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ZTE Open update crashes

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Today, a new update appeared on my phone. I downloaded it and installed it. About a third through it crashed. I saw a Linux type screen with blue and yellow text indicating that there was an error in the update file in the SD card. I had just reformatted the SD card, reinserted it and the battery. Has anyone else experienced that?

All Replies (20)

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Same problem about E: Error in /sdcard/updates/fota/ (Status 7) My recovery.log here

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I completely bricked my ZTE Open: /questions/972025.

Do I need to contact ZTE or can I flash it myself with the previously linked image, or another one?

Modified by grinzie

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HI grinzie,

I'm sorry you are having this problem, I read your other post. I would try again to get the phone to boot by first charging up the battery (if battery is too low, it can get stuck booting). Then start it with the power button, making sure not to push any buttons while it boots up.

If it cannot get through the boot sequence, I would call ZTE and describe the problem to them. We have communicated the problem with this system update to them and it is being investigated. Let me know how it goes. I will report on this problem again to product & release management later today.

Best regards, Michelle Luna

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Hey, thanks for responding!

The battery was fully charged and has not been low.

Speaking as someone who is new to Firefox OS, I am finding it a bit hard to get my bearing, not only on this Forum, but throughout Mozilla.

I should not have been so flippant about the update, but everything was running so smoothly. Is a memory card required to perform the update? If so, that would be helpful to know on the package and in the Software Update app. The phone came with scant instructions.

It is still not working.

I called ZTE Service Hotline (USA). They did not seem aware of the ZTE Open, but gave me generic advice -- get a memory card first.

I finally got the memory card, called back, talked to the same guy from earlier and he said "Take it to AT&T and ask for a hard reset." I was so deflated I said "Thanks, I'll try that."

Isn't that bad advice? My hunch is AT&T will not touch it with their equipment (AT&T is my wireless carrier).

I also sent an email via the ZTE Service Hotline page and have not heard back. Nor have I heard back from ZTE through Ebay, while they always got back to me promptly during the shipping process.

This thing is radioactive!

I am willing to flash the phone. I found out about Firefox OS Recovery Utility here: /questions/969263. I have not tried any command other than md5 check yet, which failed. I think the phone does not recognize my microSD card; the bottom part of the screen in Recovery Utility is static; I do not see the same error message as without a card.

I downloaded the previously linked zip, but it is for UK. Is there one for US? Also, I do not know which version my phone was running prior to update, and the zip documentation says it needs to be a higher version.

Can I even use Recovery Utility? I am willing to build and install from source, if necessary. I am running FreeBSD but would be willing to boot Linux, if that is what it takes.

The worst part is that my old phone is just biting the dust. The battery is gone. So I have not been able to finish a conversation with ZTE Service Hotline (thus the email).

Modified by grinzie

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I got the link for the US version of ZTE Open from Ebay, from ZTE Ebay.

According to the documentation bundled with the zip: "SD card upgrade only allows upgrading between same version and from low version to high version."

Did the failed system update upgrade the firmware version? I think not, since the phone reported that the system update still had to be downloaded.

Modified by grinzie

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I am happy to report that my phone is working again, reset to factory defaults. The PDF bundled with the zip provides instructions.

Here is an overview of how I unbricked my US ZTE Open from Ebay.

  1. Get a microSD card. My card: HP 16GB Class 4, bought for $11 at Big Lots.
  2. Format the card. I put the card in an SD adapter and formatted it with my camera.
  3. On your computer, download the software package zip for your phone. My phone is American Standard.
  4. On your computer, unzip the download. Insert the card. Copy the the zip file in the unzipped download to the card, renaming it Eject the card.
  5. On your phone, insert the card. Boot into Firefox OS Recovery Utility by pressing Up Volume and Power buttons simultaneously. Press Up and Down buttons to scroll the list. Press Power button to select an item.
  6. Select "apply update from external stor". Select Wait for update to finish. Select "reboot system now."
  7. Your phone should now work.

md5 check still failed after updating. Also the URL for the zip is unencrypted and provides no checksum.

Modified by grinzie

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I applied the system update only, and I got the same error as original poster.

Same Build Identifier: 20130724040538

However, the system update is no longer listed in Notifications.

