Hardware has a lifespan.Â That lifespan is something we try to prolong as long as possible. Nobody likes spending money if there’s another way to preventÂ it. The manufacturers try to persuade us that we should simply scrap our old technology and upgrade to the latest and greatest and pour out a long list of enhancements that will make our life better. Â Generally they add some pretty cool upgrades to their devices from the latest and greatest processor and camera optics to finger print scanners and larger batteries. Â The question is; if you just upgraded your software to the latest and greatest versions, would that leap to a new device be significant enough to persuade you? Â Maybe ezKAT for the Samsung Galaxy Note II will help you decide.
This is especially so for cell phone manufacturers who want us to upgrade our devices a maximum of every two years.Â The normal cycle nowadays seems to be more around 12 months if we are lucky.
Enter the Android community and vast resource of geeks who love to tinker!
So when the community gets together and takes the new features and ports them back into our older devices so they can last a little longer, we all smile and say a big thanks.
Head over to XDA-Developers and youâ€™ll find an overwhelming resource of updates, modifications and tweaks for almost every phone on the planet.
I spend half my life on XDA and thatâ€™s where my latest upgrade to my aging Samsung Galaxy Note IIÂ came from.
My Note II is now more of a hybrid of Samsung Galaxy Note II and Samsung Galaxy S5 with features galore. Â Itâ€™s running Android 4.4.2 Kitkat and it has a completely new lease of life that makes me question upgrading my faithful Note II.
If you have a Samsung Galaxy Note II from AT&T, T-Mobile or the N7105, then you should read on.
Where did this all come from you may ask? Â well, XDA-Developers is simply a hub of information and only exists due to the rapidly expanding community of developers and users.Â The developer of this particular firmware is eZdubzitmk4. Â One of the top developers I’ve had the pleasure of following. Â his work is meticulous and the support he provides is as good as it can possibly get.
eZdubzitmk4 has put together a custom ROM by the name of ezKAT which is based off the official n7105 Android kitkat 4.4.2 release. Â He took the base, various applications, settings and tweaks from the Samsung Galaxy Note III and the Samsung Galaxy S5 and combines them into this piece of art.
When release it had the following feature list:
- All n3 features including Air Command
- S5 apps including settings
- Quick reply text option. (Go to sms settings then notifications)
- Status bar gradient colors, clock mods, gesture controls, and battery bar (SEE THIS THREAD FOR INSTRUCTIONS)
- Clock mods – see above link
- Network Speed
- CPU status in notification pulldown
- MIUI battery bar customizable
- Some tweaks for speed, more to come also
- Added lots of themes for the launcher, already installed
The ROM is currently at version 2.0 and a 2.5 release is due any day.
This is only the beginning as more and more add-ons and tweaks are provided in the thread on XDA and as downloads added by eZdubzitmk4 himself.
Installation is fairly simple with only a couple of learnt lessons to deal with, but once youâ€™re done, youâ€™ll never look back.
You need to be flash savvy to perform any procedures like this.Â Your phone needs to be rootedÂ and have a modified recovery installed.Â You can find lots of help on XDA to achieve this.
All the files required for this firmware and add-ons can be found on XDA. Â Most of the main ones can be found in the ezKAT thread.
The steps for installation are: ( Sorry if I missed anything )
- Download the ROM ZIP and other suggested files and copy them your SD card
- Reboot into your recovery program.
- Backup your existing ROM.
- Wipe everything you can. Â Dalvik, Cache, System, Data, etc. Â Multiple wipes can sometimes help you out too.
- Flash the ROM ZIP file using your recovery program.
- Flash the provided Keyboard Fix OR Galaxy S5 Keyboard
- Flash a new modem image ifÂ required.
- Reboot your phone and let it boot completely.
- At this point, you may or may not have a keyboard to type with.Â Itâ€™s possible youâ€™ll only have Google Voice Typing available.
If you only have Google Voice Typing, skip through the initial setup, as you wonâ€™t be able to sign into your WiFi.
Once youâ€™re completely booted, go into Settings –> Language and Input and enable a realÂ keyboard.
- Now you need to go and set up your APN to get connected to your mobile network.
- Reboot into recovery once more and flash Super SU 1.99 to give you root access.
If you encounter any other issues along the way, be sure to go check in at the thread on XDA and youâ€™ll normally find answers to most of the questions and problems that you may encounter.
Here are the recommended AT&T LTE APN Settings:
- Name: ATT Phone
- APN: Phone
- MMSC: HTTP://mmsc.mobile.att.net
- MMS proxy: proxy.mobile.att.net
- MMS port: 80
- MCC: 310
- MNC: 410
- APN type: default,mms,supl
- APN protocol: IPv4
- Enable/disable APN: APN enabled
- Bearer: Unspecified
If you have issues connecting to your Mobile network, you can find plenty of other resources around for setting up your APN.
Now your phone is running Android 4.4.2 Kitkat in the form of ezKAT and youâ€™ll have awesome performance and battery life and your phone will feel like it has a new lease on life.
Once your up and running, head back to XDA and check out all the add-ons you can flash on top of ezKAT and continue to personalize your phone just the way you want it. Â There are other S5 applications you can install, one of my favorites being the Galaxy S5 email client. Â It has all the whiz bang new features like being able to slide your emails to delete them.
The possibilities are endless. Â There’s also a new kernel from AGNi that solves various issues with some devices not getting good or any Wifi at all. Â The other big added benefit is even more battery life and tweaking.
If you’re not sure about something and you can’t find an answer reading through the forums, ask questions and wait for the answers. Â The support you’ll get from the community and fromÂ eZdubzitmk4, the developer of this ROM, is nothing short of outstanding. Â You’ll get more support from the community and these guys than you ever will get from your carriers.
Always remember that these guys and gals do this for free and out of the passion for the community. Â Remember to thank people and even donate a few dollars to buy them a beer if you really love their work.