidelines for ROM flashing in this tutorial, we’re also using a specific phone as our template. Every single phone model will have its own quirks and requirements. You can’t simply take this guide for the Nexus S and apply it to the HTC One. The general concepts will transfer but you’ll need to do a little search engine exploration to double check on the requirements, quirks, and specific ROM files for the particular phone.
That said, there are basic steps involved in the flashing of any Android phone that you should always keep in mind when reading any instructions you find. The process, when starting from scratch with an unflashed phone, should always look roughly like:
  1. Backup your data
  2. Unlock the bootloader
  3. Install a custom recovery image
  4. Use the custom recovery image to install the new ROM
To that end, we’ll need a handful of free tools to help us crack open (virtually speaking) our Nexus S and install our custom ROM:
Note: There are two versions of the Nexus S, the standard Nexus S and the Nexus S 4G (the Sprint version of the device). While the instructions for flashing the two devices are identical, the files you start with are not. Make sure you download the correct files for your device. The codename for the regular Nexus S is “crespo”, and the codename for the Sprint version is “crespo4g”.
Armed with these tools, we’re ready to flash our phone with a custom ROM.

Unlocking the Bootloader with Android SDK

The first order of business is to backup your data. Unlocking the bootloader will completely wipe your phone. Unlike the ROM upgrades which will only alter the OS partition, the initial unlocking and flashing process will completely wipe the phone.
Make sure you’ve backed up everything of importance: you’ve copied over your photos and media, you’ve backed up application data with Titanium Backup or the like, and so on.
Again, for emphasis, unlocking the bootloader automatically wipes and factory resets the phone.
Once you are absolutely certain you’ve backed up everything important, synced your contacts and calendar data, etc. it’s time to unlock the Nexus S bootloader. In order to do that, we’ll need to use a few of the tools in the Android SDK. If you haven’t already installed it on your computer, take a moment to do so now.
Once the Android SDK is installed, browse to /Program Files/Android/android-sdk/platform-tools/. Within that directory are the two applications of importance to our task: adb.exe and fastbook.exe. Once you’ve confirmed the location of these two apps, go ahead and copy both the ClockworkMod Recovery  image and the CynaogenMod image files into the directory (you either need to add the two apps to your PATH file or put the image files in the same directory as them, which is far more expedient).
Plug in your phone to the computer via the USB cable. Open a command prompt and navigate to the folder where adb.exe is located. At the command prompt enter the following command:
adb reboot bootloader
This will put the device into fastboot mode. Follow up with this command:
fastboot oem unlock
This command will unlock the bootloader. A warning will appear on the device itself (not on your computer screen). Use the volume rocker to move the selection and confirm you want to unlock the device by pressing the power button.
Your device will reboot; you can confirm the bootloader unlocking process was successful by watching for an open padlock under the Google logo during the boot process. If the padlock is closed, repeat the above steps.
To flash the ClockworkMod Recovery, enter the following command (drop the 4g portion of the file name if you’re flashing a non-Sprint Nexus S):
fastboot flash recovery-clockwork-
After the file has finished installing, go ahead and reboot the device into the bootloader mode again:
adb reboot bootloader
Select Recovery in the bootloader menu. We’re not going to use ClockworkMod just yet, but we want to make sure it installed correctly. Everything look good? Great, it’s time to get down to installing the actual ROM.

Transferring and Installing CyanogenMod

In order to install CyanogenMod, we need to push it to the phone. Verify that you have the appropriate CyanogenMod image for your phone in the same directory as the adb.exe application. If it’s there, go ahead and enter the following command while the phone is tethered to your PC:
adb push /sdcard/
adb push /sdcard/
This will copy both the primary ROM and the supplemental files (the Google Apps which are not included in the core CyanogenMod release) to your phone’s SD card/internal storage.
Reboot your phone one more time and enter back into the ClockworkMod Recovery:
adb reboot bootloader
In the ClockWordMod Recovery, select “wipe data/factory reset”. Although the phone was just wiped by the bootloader unlock, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and start with a nice clean slate. Once the wipe is finished, select “install zip from sdcard” and then select
Note: If you don’t see the SD card/internal storage as a selectable option, go back to the main menu and select “Mounts and Storage”. There you can select “mount /sdcard” to manually mount your phone’s storage.
After the ROM has finished installing, go ahead and select “install zip from sdcard” again and, this time, select
At this point, you have both CyanogenMod and the core Google Apps installed. Navigate back to the main menu and select “reboot system now”. Your phone will reboot and you should be greeted by a flashy CyanongenMod themed loading animation before ending up in CyanogenMod.