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Hi grinzie,

Thanks for this additional information. There was a request for a feature roadmap earlier in this thread, so I thought I should post it back here:

We're still working on the system update issue with ZTE and I'll post more information when I have it.

Best, Michelle

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Hi again,

Ok, the update has been pulled down as of this morning. ZTE will provide a separate package with fastboot within the next couple of days and we'll get it documented for you at that time, thanks for your patience on fastboot, it is important to us and to ZTE that developers have it.

For those who had a problem with the phone or need to restore it, here is the information and packages for UK/US devices:

To recover your phone back to the original build by using the current online SD package (Not for fast boot enabling). There is instruction in the package for the user to follow up the update.

   Package for UK eBay phone:
   Package for US eBay phone:

Thanks, Michelle

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ZTE has provided the online SD package for the user to enable the fastboot of their eBay ZTE Open. Please note that ZTE re-uses the download site of original SD package. Thus, there is only fastboot enabled SD package on the site right now for the users to un-brick their phone and enable the fastboot all in one update.

ZTE Open US eBay phone: ZTE Open UK/EU eBay phone:

Thanks, Michelle

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Hi Michelle,

I'm a little confused. Who are the intended users of this SD package? Only those whose phone stopped working, or everyone? My ZTE open is working, albeit with some if the bugs I and others have reported. Am I right in assuming that this package is not an OS update?

Thanks, Michael

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Is there any documentation available that describes what this update changes?

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Anyone who is not running version OPEN_US_DEV_FFOS_V1.0.0.0802 (or UK equivalent) is eligible for this update. While it does not change the Firefox OS version, it is an upgrade. To check your version, go to Settings : Device information and look at Software. It would be helpful to know when ZTE started shipping this version -- something like two weeks ago or less. For a bricked phone, regardless of when it was purchased, this image is the only option.

Normally, this update would come through Software Updates, with a notification on the phone, but that process has some issues which are being ironed out by (at least) ZTE. It is surprising that Software Updates come from ZTE instead of Mozilla, but that appears to be the case.

I am unclear as to the difference between ROM, firmware and image. What is clear is that there are certain parts of the phone's software which can only be updated through a "ZTE" channel: flash image from memory card, install from Software Updates.

The third possible channel for updating the phone's software is fastboot. Support for this feature must be enabled in ZTE's part of the software. Thereafter, Firefox OS may be upgraded to a higher version than is officially supported by ZTE by attaching it to a computer with the supplied USB cable. While there will always be some lag between the latest version and the latest one supported by ZTE, hopefully ZTE will eventually be more up to date than they are now.

As I understand it, fastboot is not for the faint of heart; writing documentation for a non-developer audience may not be either.

Modified by grinzie

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I just applied the update, and everything went fine. I also applied the remaining Software Updates for apps, which I have been ignoring.

It seemed to save all of my information. I cannot discern any real difference, which is to be expected.

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I'm very confused now. I got a ZTE Open from eBay US on September 18. The first time I brought the phone up on Wi-Fi, it installed some updates. The device information says: Last updated 09/18/2013 12:24 PM

I put a SIM card in it on the 19th and connected it to the T-Mobile network via a third party reseller. The phone seems to be working fine; the only issues I've had is that Twitter crashes sometimes trying to tweet out an attached picture, and T-Mobile's coverage is spotty in the outlying suburbs of Portland, Oregon.


1. Do I need this update? If so, why? 2. Are there risks in applying it? 3. If it does brick the phone, are there recovery procedures?

The documentation in the zip file I downloaded from the ZTE link above is nearly unreadable. Do I need to take the SIM card out to apply the update? Can I just copy the update ZIP file to the device with the name it has, or do I need to rename it to ''?

I've got another phone, so my life doesn't end if this one's out of commission for a week or so while I troubleshoot the insanely poor documentation. But it's not like I'm going to get a hero medal for doing it either. ;-)

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Q 1. Do I need this update? If so, why?

A 1. You likely already have the new version installed. Check it as described above.

1A. If not, you only NEED the update in the sense that future system updates from ZTE will require it. You will probably not see any difference in how the device functions.

1B. You might WANT the update to be able to use fastboot yourself. See the Device support documentation. If you bought the phone before September 27 you probably need the update, even if the phone reports the correct Software version.

