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As you know, manufacturers of popular mobile phones often times will release a modified " clone " version of their mainstream models. Often these clone models will be re-released models that are designed to be a downgraded version of a high end phone, usually released for prepaid network. These dumbed down androids will have the exact same hardware as their big brothers, but will be lacking in some performance features such as a smaller lower resolution screen, or a weaker camera. But the are essentially their own kin. They'll have the same chipset, the same sensors and I/O devices, but will be cut down much like an entry level laptop. The problem with these phones is that the manufacturer rarely publishes software updates for them because they aren't very popular and most of the time it's impossible to find third party roms for them for the same reason. So, how likely is it to work if you download and install an OS made not for the prepaid, but for it's big brother?

Say you have a Motorola XT957C3 This phone is a prepaid, entry level version of the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX. is uses the Texas Instruments OMAP3040 chipset, just like its cousin, and it has the same Broadcomm WLAN chip, the same Wolfson Audio hub, the same accelerometer and gyro, even the same battery and power IC. ( note that these figures aren't factual, I'm just making an example ) The only differences are purely aesthetic. A smaller display, lack of a front camera, less internal memory etc. etc.

How likely is it that installing a ROM for the Droid RAZR will work on this off-model phone? What other than basic drivers does the OS need to work right? And what about the baseband software? Would it be the same as the one on its brother?

  • You'll brick the device. – RossC Jul 14 '14 at 5:37
  • ...most likely. In the best case, not all features will be available (e.g. no radio, or no camera – or no screen). – Izzy Jul 14 '14 at 11:52
  • The Kernels alone will cause nothing to work, let alone the fact it's built for another device. DO NOT FLASH it OP, unless as @Izzy said you don't need the screen, phone, memory, radio, camer etc. – RossC Jul 14 '14 at 13:41
  • If they were that similar and software from one could just run on the other with no changes, then the manufacturer would release updates for the budget model at the same time as the high-end one. They wouldn't have any reason not to if they didn't need to make extra changes or do extra testing. – GAThrawn Jul 18 '14 at 15:32
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    Possible duplicate of Can I install a ROM made for a different device? – beeshyams Feb 10 '16 at 8:25
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The answer is almost definetly no.

Although there might not be much difference between the models, there are bits that are different. These bits won't work. Other bits may depend on these bits, and they won't work either. The baseband and radios might work fine, but the rest of the mismatched components will lead to, at best, a soft brick. I have a Moto G LTE second gen, and accidentally flashed a ROM from its non-LTE brother. Almost exactly the same apart from the radio, and a different model number of processor (both Snapdragon 400s though). I ended up with a brick that was very hard to sort out (not helped by the fact my nandroid backup was corrupted).

Also (correct me if I'm wrong), I believe that a number of ROMs will refuse to flash if they detect the wrong device. I found that out when an old copy of TWRP kept feeding a zip the wrong information. Don't try and test it out though :)

In short, flashing ROMs on devices they weren't intended to be flashed with is a bad idea, no matter how similar in specs they may seem.

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No. Most of the time recoveries wont even allow you to do this. But it definitely won't work. This is because the build prop for your ROM doesn't match your devices config. I would recommend asking them to build for your device or you can build the ROM yourself.

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It is worth an attempt to try it. However you will risk the chance of bricking the device. Most of the time roms are created for specific phones because they have specific radios that work with the carrier. Among other aspects.

It would be very important to know exactly what phone you had and what ROM you intended to use.

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    It is worth an attempt to try it NOOOPE it isn't. Dangerous advice, with the exception of merged ROMs for a few select devices any difference in model means different kernel, drivers and so on. If it is not for a device it should NEVER be flashed on the device. Do NOT flash it if it isn't for the EXACT device model. Unless the OP doesn't want calls/touchscreen/radio/camera and any functionality. – RossC Jul 14 '14 at 13:40
  • As Ross wrote: possible (or rather highly likely) dangers outweight possible gain by far. So NO, that's not a good advice for a novice user, not even for the average user. Users capable of dealing with the side-effects (for whom it might be worth a try) would know to at least avoid the most dangerous combinations without asking here :) – Izzy Jul 14 '14 at 14:35
  • Dear mods: Could you please delete this answer? It may cause readers to take a silly gamble and to unnecessarily brick their devices. – unforgettableid Jul 30 '15 at 18:08

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