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This question already has an answer here:

Mobile phone technology has been growing rapidly. Nowadays, we have mobile phones with the same configuration as a Pentium-1,Pentium-2 processor + 1 GB Ram 20GB Hard disk as we had a few years ago for Desktops.

For eg: I have just ordered for Galaxy S-III, which as 1 GHz CPU, 1 GB RAM and 16 GB Permanent storage.

So, my question is : can we format (same thing as we do on a Desktop) such mobile devices and install whatever OS (Android only for now) we like ? If so, I would like to install latest Android version on my mobile. Similar to the CD-Rom drive that can hold the OS that we are going to install on our fresh Desktop, for mobile devices can't we use any USB storage drives that has the latest Android (installation source) ?

marked as duplicate by Dan Hulme, t0mm13b, geffchang, Izzy, roxan Nov 26 '13 at 14:40

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It depends on the device you are using. Some devices have a locked bootloader, meaning you cannot boot into a mode which allows you to overwrite the part of the persistent memory which holds the operating system image.

The steps you usually take are the following:

  • Flash an advanced Recovery Image
  • Use that recovery so you can upload an alternative Android version to your ROM

Let me clear up some of the terms:

  • ROM is the part that contains the operating system and cannot be written to while the device is running. You have to override it by flashing over USB or using an aforementioned Recovery Image
  • Recovery is an alternative mode you can boot into which enables you to create backups of your system or write to the ROM to install a different operating system

Every alternative Android version comes with tons of tutorials and help. So just search for your device model in conjunction with "cyanogenmod" or "custom ROM".

Edit:

I just saw that you have ordered a Samsung Galaxy S3, so you will have little trouble installing an alternative Android.

  • So you mean Samsung does NOT lock their mobile's boot loaders and we can re-install any version we want ? – M-D Nov 24 '13 at 13:50
  • Also, can you please guide me to a place (site) where I can find detailed info about this re-install process ? – M-D Nov 24 '13 at 13:52
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    It really depends on what you want to achieve. If you want to skip the wait for an updated Samsung firmware, you can flash it yourself (search for "Galaxy S3 flash odin"). If you want to install an alternative system like cyanogenmod without all the Samsung software, search for "cyanogenmod install galaxy s3". Just do google searches, you can find all the information you need by sourself instead of asking online. – darkshines Nov 24 '13 at 14:33

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