That’s all there is to it! Play around with CyanogenMod. If you love it, keep it. If you want more… then hit up the various mod communities and forums like XDADevelopers and read up on new and different mods. There are mods optimized for speed, for specific carriers, for battery life, and everything in between. The next mod on our test-list, for example, isSlimBean–a highly optimized Jellybean release intended to boost performance on older Android devices.

How to Turn Your Old Gadgets into Cash (So You Can Buy New Gadgets)

Whether you want to sell off your old smartphone to pay for the new one, add a little cash to your fun money pile, or to put the proceeds towards Christmas, we’re here to help. Read on as we outline the best ways to turn your old gear into money.
When it comes to turning your older gadgets into cash, there are three main venues to explore: trade-in programs, auction sites, and local sale. Each of these venues has distinct advantages and disadvantages which, after reviewing our breakdown of the venues below, you’ll need to balance against your own desire for speedy resolution, amount of cash, and degree of risk you’re willing to take.

Converting Gadgets Through Trade-Ins

When you want the money right now and you don’t want to have to wait for someone to actually purchase your device, trade-ins are the best option. Instead of listing your device on an auction site or haggling back and forth with a buyer on Craiglist, trade-in services allow you to simply say “You’ll give me X amount of money for my old iPod? Great. I’ll mail it in right now.”
That’s the huge upside to the trade-in system, assuming you describe the condition of your device accurately when submitting it for a trade-in (e.g. you don’t claim your cracked screen iPad is mint condition) it’s a frictionless process. They offer you the money for the gadget, you accept, you mail it to them, and you receive your payment for the gadget.
The downside to the trade-in system is pretty straight forward: the resellers you’re trading the gear into want to profit from the exchange so of course they’ll offer you less than the open market (eBay or Craiglist, for example) would bear. What could sell for $300 on eBay might only fetch $200-250 on the trade-in sites.
So what do the sites look like and what can you expect when you use them? We put the five biggest trade-in sites through the paces using four common last-generation gadgets many of our readers would potentially sell: an iPhone 4S (16GB/ATT), an iPad 3 (32GB/Wi-Fi only), a Samsung Galaxy SIII (16GB/ATT), and a Kindle Fire HD (7″/32GB/Wi-Fi only).
Here’s how we fared checking the trade-in values at the sites. Listed prices are for the previously mentioned items in like-new condition:
Gazelle specializes in Apple products (iPhones, iPads, iPods, as well as Apple computers) as well as smartphones and tablets from other major companies.
Trade-In  Breakdown:
iPhone 4S – $170
iPad 3 – $230
Galaxy SIII – $126
Fire HD – $49
Total Trade-in Value – $575
Shipping: Gazelle foots the bill for shipping on any item worth more than $1 (why you would pay to ship them an item worth less than a dollar is a mystery).
Local Trade-In: No.
How You Get Paid: Gazella will cut you a check (you’ll be waiting on the mail for this option), PayPal you the money (instant), or convert it into an Amazon Gift Card (also instant). It’s nice to have options; we definitely appreciate organizations using PayPal.

Amazon Trade-In is as diverse as you’d expect any Amazon offering to be. Although we only tried it out with the electronics we’re using for this roundup, you can trade in just about anything: books, DVDs, routers, video games–you name it.
Trade-In  Breakdown:
iPhone 4S – $200
iPad 3 – $241
Galaxy SIII – $140
Fire HD – $116
Total Trade-in Value – $697
Shipping: Free. If there’s anything Amazon has on lock down, it’s the shipping industry. You trade it in, they pay the shipping bill for you.
Local Trade-In: No.
How You Get Paid: If you expected anything buy Amazon gift cards at your payment, well, we don’t know what to tell you. You trade it to Amazon and, whether Amazon pays $10 or $1000 for your loot, you get it all back in the form of an Amazon gift card. In light of how many things you can by on Amazon and through the Amazon checkout system on participating web sites, it’s about as close as a gift card can get to cold hard cash.

NextWorth offers a more diverse spread of categories than Gazelle and includes not only smartphones, tablets, and laptops but also digital cameras (including DSLRs), video games, and game consoles.
Trade-In  Breakdown:
iPhone 4S – $135
iPad 3 – $217
Galaxy SIII – $140
Fire HD – $65
Total Trade-in Value – $557
Shipping: Free. There’s a pattern developing here. Clearly the trade-in shops know that most people will balk at spending $20 on shipping for their old gadgets.
Local Trade-In: Yes; NextWorth has partnered with over 1500 retail locations (most notably Target) so you can trade your gear in without the hassle of packing and shipping it.
How You Get Paid: You can collect your payment via PayPal, Target gift card, check, or with a NextWorth branded prepaid Discover card.

