Monday, October 11, 2010

Spice Mi-300

Being a Linux enthusiast, I have had this though of buying a phone on which I can try my programming skills apart from using it as a normal phone. For sure Android was my favorite candidate for its open source development platform.

Recently when i saw an ad from Spice on their new android touch phone for 10k, I couldn't hold myself from exploring this phone offering attractive hardware specification.

Initially I was bit skeptical due to limited information and review of this device on the web, some how i went ahead and took the chance to keep my 10k at stake(later on I found tons of information when I searched with different model number-Vibo A688).

Following is the list of pros and cons which i have felt after using it for several weeks,


Pros:
  1. Excellent touch response(much better than any other branded phone)
  2. Size and thickness are comparable with any other branded phone
  3. Fairly good quality picture(if taken at a good distance and good ambient light condition)
  4. Android 2.1 update is available.
  5. Active Android community providing custom ROMs(even Android 2.2 update is already under testing by the community).
  6. Fairly a good amount of hacking info available in the android community.
  7. If you are a Hacker, this is a best option to try your android development skills

Cons:
  1. Poor Built quality with plastic body
  2. Poor battery life(dont expect more than 1 to 1.5 days)
  3. camera is unable to focus for the photos taken at a shorter distance(ex: document scan)

Hardware:
Basically this phone is known with the model name Vibo-A688/Z71 among the android community and as per the android wiki, it is made by Taiwan based company Commtiva. Following list shows different model numbers of same hardware sold in different countries,
  1. Apanda A60(China):http://www.apanda.com.cn/
  2. ChinaVision Excalibur
  3. Cincinnati Bell Blaze f800
  4. Commtiva Z71
  5. Muchtel A1(Taiwan):http://www.muchtel.com/products/muchtel-a1.html
  6. Nexian Journey A890(Indonesia):http://www.nexian.co.id/index.php/product.html
  7. Orange Boston
  8. Spice Mi-300: http://www.spiceglobal.com/SpiceMobiles/Model.aspx?Id=167
  9. Vibo A688(Taiwan):http://www.vibo.com.tw/CWS/Consumer_Netcard,2c9681c62913f646012959ee62a500a0,,,.html#top
  10. Wellcom A88(Thailand):http://www.wellcommobile.com/th/a88.html
  11. Videocon is selling the same hardware with modified body called evolve-V7500
Even Motorola is selling the similar hardware called Motorola Quench XT502(see spec from gsm-arena)

After I got the 2.1 update from spice, I was bit disappointed to see that CPU Clock was reduced to 480Mhz from 600Mhz(for improving the battery backup), but I decided Root and update with new ROM called firetrap Sugar 1.1 from boston-mania
Warning: Rooting the phone or updating custom ROM may void manufacturer warranty, dont try this if you dont know what you are doing!!!!!!

Once you root your phone, you are open to the wonderful world of Linux open-source and full control over your phone, as a developer you can do several different things as listed below
  • setting the cpu clock(with different cpu clock profiles, you can conserve battery)
  • using camera flash as torch
  • using ssh to login to phone's commandline access
  • using phone's 3G to provide internet access to other computers(wi-fi teathering)
  • running your own scripts writtne in ruby, python,pearl, java script etc.. for different automation purpose
  • write your own C program and compile with arm-toolchain and run on your phone

Here are some interesting apps which I have installed on my phone and got better control over many things
  • Root Explorer(paid app)
  • QuickSSHD(paid app, you dont need usb-cable and adb to get linux shell access, use putty to login to your phone and winscp/pscp to copy files from your computer to mobile over wi-fi)
  • SetCPU(paid app, its great having control over your cpu speed)
  • Cache Cleaner(free app)
  • Alarm Clock Plus(free app)
  • WebSharing(paid version allows more features)
  • Astro(free file browser)
  • skype(save money at home/office, use wi-fi and talk using voip)
  • Picture Viewer (nice app for picture viewing)
  • Talking Tom(funny app for your kid)
  • Lookout(phone securing app for tracking your phone in case of lost/stolen mobile)
  • Barnacle Wifi Tether(turn you phone as a wifi router to serve internet for other PCs).
Here are the pictures of my android phone and screen shots, Hope you are happy to know amazing things possible with your 10k phone, Wish you Happy Hacking and watch-out for more android tips and tricks ;-)

50 comments:

Deepak said...

