Nitdroid: Installing Android on the Nokia N810


I'm continually frustrated with Nokia. They make truly excellent hardware but akways seem to produce the most disappointing software. The N95 & the N810 are perfect examples of this. Powerful and innovative computers let down by shoddy software.

So, when I heard that some clever hackers had ported Google's Android OS to the N810, I leapt at the chance to reinvigorate my sadly neglected Internet Tablet..

There are various tutorials on the web, but here's my quick & pain free howto for people running Ubuntu. This is based on the instructions from the Nitdroid Homepage and the InternetTabletTalk forums.

You will need...

  • A Nokia N810 (this should also work with the N800 and the N770)
  • USB and Charging cables.
  • A computer running Ubuntu (or most other flavours of Linux)
  • A working Internet connection.
  • NERVES OF STEEL! (Not really, it's very simple to reflash the N810 if you do mess up.)

So here's the HOWTO:

  1. Back up any files you want to keep from your N810. We're going to be wiping it clean.
  2. Remove any SD cards you've got from the N810.
  3. Make sure the battery is fully charged.
  4. Create a folder on your computer called "Nitdroid".
  5. Download the following files (or newer if available)
  6. The flasher - this allows you to flash the hardware (you may need a different version if you're running 64bit or PPC).
  7. The Android filesystem
  8. The Andoid OS
  9. Connect your N810 to your computer via USB, switch the N810 on.
  10. If you haven't got it already, install and run gparted.
  11. You need to create 3 partitions, the first must be FAT32, the third must be ext3 with a minimum size of 128MB. See the picture for an example.
  12. Take a note of the device name - in this example, it's /dev/sdb
  13. We need to mount the ext3 filesystem we've created - go to the command line and type
    sudo mount -t ext3 /dev/sdb3 /android

    Remember to change /dev/sdb3 to whatever your device is actually called.

  14. We now need to go to the "/android" directory and extract the filesystem to it. At the command line, type
    cd /android

    Then

    sudo tar -xjpvf /home/$USER/Desktop/nitdroid/rootfs-nitdroid.tar.bz

    Remember to change $USER to your username - or change the whole path to where you downloaded the nitdroid files.

  15. Once complete, you unmount the filesystem by typing
    sudo umount /android

  16. We're ready to flash! Hurrah!
  17. Turn off the N810, unplug it from the power and USB cables.
  18. We need to make the flashing software executable so type
    chmod a+x flasher-3.0-static

  19. Plug the N810 into the USB cable but leave it switched off.
  20. Run the flashing software (yes, with the N810 turned off) by typing
    sudo ./flasher-3.0-static -f -k zImage-nitdroid-n8x0 --enable-rd-mode -R

  21. You will see the following message
    flasher v0.9.0 (Jan 19 2007)
    Suitable USB device not found, waiting

    This means that the flashing software is looking for the N810.

  22. On the N810, hold down the "Switch" button (The one which looks like two overlapping squares, just under the camera). With the button held down, push the power button.
  23. You'll see some messages on your PC's screen indicating that the device is being flashed. Let go of the buttons.
  24. Wait.
  25. Wait a little while longer.
  26. Have a biscuit to calm your nerves.
  27. It should be over and done with in less than a minute.
  28. Once it's complete, unplug the N810. Power it off, then on again. You should see this screen.
  29. It takes about 5 minutes for the first boot to complete. If it takes substantially longer than that, read the troubleshooting section.
  30. TADA! You now have Android on your N810.WiFi works - as do the keyboard and touchscreen. At the moment, sound, BlueTooth & GPS don't. There are a few random crashes, and the performance leaves a little to be desired. Much like the original Maemo software!

Troubleshooting.
If it all goes wrong, here's how to get your N810 back to the latest official firmware.

  • Download the latest official firmware from http://tablets-dev.nokia.com/nokia_N810.php
  • Plug the N810 into the USB cable but leave it switched off.
  • Run the flashing software (yes, with the N810 turned off) by typing
    sudo ./flasher-3.0 -F RX-44_DIABLO_5.2008.43-7_PR_COMBINED_MR0_ARM.bin -f -R

    Remember to replace "RX-44...." with the name of the latest software.

  • You will see the following message
    flasher v0.9.0 (Jan 19 2007)
    Suitable USB device not found, waiting

    This means that the flashing software is looking for the N810.

  • On the N810, hold down the "Switch" button (The one which looks like two overlapping squares, just under the camera). With the button held down, push the power button.
  • Wait. You will have a factory fresh N810 in a matter of minutes.

Enjoy!