Best Buy
Trade-In  Breakdown:
iPhone 4S – $99
iPad 3 – $220
Galaxy SIII – $126
Fire HD – $50
Total Trade-in Value – $557
Shipping: Free.
Local Trade-In: Yes; you can walk in to any participating Best Buy location (pretty much any major location, barring small holiday satellite stores) and they’ll assess your gear and either accept it or offer to recycle it.
How You Get Paid: You guessed Best Buy Gift Cards? You guessed right. Great for buying yourself or your loved ones more gadgets, not so great for paying the electric bill.
BuyMyTronics, a subsidiary of GameStop, offers something that none of the other major trade-in shops offers: they’ll buy broken electronics. For example, you won’t get the like-new price of $191 for selling them an iPad 3 with a broken screen but they will offer you up to $60 for it. If you don’t want to deal with repair costs on older gear, it’s worth seeing if they’ll offer you anything at all for it.
They buy ebook readers, camcorders, GPS units, and a wide variety of electronics in addition to the typical smartphones and tablets. What’s strange about their offerings beyond the typical smartphone/tablet listing is that 90% of them are “recycle only”. Why they felt the need to make two dozen listings for different BlackBerry models just to tell us that it was old and they didn’t want to do anything but recycle it is rather puzzling.
Trade-In  Breakdown:
iPhone 4S – $149
iPad 3 – $191
Galaxy SIII – $138
Fire HD – $55
Total Trade-in Value – $533
Shipping: Free.
Local Trade-In: Yes; but the system is only partially deployed. All GameStop locations accept trade-ins for store credit when dealing with game consoles and video games (as they always have) but very few GameStop locations are fully equipped to accept the wide range of electronics you can trade in through the BuyMyTronics web site. Call ahead to see if your local GameSpot is participating.
How You Get Paid: Check (3-5 mailing time) or PayPal (instant).
With all these variables at play, you really have to weigh what is most important to you. If you want money to spend on Christmas gifts right now, taking advantage of the in-store systems offered by Best Buy and NextWorth make it worth losing a few bucks over a better offer from Amazon, for example. Regardless of the system you use, however, the real benefit of the trade-in system is that (whether you get a lot or a little) you’re going to get cash for your gear.

Auctioning and Listing Your Gadgets

If the upside of the trade-in sites is that you get your money quickly, the downside is that you definitely don’t get the market value for your gadgets. If you want to get top dollar for your gear, you’re going to have to take the harder route and sell it on an auction site (like eBay) or list it on moderated listing sites (like Swappa) or local listing sites (like Craigslist).
The upside of taking such an approach is that you can get top dollar. The downside is that getting top dollar is completely dependent on someone purchasing the product you’re trying to sell and, in the case of site like eBay, you lose some of the money to fees.
So how do auction sites and listings stack up? We compared the biggest auction site, eBay, against the biggest cellphone and gadget listing site Swappa. Because Craigslist doesn’t have any sort of historical price tracking feature and has more volatile prices, we can’t offer concrete numbers on how much or little money you’d make.

eBay Instant

eBay used to have a legitimate trade-in program like the ones we were just discussing, known as eBay Instant. They stopped the trade-ins in March of 2013, but they kept the Instant portal. Now, instead of allowing you to send your loot to eBay for sorting and a pay out, the Instant portal serves as a ridiculously fast way to list gadgets you want to sell as quickly as possible. If you’ve skipped using eBay in the past because you didn’t want to deal with the hassle of making a listing, you should really trying eBay Instant out. You search for your item, eBay tells you what the current average sale price for the item you’re trying to offload is, and you can click a single button to preview the listing (and another to immediately list it). We went from looking at iPhone 4S prices to creating an iPhone 4S listing in under 30 seconds.
You can always use the regular eBay interface, of course, but the eBay Instant interface was most like the trade in sites and offered similar convenience. Here’s what eBay suggested we’d likely get for our various listings:
Average Sale Prices: 
iPhone 4S – $260
iPad 3 – $362
Galaxy SIII – $280
Fire HD – $172
Total Sale Value – $1074
Now, those of you that have been keeping a running ledger as you’ve read along are likely saying “Over a thousand dollars! eBay is for me!’ You will definitely make more money on eBay, no doubt, but there are some additional expenses to consider. eBay takes 10% as a fee for most electronics sold (for both auction and buy-it-now format). That’s $107 right there. Let’s also assume we’re going to spend $5-10 packing and shipping each item. That’s $20-40 making sure that iPad and friends is securely packaged. So by conservative estimate we’ve burned up $127 worth of our profit right there and brought the average price down to $947. Never the less