Hi

Really nice and informative post.
Want to know if you can play DVDRips and standard TV show rips / movies on this. That is, without converting them. Any info on that would be appreciated.

Cheers
Deepak

Govind said...

Man U rock!!!
Firetrap is based on 2.2?

ADAV said...

Firetrap is Based on 2.1, Soon we may expect 2.2 for this phone, as i said, this is already a hot topic on boston mania, check this link...

http://boston-mania.blogspot.com/2010/09/a60-android-22-rom-updatezip-now-signed.html

those chinese font made me to wait for some more time...

Anonymous said...

Nice blog sir...
keep up the good work....

I'm Rehaan, who rooted this spice Mi300 for the first time...!!!

jack ruzario said...

Hii,

I am currently running Android 1.6 without root access on MI 300 How do I backup this Rom.
And is there any solution to edge/gprs disconnection problem?

Subhranath Chunder said...

This is the post the need to read the most. Thanks!! :)

Currently I'm changing the ROM, and let's see how it goes from there.

I've a lot of queries, I'll get back to you soon.

Anurag said...

Dear Albert,

I dont know how i can take backup and it is stopping me from Upgrade.
Please tell me how to take backup before i upgrade to 2.1.

anurag01@gmail.com

ADAV said...

Hello Anurag,
without rooting, you cannot access /dev/mtd partitions.
On my MI-300, i updated with custom ROM and then took the backup.

Rahul Singh P.A.C.Agra said...

Namaskar to all my frineds-Readers!
I m already using spice D6666 which is good in working and its feature.Obviously in term of priceRs7000 in year 2009 October.
Now planned to have an spice MI300,ur discussions here is so excited for me for this fone n brand an Indian brand which is from Meerut(Modi has its appearance on a large scale Mr.Guzzar Mal modi, My tution were behind to Modi continental Tyre factory in Meerut).
So i love Spice since 16 months.when i know abt this brand SPICE.
But is gud to wait for Mi 410 instead of Mi300 in extra few thousand.
Reply/ suggest me soon.
My pleasure to write here.
Proud to have an Indian Cell fone brand . But is earned and Fone to b Buy.So gud n cheap .M1410?
Namaskar

The Big B said...

Excellent piece of information!
BTW do you have any idea about the chinese/ international counterparts of the newly announced but not released Spice Mi 410? it sounds like a fully loaded android device. But I wanted to know if even that could be modded/ rooted just like the m300. thx!

Nick said...

Awesome review! Bought the Mi300 and upgraded to 2.1
Will try the Sugar this week.
I have 2 queries:
1) will I be able to revert back to the stock 1.6 or 2.1 at any further stage.
2) Is it possible to backup the fone without rooting it? (As I would like to keep a copy of the current state 2.1)

Aalok said...

Any flaws ? which update is better vanilla or sugar?

monis said...

and what about gaming on the phone,

Amit said...

Dear Albert,
I just upgraded my MI-300 with Android 2.1.
I use it primarily for app development. After updating, I am no longer able to do on the phone testing using MAC OS. Everything works fine on windows, but on MAC the Android Development Tools are unable to recognize the device.
Any idea, why this is happening.

Sheldon said...

Hi Albert, nice blog u got going here, BTW I have one question, I checked out the boston mania website where I see they have got mods for A688, A60, Apanda... etc. which I have read previously are similar to the spice mi-300

So my question is, Will these mods work on the spice mi-300?? as they are basically same devices with different names

amit said...

Hi Albet,

I have MI300 I have one problem with it, that is i am not able upgrade it to 2.1.
I tried upgrade process for user manual but while upgrading phone gets reboot in recovery mode and says E: can't open/cache/recovery/command

Please help me Thanks in advance.

Amit

Dinu said...

