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(SGS2/KI) Samsung removes USB host support, patches bootloaders

The first official Android 2.3.4 series firmwares (KI) for the Samsung Galaxy S2 are now finally available.

Two things immediately stick out:

USB host support

Samsung has removed the USB host Android APIs from this release. The kernel is still USB host enabled, which means your memory stick (etc) will still work. However, 3rd party applications can no longer make use of USB host capabilities to communicate with peripherals through the Android APIs, so only USB devices with direct kernel support can be used.

One wonders why Samsung would remove this feature that has been present on SGS2 firmwares for months, especially since having the feature has generated a lot of good press in combination with DSLR Controller [XDA].


Samsung has also modified the bootloaders (sbl specifically) to prevent use of the USB JIG to erase the custom kernel counter and warning triangle. Workarounds to remove the custom kernel warning triangle are still available (the non-JIG triangle removal method as described in the CF-Root thread [XDA] still works), but there is no workaround to reset the custom kernel flash counter.

To keep being able to reset the counter, you need to flash the new firmwares without the bootloaders, or flash old bootloaders separately (KH series bootloaders work).

Intratech has both the latest firmware with the bootloaders stripped out - as well as an old bootloader package for those who have already flashed the evil bootloaders - available in his firmware thread here [XDA].


[1] Information based on Nordic official "KI4" Android 2.3.4 firmware

[2] It appears the Sprint version of the SGS2 (Epic 4G Touch) doesn't even have kernel support for USB host at the moment

[3] The warning triangle mentioned is a yellow triangle that shows on screen while booting if you are running a custom kernel on your device

[4] The custom kernel counter is a counter inside the device that tracks how often you have flashed a custom kernel. It is assumed your device will not be serviced under warranty if this counter is not 0

[5] I have just been informed by pulser [villainrom] that Samsung has also actively removed SIP support from this firmware series.