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What would happen if you install a Oneplus 1 for an example on a Nexus 5? Would it cause hardware problems, like my touch won't be recognized or something like that?

And how much tweaking would it need? I don't know anything about kernels by the way.

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At a simple level, the effects would be catastrophic. The system wouldn't boot, and you would probably hard-brick OR super-brick. Kernels are the direct system for managing communication between software and hardware, among other things, and the kernel needs to be just right. If the device hard-bricks, a USB jig would need to be used to force the device into a usable state, or just get a new phone. Super-bricks (which are usually Nexus-only, since even a Nexus can recover from a hard-brick easily) will require a new phone completely, whether you like it or not.

Luckily, it's a Nexus. It takes A LOT to break them. It will definitely soft-brick (the primary OS is unusable, and the rest is fine) and probably hard-brick (not too likely), and a very low chance to super-brick.

To sum it up..

  • No, kernels DO NOT work on other devices

  • You would be really, really, really lucky to have a usable device. By that, I mean that you would have to be lucky enough to get into recovery or fastboot and install a stock kernel. Then, plain sailing.

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    Flashing the wrong kernel usually only results in a soft-brick. You can recover most devices by simply flashing a compatible kernel (from my experience of flashing kernels). I think you are more specifically talking about the bootloader which you can't fix without a JIG or a replacement NAND chip. – GiantTree Jul 26 '16 at 11:31
  • @GiantTree And I would agree.... If it was not for the fact that the OnePlus one kernel is a mess. Ill still add your info though. – Dan Brown Jul 26 '16 at 11:34
  • Basically, you just pointed out the worst case (soft-brick; as @GiantTree pointed out easy to cure by flashing the right one). In the best case (which rarely happens) you won't notice, that is if the 2 devices are close enough to each other in hardware. In between everything's possible :) The closeness mentioned is often used in the Custom ROM scene: I e.g. remember that ROMs for the Motorola Droid 2 were adapted from the Motorola Defy. That said, it's not recommended the "inexperienced user" plays with these "options" :) – Izzy Jul 26 '16 at 12:09
  • @Izzy hehe, yeah. Gotta hope for the best, and prepare for the worst. – Dan Brown Jul 26 '16 at 12:18
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    So one thing as a big pro for the OP: Asking before trying. Far too many folks come here after they tried (and didn't prepare for what they got). “He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.” (attributed to Mark Twain, though our Chinese friends argue :) – Izzy Jul 26 '16 at 12:25

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