HI Sir u r doing good job first i hav mi 300 which is not rooted & i hav 2.1 running.the problem is when i play mp4 vid in default player while playing it automatically restarts i tried in other players like real player i did the facrory reset but didnt solve it plz mail me if u get the sol at jadhavdinesh7@gmail.com

Dinu said...

HI Sir u r doing good job first i hav mi 300 which is not rooted & i hav 2.1 running.the problem is when i play mp4 vid in default player while playing it automatically restarts i tried in other players like real player i did the facrory reset but didnt solve it plz mail me if u get the sol at jadhavdinesh7@gmail.com

ADAV said...

Sheldon:
yes all these devices are same, if want to experiment, try froyo(2.2) cynogen mod on your mi-300.
Already I have upgraded from firetrap-suger to cynogen build 15 - but this one is buggy and drains battery soon. I am waiting for stable 2.2 release on boston-mania.

ADAV said...

Dinu:
for sure there were problems on 2.1 release, some heavy application were crashing, ex:i could not play angry_birds which was constantly crashing even on firetrap-suger. Now i have cynogen mod(2.2 froyo) and i am able to play angry_birds but this cynogen build 15 is buggy, i am waiting for a stable cynogen (may be you can try latest build from boston-mania to see if video players are stable).

Anonymous said...

Help please help i am unable to syncronize my contacts on mi300 i request you to help

error states: please seee the connection between laptop and the device
sisson@yahoo.co.uk

akshit said...

sir i am unable to upgrade my spice mi 300......service center told me that it is some internal problem ......i just want a way so that i can flash my phone's internal memory....[its not going into recovery mode also...)

vimanyu said...

sir please please reply to me,
i hve root my phone with this and i am unable to connect it with the software updater tool it shows not connected and now i cn't unroot my phone plz help plz...

Sheldon said...

Hi Albert,

I see that boston mania has released a final version of Cyanogen Android 2.2 for Z71 devices.

Have you tried it out? Is it stable?


Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi guys nd bros having such a wonderful phone giving us a enjoyment of Android 2.1 Those who want to backup data can use linda application manager. i had tried many but this one is a real thing, which can uninstall programs fastly than android inbuilt nd can save backup of apps in sd card. for sms try SMS BACKUP... But i want to root my phone nd am not afraid of warranty. had tried but unable to get into boot phase by pressingVOL UP + CAMERA KEY + POWER KEY.... plz help me , am dying to see my phone rooted nd do anyone knows how to change colour of clock in notification bar......

Sanjay said...

Hi i tried z71 stable rom on videocon zeus. everything okay except battery drains really fast.
videocon-zeus.blogspot.com

Sheldon said...

Hi Sanjay,

I heard there is some problems with the Wi-fi and stuff... Have u tried it out?

Anonymous said...

@dinu i hav found a way to prevent the phone from crashing.....if u encrypt ur videos with mpeg codec then the phone wont restart....it restarts only when the framerate of the h.263 and h264 videos is above 15 fps.....mpeg can be played till 30 fps.....

deendayal meena said...

Plz plz help me......
I had rooted my spice mi 300 and using cynogen mod but i am facing problem with phone...it restart regularly when network not available of 3G....2G network not working...
So I want go back to official rom
How can I unroot and flash default recovery image and rom provide by spice?
Please help me...

sourabh said...

Hi Adav,
my name is sourabh and i bought the mi300 few days back. i also found the same problem of running MP4 vids on the handset, but its crashing all the time. is there any solution available for this problem, as the phone looks quite powerful with kind of processor and RAM.

sourabh said...

Hi Adav,
Anonymous also said to covert the videos into the 30fps conversion rate, but even though, the same phone crashing problem persists. Is it possible for you to provide the Video conversion specs for AVI to MP4 for mi300.

Zak said...