Q 2. Are there risks in applying it?

A 2. Right now it is risky because official support is so iffy. I have been through the procedure twice now, and both times it went smoothly, but before that I spent a lot of time trying to get official answers.

Q 3. If it does brick the phone, are there recovery procedures?

A 3. The recovery procedure would be to do the same thing using the original zip file, which is no longer linked on the ZTE site. I still have a copy of it, but ZTE needs to add the link back. It would be nice if Firefox OS Recovery Utility had an option to back up the phone's existing image, but it does not. Exchange it for a new one through Ebay.

Q 4. The documentation in the zip file I downloaded from the ZTE link above is nearly unreadable. Do I need to take the SIM card out to apply the update?

A 4. I interpreted it as "You ought to remove the SIM card" and did so.

Q 5. Can I just copy the update ZIP file to the device with the name it has, or do I need to rename it to ''?

A 5. I doubt that renaming is required; I assume that if the file shows up in Firefox OS Recovery Utility, it will work identically; I suppose there could be a limitation that is not obvious or documented, such as number of characters or invalid characters. Therefore, I renamed it as suggested.

[A 6.] I heeded the warning about unplugging the charger and making sure the battery had enough charge. The documentation is correct that the process takes 1 - 2 minutes. While it does not take much charge to last that long, it also does not hurt to err on the side of caution.

Modified by grinzie

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I went ahead doing the same. It does not appear to have changed anything on the phone - all the version numbers are the same and I still get 'The was an error downloading the updates" when I do a manual check for updates. I'm interpreting that message to mean ZTE doesn't have any updates for the device.

Just out of curiousity, is the US ZTE support office located near a place with a substantial Mozilla presence? A documentation hackathon might be a good idea. By my calculation there are only 1500 - 2000 ZTE Open units in the USA so without some kind of 'volunteer' effort it's going to be tough to get the docs cleaned up.

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Hi grinzie and znmeb,

I have escalated this problem through to head of ZTE terminals and got some new contacts through the escalation, but not much to report on real progress otherwise for overall support improvements. I will keep on it.

Thanks very much for your detailed posts to help other users and developers, much appreciated. I have also reached out to the Mozilla Developer network doc writers about the need for complete and useful instructions for ZTE Open from our side, here is a link to the documentation that they have started and I'd love to participate in a hack session on this, they are pushing from their side for more information about the device as well, to improve the content:

I agree that the current instructions are not for users and future devices sold will come with fastboot by default, so this is a temporary issue for the earliest buyers. I'm confident that over-the-air updates will work going forward, once the kinks are worked out of their update server (our release management team just went through some sessions with ZTE in response to this issue, so this is a learning process and we appreciate your patience and also recognize that you are helping to shape the future experience, so thanks for that).

The above linked article is part of a larger set of articles that are useful to anyone building and flashing themselves here:

Here is the doc status page where we can see Jason's progress on the developer guide for ZTE Open and where we can propose other documents or join in the work:

Best regards, Michelle Luna

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Thanks! I'm in PDX and I know a few of the Mozillians here, but I don't know what their priorities are. I also don't know how many Firefox phones of all types are here; mine is the only ZTE Open I've seen but there are a few Keons kicking around.

I got the ZTE Open mostly as a dogfooding platform for app development. I have a Geeksphone Peak+ on order for 'serious smartphone usage'. ;-)

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Is this a fair summary?

One of the promised advantages of Firefox OS compared to the competition is that a device owner will not have to violate terms of warranty, usage or service (by "rooting" the device) in order to install versions of the operating system not supported by the manufacturer.

This seems to be the genuine intention of both ZTE and Mozilla, manifested in the form of fastboot support, and it makes sense for everyone.

  1. ZTE gets credit for being a founding partner without having to support the software.
  2. Mozilla gets a direct channel to users who represent a whole new crop of potential beta testers, app developers and evangelists.
  3. Users get a pre-rooted device, so to speak, with a sanctioned opportunity to do pretty much whatever they want with it.

Unfortunately, the first phone ZTE sold through Ebay did not have fastboot enabled, to the surprise of Mozilla, throwing a wrench in the golden scenario outlined above.

Hopefully everyone with an early model will get the message and perform the update so we can all get back on the same, single, original, fastboot-enabled page.

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