Total War Rome 2 Launch Trailer

Tomorrow is the day when you meet History! So brace yourselves men, Total War Rome 2 is releasing tomorrow. Like you already know tomorrow is a big day for gamers especially if you are a fan of Total War games.
The game so far has been the most pre-ordered Total War game ever beating Total War Shogun 2 six to one. And it sure looks to recreate history. To spice things up, Creative Assembly have released the Launch trailer of the game. Take a look below and then we will continue the talk.
Launch Trailer:
So isn’t the trailer a thing of Beauty? There are just a few more hours for the release and if you are still having second thoughts about picking the game, I say you go for it. Rome 2 is a game meant for everyone be it  Action lovers, Story seekers or others. It’s just a game that comes with full of surprises.
So Would you be getting it tomorrow? Comment Below.
Total War Rome 2 is releasing on September 3rd for PC.

Dead Rising 3 Xbox One Gameplay Revealed

Dead Rising 3 – Total Bad-Ass!
Capcom just then released a new gameplay video of their upcoming game in the franchise of Dead Rising series, Dead Rising 3. The gameplay features a lot of zombies plus a lot of intense action, which makes the gameplay a total fun to watch! Killing a lot of zombies with different style, maneuver and with different customizations, the game looks total bad-ass! Check out the recently revealed gameplay video played on Xbox One from below.
Dead Rising 3 Xbox One Gameplay:
Being developed as an exclusive title for the Xbox One, the game was officially unveiled at Microsoft’s E3 2013 press conference on June 10, 2013 and is expected to release somewhere in November 2013.

Dragon Age: Inquisition New Gameplay Trailer and Details Revealed

Dragon Age 3 is certainly looking to make its name as one of the best RPG’s with lots of new features and awesome graphics. Bioware, the guys behind popular video game series such as Mass Effect, Star Wars have released a new gameplay trailer and some new details of the game. With the huge success of Mass Effect franchise, Bioware’s upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition is definitely looking better than Dragon Age 2.  Dragon Age 2 wasn’t well received by the RPG fans and Bioware have certainly understood their mistake and are looking forward to make this game awesome.
A new gameplay trailer has been released showcasing the beautiful graphics, Awesome Graphics and Dragons. Now take a look at the trailer below.
The trailer sure looks impressive with an action packed gameplay. Dragon Age: Inquisition is developed using Frostbite 3 engine, so you can expect the graphics to be pretty realistic. The game also features new combat mechanics which lets you to either break your enemy’s guard or dodge to the side and kill enemies one by one. Another thing is that you can choose multiple races and play as both male and female character. The game also brings back Overhead camera view which was entirely taken out in Dragon Age 2. Bioware have also released some new screenshots to give some delight to their fans.
According to Bioware the game is a lot richer, and there’s more depth to it. They’ve also put more things on screen and there are more NPCs. And the world is much lively. The game hes been in development for nearly 2 to 3 years now and isn’t looking to disappoint us. So are you getting excited for the game? Will it meet you expectations? Comment Below.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is expected to release in autumn 2014 for PC, PS3, Xbox 360 and next gen-consoles

Microsoft Designed Xbox One To Stay For 10 Straight Years

Microsoft Designed Xbox One To Stay For 10 Straight Years

Xbox One design is much similar to its predecessor. While keeping in mind the very important factor of reliability, Microsoft have really pushed the limits on their latest console. A reliable source says that the console has been designed to run continuously for 10 straight long years.
Microsoft designed Xbox One for 10 long years, so it needs to run silent enough, so that one could keep it in his/her living room. This was little challenging  for Microsoft, but  they have did it. Microsoft went with a fairly large design which allows better heat dissipation.
The Xbox One is about 34x26x8c, which a considerably larger than the 360. Check out the more information about its hardware specs from here.
When in standby and during media functions, the Xbox One is expected to stay almost silent. And only a little noticeable sound can be heard  from the fan while gaming.
This reduction in noise is because of two reasons”
  • The optical drive being inactive during gameplay
  • A decent quality heat sink with a relatively large fan.
This is all because of simple scientific logic and that is “The larger the blades, the slower they need to spin to displace air, and less rotations means less noise.”