Hi Albert,

Thanks for your post, I was rooted my MI-300 using this info. Should have stopped there but updated to 2.2 using Cyanogen 1.5 mod but as you rightly pointed out the battery is draining too fast (if I charge it in the morning by late evening it drains off completely even if I don't use the phone). I have reverted back to Firetrap Sugar but looks like cyanogen boot loader is still active...battery is still draining fast. Do you have any suggestions on how I can revert back to stock 2.1 from spice?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Dear Albert,

Very informative. I am planning to buy android phone costing < 10 K. Is this currently best android phone ? Would you please inform at kuppa_raghunath@yahoo.co.in. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Try the Micromax a60 and do a review

termoflua said...

You can get the all updates for Z71 on my blog.
http://boston-mania.blogspot.com

PS: Rom 2.3 for Z71 and clones is coming

Anonymous said...

Hi

This is sridhar, i rooted my spice mi 300 phone, i was in middle of restroing a backup rom file when i accidentally removed the battery from then my phone got stuck at android screen and not going where....can we do anything, im worried about this...rooting made my phone no-warranty

Anonymous said...

This is sridhar Breifing the previous issue, i as restoring a rom file and i interrupted the process from then phone got stuck at android, took battery off/on, doesnt go to recovery mode, it just stays there, please help me..

Dinu said...

Plz Guys HELP ME I have rooted my MI 300(2.1) and installed ROM Manager and flashed clockwork recovery of z71 and now i cant go into recovery modei have tried using software updater tool given by spice but it displayed error.Even i cant install cynoggen 6.1.2 from ROM manager

PLZ Anyone having MI 300 Recovery Image and tell me how to use that

Dinu said...

PLZ Guys HELP ME
I have rooted my MI 300 to install ROM Manager.In ROM Manager I installed clockworkmod recovery of z71(MI 300 is a variant of z71) so i thought it would fine but NOW I cant go into Recovery when press pwr+vol_up+cam it stuck onto spice logo screen for hours of time even i am not able to install cynogen 6.1.2 through ROM Manager.

Anyone having Spice Recovery Image and intructions plz send me on jadhavdinesh7@gmail.com

Z71-Mania said...

http://z71-mania.blogspot.com/

syawal said...

how i want install back official spice mi300 software...i using [Rom 2.3] Cyanogen MOD 7 RC0 for Z71 - Build 08/01/2011....plzzz help me....

Santhosh Baby said...

Hi ,
I recently upgraded to Firestrapsugar
for my SPICE mi300 mobile

I Found it is very good ,even battery back up is good
more faster and i love
Hreat info

My Question is if i want to try Cynaogen etc builds also is it done same way as you had described or for these Builds the process is different
Anyways im looking for Froyo release soon from Boston

Saurabh said...

hey Sir...I rooted my phone using fire trap sugar.... all is working fine... how to enable app2sd on sugar....

varun mehra said...

Guys check this site it offers full guide to update your spice MI 300 to 2.2 & 2.3 update


andriod-help.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

can i update mi 300 spice to android 2.2

d said...

Hi,
I have upgraded to 2.1 (from 1.6) provided by Spice website. It did not create a rom backup. Now I find I neither like the cap on processor speed nor the interface. I somehow feel I was much better off with the 1.6 (donut) Please help if you have the backup of the spice 1.6 ROM so I can rollback. Grateful if you can share.

Habel said...

Hi
Its a very nice self-experience review about Spice Mi-300. congrats Albert. Thank you for the information given. It's helps me a lot. But one thing, the "cons" about this phone is the 5 megapixel camera as u mention about, it can't focus an image with the distance of 10cm-16cm. I think, this problem due to the camera lens. The 5 megapixel didn't support "auto focus" mode because the lens type is EDOF lens which in the other word "Fixed Focus" lens.

Cheers
Habel

Kenryu said...

hi, i m a newbie for spice m300 and android.

may i know do we must ROOT the device to use camera flash as TORCH?

Thanks!

Chris said...

Any flaws ? which update is better vanilla or sugar?

Sridhar Mangalarapu said...

Hi Albert, The Touch/Touch Screen on my Spice MI300 is broken, I would need help in Buying a new Touch, Can you guide me the Specifications of the Touch so that I can approach Repair/Others for getting its Replaced. I literally took the Phone and none could find one, Service Centers are greedy Charging Rs.3000.