62 Responses to “Nitdroid: Installing Android on the Nokia N810”

  1. Matt Lacey Image of Matt Lacey

    I really like the N810, but I wouldn't describe it as excellent hardware. The touchscreen is dreadful and really lets down an otherwise great device.
    Or maybe I'm just upset that my screen got scratched and means that the onscreen keyboard is now unusable as it is constantly detecting extra screen presses. I've not known that happen to a screen on any device in more than 5 years.

    Reply
  2. Jan Image of Jan

    How long does it take to install onced flashed i followed the directions but its still the android screen

    Reply
    • Terence Eden Image of Terence Eden

      It should take around 5 - 10 minutes for the first boot. It will be significantly quicker after that. If after 10 minutes nothing has happened, I'd try to flash it again.

      Reply
  3. Andre Image of Andre

    "’m continually frustrated with Nokia. They make truly excellent hardware but akways seem to produce the most disappointing software. The N95 & the N810 are perfect examples of this. Powerful and innovative computers let down by shoddy software."

    What were your gripes with the Maemo software?
    Does the hacked Android software work better for you with the n810?

    Reply
    • Terence Eden Image of Terence Eden

      I find Maemo a little clunky - the usability is typical Nokia (low!). Most of the power of the device requires you to gain root access.

      Android is by no means a replacement - yet. At the moment it's just a proof of concept. Stick with the latest Maemo for day-to-day use.

      Reply
  4. Jay Image of Jay

    I did everything by the book but my n800 won't connect to wifi. It sees the AP but wont get an IP address from it. says unsuccessful

    Reply
  5. ramonite Image of ramonite

    hmmm do i really need an Ubuntu for this? My laptops are running on Vista..

    though my netbook runs on Xandros linux... would that work?

    Reply
  6. kourun Image of kourun

    hi,i really interested..but how to reflash it if i mess up? and how fast does it take to boot up? does this support flash 10?? thanks..

    Reply
    • Terence Eden Image of Terence Eden

      Hi,
      The end of this post contains instructions on how to reflash if it goes wrong. After the first boot, it only takes a minute or so to boot up. It doesn't support any form of Adobe Flash.

      T

      Reply
  7. Valentina Muñoz Porras Image of Valentina Muñoz Porras

    We did install it but many apps didn't work and it crashed like every 10 minutes :S. The main reason we wanted android was because we wanted google apps. So we're back on maemo.

    Thanks for your instructions.

    Reply
  8. Andrew Image of Andrew

    Suitable USB device not found, waiting
    USB device found found at bus 001, device address 006
    Error claiming USB interface: Operation not permitted

    any help please?

    Reply
  9. Gordon Image of Gordon

    Is there a way to do this procedure using windows? i use windows 7 on my laptop.
    i am wanting to upgrade the software as i have never really liked the bog standard OS on the N810

    thanks

    Reply
  10. GaNgStA Image of GaNgStA

    I can tell an easy way for nokia to look like and android..
    go to http://www.mobile9.com
    select your phone model
    go to softwares
    download the software "vhome" (Its free)
    install it in your nokia phone...
    ta daaaaaaa !!!!!!
    v r done..

    Reply
  11. anu Image of anu

    hey mate i wanted to ask where you say type the command in the command line -- where is that and how to go to the directory and everything iam not soo good with programming and was just following your instructions it'll be better if you had a video but no worries please tell me i was also having problems while creating file systems on my nokia n97 ! help please!!! :/

    Reply
  12. SHRAVAN Image of SHRAVAN

    HI
    DOES IT WORKS ON NOKIA N85
    ANY OTHER VER OF ANDRIOD.......... PLZ HELP I LOVE ANDRIOD.

    Reply
  13. Wendell Leon Image of Wendell Leon

    Amigo, sou Brasileiro, Meu nome é Wendell.
    Adorei a postagem.
    Isso de mudar o sistema de um aparelho é fantastico, gostaria muito que vocês conceguicem uma forma de mudar o sistema tambem do aparelho Nokia N97.

    É um aparelho Lindo, porem seu sistema Mata qualquer um de raiva.
    Ja imaginou um telefone desses com sistema Android, seria maravilhoso.

    Tentem por favor!
    Obrgado.

    Reply
  14. eos Image of eos

    Hello:

    Any news of the wireless working ? If it works , which Anroid and Tablet have you used ?
    I have a N770

    Thanks !!!

    Reply
  15. Bruno Image of Bruno

    Hi Terence, thanks for the job, i'm don't know how to use linux, i have a windows 7 on my notebook, and received a N810, and i read all post but the links are down, can you please re-upload it?

    Reply

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