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Follow my journey to Lineage OS 17.1 and Sony XA2 (Pioneer)

This thread will be about my current path to a new phone. My old stock OnePlus 5 stopped charging and I got offered XA2 for $100. Besides missing AMOLED I like the phone and the 17.1 comes signed for it. I got it and now I am writing down what I am doing with it in this thread.

The focus will be whether Lineage OS is much better than stock android and comparable to devices with greater care (iPhone SE, Samsung S series, Samsung A series, Google Pixel, OnePlus)

I will try to keep it like a blog and a guide with enough source links.

Follow if you are interested in:

  • Android battery life
  • Low data usage
  • practical tricks

Status:

  • phone is home and so far running great
  • running Fedora on my workstation
  • New 128GB SD is being bad-blocked right now (single pass you lifespan geeks)
  • Working from home every day now, so I have time to play and type it up.

Using it as daily driver for 2 weeks:

  • Already exceeded my expectations.
  • I think this phone and Lineage OS is comparable if not better than Samsung A series and I hold A series well above generic Android phones.
  • Comparison with Samsung S series will be tough due to limited HW. Still I am actually comparing it and that is a good sign.
  • Already ebtter than my experience with old SE, probably cannot match experiences with new iPhone SE. But clsoer than comparison with S series.

Current sentiments

  • Do not buy a phone without support from Lineage, unless the own manufacture is proven to provide same care. (e.g. iPhone 7 or 8, Samsung A series older than 2020 and generic Android)
  • Fears of not being able to run things are disappearing. You will see more notes here.

Day 1: Installing Lineage OS - adb, fastboot makes it pretty easy

This is not as good as the original guide, but it might serve as a feedback to those struggling.

Sources:

  1. https://wiki.lineageos.org/devices/pioneer (2020-09-22)
  2. https://download.lineageos.org/pioneer (2020-09-22)
  3. https://opengapps.org/?api=10&variant=nano (2020-09-22)
  4. https://androidfilehost.com/?fid=8889791610682929240 (2020-09-22)
  5. http://developer.sonymobile.com/unlockbootloader/unlock-yourboot-loader/

Basic requirements:

  1. Install adb and fastboot sudo dnf install android-tools.x86_64
  2. List attached devices: adb devices

List of devices attached
CQ3000QVAH unauthorized

  1. Confirm on phone…
  2. List attached devices: adb devices

List of devices attached
CQ3000QVAH device

Unlocking the boot-loader

Sony does offer the codes online and I had no issue getting it for the first SIM slot.

Your unlock code for 123466092185949 is: 1234FC34B2E9D42

  1. adb reboot bootloader
  2. sudo fastboot devices

CQ3000QVAH fastboot

  1. sudo fastboot oem unlock 57FBAFC34B2E9D42

OKAY [ 1.275s]
Finished. Total time: 1.275s

Downloading build:

Recovery and the image, including SHA checksum

wget https://mirrorbits.lineageos.org/recovery/pioneer/20200917/lineage-17.1-20200917-recovery-pioneer.img
wget https://mirrorbits.lineageos.org/recovery/pioneer/20200917/lineage-17.1-20200917-recovery-pioneer.img?sha256
wget https://mirrorbits.lineageos.org/full/pioneer/20200917/lineage-17.1-20200917-nightly-pioneer-signed.zip?sha256
wget https://mirrorbits.lineageos.org/full/pioneer/20200917/lineage-17.1-20200917-nightly-pioneer-signed.zip
sha256sum -c *sha256

lineage-17.1-20200917-nightly-pioneer-signed.zip: OK
lineage-17.1-20200917-recovery-pioneer.img: OK

Downloading GApps:

Links are in sources, 10 and Nano was recommended to me.

wget https://kumisystems.dl.sourceforge.net/project/opengapps/arm64/20200918/open_gapps-arm64-10.0-nano-20200918.zip
wget https://master.dl.sourceforge.net/project/opengapps/arm64/20200918/open_gapps-arm64-10.0-nano-20200918.zip.md5
md5sum -c *md5

open_gapps-arm64-10.0-nano-20200918.zip: OK

Downloading copy-partitions:

This requires firefox due to the mirror, afterwards:

  1. mv ~/Downloads/copy-partitions-20200903_1329.zip ./
  2. echo c51c52fc294bc989fbf37d7a287292eb copy-partitions-20200903_1329.zip > copy-partitions-20200903_1329.zip.md5
  3. md5sum -c copy-partitions-20200903_1329.zip.md5

copy-partitions-20200903_1329.zip: OK

Flashing recovery:

