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I have a re-branded smartphone with Android 5.0. The thing is I want to install a custom ROM to remove all the bloatware and get more control. But, as it is re-branded and not that popular there are not any custom ROMs available for it.

What I'm thinking is that since its hardware is not that old and there are many popular smartphones with exactly the same specifications, is it possible to install a custom ROM that was not built for my smartphone but was built for one which has exactly similar specifications?

Note: I can post the specifications, if required.

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Okay first of all let me help you with some information.

ROM means the Operating System. The visual interfaces of the ROMs for same version of Android can differ between brands but the codes the OS can execute are the same. Therefore, what determines if the ROM can act as intended that differs from brand to brand (or from model to model of a specific brand) is the kernel.

Android ROMs are not made to suit the hardwares. That'd take too much time to do it for every single phone models. Instead, the connection between ROM(software) and phone(hardware) is provided by the middle-man(kernel)

Now to actual answer: So as you can see if you read what I wrote is that the key player is kernel. If the kernel matches your phone then it is good news. My suggestion would be to back up your phone entirely first before doing anything. You can try to find a kernel that will do the trick with the ROM you want. Or you can just partially flash the kernel of the ROM first and use it with your recent ROM for a while to test out how it suits. If you can disclose the name of your phone I can look into it personally.

  • Well, from your answer it seems that all I have to do is find a custom ROM that matches my existing kernel. But, that seems to easy is there nothing else that has to match? – Abdur Rahman Nov 11 '15 at 10:52
  • Well it'll be harder than it sounds if your phone is not very broad. – SarpSTA Nov 11 '15 at 11:32
  • It'll be equal to try to find a ROM compatible with your device already. If the ROM's kernel is compatible with your phone, so will be the ROM itself since those two are already compatible. Re-branded phones are pretty much of a problematic case. Their hardware components (like chips or camera) and drivers are different than their non re-branded, original counterparts. The other answer by the user beeshyams points that out as well. Therefore kernels made for the originals might not (and probably will not) work with the re-branded ones. ROM, phone and kernel all must be compatible. – SarpSTA Nov 11 '15 at 11:38
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If all the specifications match, including chip level and GPU Mali blobs, it sounds a reasonable try, though I never owned a re-branded device.

After taking complete backup including EFS and double checking, I would suggest first flash the kernel from the proposed ROM to replace the existing kernel. If it boots properly and basic functionality of phone is fine, then you can flash the complete ROM. This way you are ruling out kernel compatibility issues.

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