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How to get Android 2.1 on the AT&T Dell Streak

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Feeling left out that your shiny new AT&T Dell Streak is currently stuck with Android 1.6 and can't sideload apps while people across the pond are running the leaked 2.1 update and installing all the non-Market apps they want?

The update may not work with the US device, but that doesn't mean you can't make it work. It probably won't be long before someone cooks it up and serves it to AT&T Streak users, but if you don't want to spend another second waiting for what might be available later, you can get what's available now onto the device yourself. AT&T 3G + Android 2.1 + sideloading = yes, yes, and yes.

The process isn't complicated, but it can be overwhelming and shouldn't be attempted if you don't know how to get yourself out of a potential mess. In other words, proceed at your own risk.

But first, here's a short video of my AT&T Streak running 2.1 to show you it's real.

You want it now, don't you?

Here's the abbreviated version of how to do it for experienced users:

  • Root the AT&T Streak
  • Flash the UK/O2 ROM (build 4399)
  • Apply the Android 2.1 update (build 6941)


The update isn't the final release, as you know, but I haven't encountered any issues so far. Everything AT&T-related is fully functional: 3G, GPS, incoming/outgoing calls, text messaging, voicemail. Android Market is fine, as are email, stock apps, third-party apps, the camera, the camcorder, and everything else I've tried.

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This is not to say that your experience will be identical to mine, the update is flawless, or that nothing can go wrong. But for me, on my AT&T Streak, Android 2.1 is grand.

Now here's the fleshed out version of how it's done for those who need it.

IMPORTANT: Putting Android 2.1 on your Streak will wipe all data (except for whatever is being synced to the cloud), so back up anything important. There is also currently no way to revert back to AT&T factory condition after following these instructions. I believe that there will be a way soon, but there isn't one right now.

Root the Streak

At the time of this writing, there are two ways to root the Streak.

The first is using Superboot. I've already written a tutorial on how to use this, so I won't repeat it here. Superboot roots the AT&T Streak but as you may have seen in my previous post, there are potential problems. You're going to wipe the device in the next step anyway, though, so I don't think it really matters.

The second way to root the Streak is by using an app called Universal Androot. It lets you root and unroot the Streak with a simple tap of a button. This isn't available in Android Market, though, so you'll need to use Sideload Wonder Machine to work around AT&T's sideloading lockdown. Some people are having problems with SWM, but the fix for many seems to be to uninstall Dell PC Suite and install the PDANet client for Windows instead (hat tip to Jeff).

Restore to UK factory condition

I restored my Streak to UK factory condition instead of just flashing the O2 ROM because I wanted to start fresh. Flashing the ROM is faster/easier for experienced users, which is why I suggested it above, but I'm going with "restore to UK factory condition" here because it's what I did. I also think it will give you confidence in future hacking because it's pretty involved.

If you just want to flash the O2 ROM instead, please feel free. I believe you should be able to flash the ClockworkMod recovery image using the ROM Manager app from Android Market, backup the AT&T ROM, and then flash it later if necessary. I don't think the AT&T recovery image is available yet, though, which means you wouldn't be able to restore to AT&T factory condition.

This is the most daunting step to anyone who has never done something like this before, but just take it slow and you'll get through it.

  1. Assuming you don't already have it, download the Android SDK. Unzip it and put it wherever you want. You won't be installing anything so don't worry; you just need the fastboot.exe sitting on your computer.
  2. Install Dell PC Suite if you don't already have it.
  3. Download the stock recovery ROM and the stock Dell ROM from the links provided at MoDaCo.
  4. Rename the Dell ROM Update.pkg and move it to the root directory of the Streak's microSD card.
  5. Put the recovery ROM in the C: directory on your computer.
  6. Turn off the Streak. Hold down the camera button while pressing the power button to turn it back on.
  7. Tap the "Fastboot" button that will appear in the top-right corner of the screen.
  8. Wait for about 10 seconds (you'll see "Wait for USB Fastboot detect" in the bottom-left corner of the screen in the meantime) and connect the Streak to your computer.
  9. When "Fastboot_Mode" appears on the Streak's screen, open a command prompt on your computer. In Windows, you can do this by typing cmd in the Start Menu's search bar and hitting Enter.
  10. Navigate to the folder where fastboot.exe (from the Android SDK) is by using the cd command.
  11. Once you're in the right place, type fastboot.exe -i 0x413c flash recovery c:recovery.stock.img and hit Enter.
  12. When you see "Download RECOVERY Done!" on the Streak, remove the back cover and pull out the battery.
  13. Replace the battery and back cover. Hold the volume up and down buttons down while pressing the power button and choose option 2 from the menu that will appear.
  14. Relax for a few minutes and wait for the Streak to reboot. You'll see the O2 splash screen because—drum roll—you've got the stock O2 ROM (build 4399) running on your Streak.

You've still got Android 1.6, though, so you're not done yet. But if it makes you feel better, go ahead and play around for a bit. Make a call, send a text message, and connect to 3G to prove to yourself that despite the O2 ROM, your Streak is still perfectly compatible with AT&T.

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You can also press Menu -> Settings -> About phone to confirm that you've still got a US baseband.

Apply the Android 2.1 update

Now your AT&T Dell Streak is where the UK O2 (and some other) Streaks were when the leaked 2.1 update came out.

Compared to what you just did, this next part is dead simple. You actually already did it once; you just need to do it again with the 2.1 file.

  1. Download the .apk from the links provided at MoDaCo (some are faster than others).
  2. Rename it Update.pkg and move it to the Streak's microSD card. There's already an Update.pkg there from step 4 of the restore, so you need to replace it with the new Update.pkg you just renamed.
  3. Turn the Streak off.
  4. Hold the volume up and down buttons down while pressing the power button and choose option 2 from the menu that will appear.
  5. Break out the champagne because after the Streak reboots, you're done.

You're now running Android 2.1 on your AT&T Dell Streak!

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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