  1. sudo fastboot flash boot lineage-17.1-20200917-recovery-pioneer.img
  2. Unplug, lights turn off.
  3. Hold power and volume down, release on sony logo
  4. Plug the cable once in recovery.
  5. adb devices

List of devices attached
CQ3000QVAH unauthorized

  1. Advanced -> Enable ADB
  2. adb devices

List of devices attached
CQ3000QVAH recovery

Installing the image:

  1. adb sideload copy-partitions-20200903_1329.zip
  2. adb sideload lineage-17.1-20200917-nightly-pioneer-signed.zip
  3. Advanced -> Reboot to recovery and get to the of sideload ADB again
  4. adb sideload open_gapps-arm64-10.0-nano-20200918.zip
  5. In recovery select: Reboot system now.

Problems:

  1. I managed to reboot the device to original recovery and it showed a warning about corrupted system. Just boot into lineage recovery again from fastboot
  2. Recovery is not available from bootloader while cable is connected. This took me a while.
  3. Holding the recovery shortcut too long causes the recovery to exit itself and you have to start over.
  4. Lineage starts before flashing the GApps - repeated the process.

First impressions:

  • First boot was smooth.
  • Default brightness was low, but managable inside.
  • Now I am ready to set my phone up again. Teaser: Termux, Company Portal…
3 Likes

Work mode

This section is related to work as an employee, I do a lot of work as a contractor and for myself.
This usually does not involve bureaucracy like this and will be described later.

Most corporations are moving away from company phones and going BYOD route.
the downside tot his is that anyone running work on phone needs advanced SOC.

Thankfully this phone is recent enough to have no impact from encryption and monitoring.
I was worried about the Lineage-OS status as a custom ROM. Short of it, it works better than stock Android 9.

Getting the Company Portal

I am not logged into the play store, so the only way is an APK.
Microsoft does offer it:

I managed to use SD Card for the APK, but if you are a Chrome user, you can do it there.
I guess I should also include ADB for this next time.

Installation went fine and app launched.

Enrolling your device

I did sweat a little bit here and started the process.

Creating a work profile

After logging in Lineage/Android started going in and setting everything up.
No extra input was necessary

Applying the work profile

I did have to log-in again and that was it.

Installing work apps.

Company portal offered me Play Store right away and I was able to install all the apps needed for work.

  • Teams
  • Cisco
  • Outlook
  • Office apps

What scared me is that it installed apps I did not (Microsoft Edge) and it also created a weird malware looking account. This account is just to handle google store on a device without google account.

Device is now enrolled and what

Well the US of Android 10 and Lineage-OS 17.1 is very clean and separates apps from each other.
It even offer the ability to switch it off, but I have not yet used it.

Do not be alarmed that you still have to log into the individual apps. It would not work without work profile and it will now.

This has been more painless than stock Android 9 or 8.

Next up? F-Droid and Firefox Klar

2 Likes

Starting setting up apps

Still no Google Account and therefore I want F-Droid and Firefox Focus/Klar to replace play store and Chrome. Chrome is a scourge for Android.

F-Droid

Repository that allows easy installation and updates, but also alllows you to share apps with others and distribute content this way. Does put a priority on Open Source software.

Downloading the APK on PC

You can always download it on your phone, but adb is your friend.

  1. Download the APK and the signature:
wget https://f-droid.org/F-Droid.apk https://f-droid.org/F-Droid.apk.asc
gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-key 7A029E54DD5DCE7A
gpg --verify F-Droid.apk.asc F-Droid.apk

gpg: Good signature from “F-Droid [email protected]” [unknown]
gpg: WARNING: This key is not certified with a trusted signature!
gpg: There is no indication that the signature belongs to the owner.

Maybe somebody could let me know a better way to confirm the signature.

  1. Sideload the APK into the phone:
    adb install F-Droid.apk

Success

  1. Open on phone and enjoy.

Setup on phone

TBD

Firefox Focus

You might have tried full Firefox on Android and found it lacking. Focus is the perfect browser for phones - focused on fetching something online and deletes itself upon close with a notification in case you forget.

Focus vs Klar - German version is clearer on marketing due to German law. Nothing more to it.

