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SystemUpdates by Zzte on Axon 7

SystemUpdates by Zzte on Axon 7

My secondary phone line (used for work) is on a ZTE Axon 7 running Android 7.1.1. A little while ago, I found an app that was running called SystemUpdates by Zzte. The app can not be uninstalled nor easily disabled. (You can use Settings > Apps > Show system apps > System Updates > disable, but this has other repercussions like no longer being able to perform system updates.)

The reviews of this app on the Android Play Store imply that SystemUpdates is malware. A quick Google search on the app seems to confirm it. Until you dig a bit deeper and find out that apparently SystemUpdates by Zzte is an official ZTE application, confirmed by a ZTE community rep on the Axon 7 forums. However, after reading an article on Digital Trends about Chinese spyware installed on devices, I have my doubts. (ZTE is on the list of devices manufacturers, but Huawei is not.)

Like the other people on the Google Play store who found this app and had no idea what it was doing on my device, I opted to do a hard reset and restore the factory default settings on the phone. Other people had claimed that this got rid of the application. It does not. App is still present on the phone. Now, this makes sense if the SystemUpdates app is indeed an official ZTE application required to perform system updates.

So now I’m stuck with a reset phone and can no longer access my work email on any of my devices. Tech support and I are going to have some fine quality time on Monday at work.

Meanwhile, given the questions I have about the ZTE phone and the possibility of the manufacturer installing applications I don’t want to have on the device, I’m looking at other options.

I’m investigating unlocking the bootloader on the ZTE Axon 7 and installing Lineage OS 15.1 (Android 8.1 ROM). This does not look like a method for the faint of heart. My phone is a USA unlocked model on build b35. The steps required for installing a different ROM on a phone varies depending upon the build number and version of Android that is installed. Honestly, it gets confusing. I’ve watched several hours of YouTube videos watching how people have tried various ROMs which gave me an idea of the overall process. I’ve read a lot of posts on the XDA, ZTE Axon forums, and reddit.

The method I’m going to try is this one: [GUIDE][TREBLE] Axon 7 Custom OREO ROM installation for newbies – 2018.08.05 by Oki. It seems to be a safe, all-in-one solution. (Well, as much as any of this process is safe when there is a good chance I’ll brick the phone.)

I will post updates on this process as I do it. This is the first time I’ve flashed a ROM on an Android phone. I used to flash the ROM on the Nokia N900 to various versions of developer ROMs, but that was easy because the phone was completely unlocked and was meant to be a developer’s device. And it was a great phone.

Bookmarking the pages I’ve been using: 

Resources for the Entourage Pocket Edge

Resources for the Entourage Pocket Edge

When I first got the Entourage Pocket Edge, there was a good learning curve about what the device can and can not do — and how to hack it to make it do more things. More is good, right? Here are some useful links that I found.

From the XDA Developers forum:

From the Mobile Read forum:

Pocket Edge Wiki is a new site, but could develop into a great resources.

Updating the Pocket Edge to Android 2.2

Even though Entourage pulled the copy of the Edge forums from their web site and closed the store, the company did leave the files and instructions for updating the Edge and Pocket Edge to Android 2.2. I tried several times to download the files from the Entourage site and never got a complete file (should be ~141 MB).

Luckily, I found another site with instructions, the beta Ermine update, and the Android 1.6 files in case the 2.2 update needed to be rolled back. The Edge Hackers forum has a wealth of information, including downloads of the Android 2.2 firmware updates.

Getting the Android Market to work requires either a rooted Android phone running the same version of the OS (2.2 in this case) or a desktop computer with the Android emulator/SDK installed. A third, less reliable option required you to root the Pocket Edge, install the Android Market Enabler, and then choose a phone to emulate. This method dis not work for me. I don’t have a rooted Android 2.2 device, so I’ll probably try the Android emulator next.