Downloading and installing

wget https://github.com/mozilla-mobile/focus-android/releases/latest/download/Klar-arm64.apk
adb install Klar-arm64.apk
1 Like

Like you I came from OP5 but when the phone was glitching out due to broken touch sensors, I decided to change to a new phone. Your phone was also chosen for consideration because it is a cheap has enough features for me. I ended up choosing Asus Zenphone Max Pro M2 because of its massive 5000 mAh battery life

The problem now arises that my phone dev is a student with a hobby and has decided not to update to 17.1 like your phone. Also the updates has trickled down from daily to weekly and now I am getting only monthly updates from Lineage 16.

This has made me consider an iPhone SE 2020 for the first time, wife had a very old iPad Mini 2 and it still gets security updates from time to time.

Exactly why I decided to buy mine - checked updates for it first, My preference would S8, Note 9 or A41. I also thought about SE 63GB, but the price here was about 25% too high for a impulse buy.
This journey is there to let me know what are my options. So far I am amazed how better this is over stock. Almost as good as OP or Samsung.

I’d still be going for OP+Lineage but their phone price has gone up to flagship levels.

I think the we need to be on the phones that devs use but I dont like to jump between phones if they arent broken.

I also didnt think I’d miss AMOLED but i really miss it a lot. I think it saves battery life as well.

Hey, Thanks for sharing this important information. I hope your experience is good enough so far of Sony AX2.

  • Battery is awesome (thanks to no extensive use due to SW I get around 4 days of use)
  • LineageOS seems a bit a sluggish due to power-saving (Need to figure out how to have a powersaving without throthling CPU so much)
    • Samsung does allow customization on power-saving.
    • You want to have power saving enabled all the time, because then apps need permision to run in the background. Since Android 9 you cannot do that without it.
    • Lower range of CPU cannot handle the aggressive throttling as well as top model. So this is more of a XA2 problem - not as flexible HW wise.
  • Phone has TFT screen making it hard to oeparate at sunlight or well lit rooms.
  • the 720p is not usable for android 10 - ideally you want the [email protected] for mobility.
    • Correction the screen is actually FullHD, but there is got to be some tweaking done.
    • It is uncomfortable combo of size of the UI and the Phone. Feels liek the UI is too big for the screen.

I am already preparing other useful notes on Lineage on XA2:

  • Termux and Youtube
  • Samsung Health
  • Samsung Gear or Active Watch (I cannot live without it :slight_smile: )
  • VLC and Plex
  • Disabling whatsup, but have it (EU is rotten with it)

All this without play store (technically installed for installing work applications, but not actually tunning play services most of the time.)

1 Like

Status update

Due personal stuff I did not wrote a lot of my process up.
Let me know if you want anything written up.
I was hoping to create a reference for my next phone and future, this is still my intent.

Dependencies

  • Personal PIM works through exchange
  • Email app is horrible as it is the one from Google.
  • FairEmail or K-Mail works better.
  • Trezor is integrated well

Could not get installed from APKs:

  1. Uber
  2. Plex

Samsung apps

Using other phone or SAMmobile.com APKs.

  1. Galaxy Store does not work, did not find a way to fix it.
  2. Samsung Health works fine
  3. Samsung S3 Gear - Great watch, Integration works
  4. Samsung Active - Good watch, integration works, not with both at the same time. Somehow one disconnects the other instead of switching.

Complaints

  1. Phone is slower to wake up
  2. Fingerprint sensors is triggered too often by unintentional movement. This leads to using pin code.
  3. SMS App is highly unreliable.

Here is a draft about termux, something that I use on the regular,

Termux

One of best tools for advanced users to utilize their brain for the edge cases life gives you :slight_smile:

It is not just another Terminal emulator - it is more of a linux running as an app.
The main limitation is SD card integration (You can use it, but only inside the app assigned space.)

Do not get scared away by the interface - try it. My recommendation is to use a keyboard like Hacker’s keyboard with support for arrow keys.

Setup

  1. Install from F-Droid or Play Store
  2. Setup storage
  3. Update packages

Use 1: youtube-dl - Downloading YT videos to watch later

I highly recommend approaching videos in a sustainable way - YT pushes you to mindlessly consume and that will eventually sour the entire experience for you. You will then be replace by another( Remember you are the product of youtube.com).

I would like to point out that this does not support the creators in the same way. Be sure to subscribe, like and create playlists to help along.

Setup

  1. Install ffmpeg and pip
  2. Use pip to install the project

Script to handle share button

Examples