(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].

Bootloaders

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].

Notes

[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.

Comments

Posted by logmouse on 21-09-2011 at 10:45:45
So Samsung tried to stop clients from resetting the bootloader counter, & within a week their efforts were rendered pointless. One wonders why tgmhey bothered.

Thr removal of the USB API is far more serious because it affects application developers, whose revenue stream is cut. This seems counterproductive as those devs are required to provide paid apps in order for the Google Market to be successful, which in turn compliments the sale of Samsung Android based habdsets. Very sad.
Posted by AdamOutler on 23-09-2011 at 15:57:41
Tried UART yet? I know a few tricks which might reset the counter. Contact me on XDA.
Posted by Manish on 26-09-2011 at 15:46:42
if no usb api in KI4 then samsung user not be able to use google adk any more.
Posted by Mark on 04-10-2011 at 21:00:22
The main reason i bought an SG2 was for DSLR controller and now Samsung have finally released 2.3.4 via Kies and i still can't use it! How can I complain to Samsung?
Posted by mike taylor on 27-10-2011 at 14:03:20
I was thinking how great it would be to use wifi direct instead of the usb connection. is this possible? I have been looking at wireless usb hubs to tether my mark ii. but it would be great to use the samsung as a file transmitter.

Regards
Posted by Keng on 28-10-2011 at 07:12:06
When they become somewhat successful, they begin to behave like Apple! Very sad indeed.
Posted by Jack on 28-10-2011 at 07:48:28
WTF! DAMN!!! I Bought a T-Mobile GS2 hoping to use this app soooooooo much :( This Sucks So Bad! Screw Samsung! WTH...

Ok, no after my crying... Do you guys believe there will be a solution for this without having to root and patch the phone?

I really don't want to have to go through all that. I would rather keep it stock in hope to receive OTA ICS.

Next question, do you think it might be re-enabled in ICS?

Thanks guys for the great work, and I am so sorry Samsung is screwing with your work like this :(
Posted by alex on 28-10-2011 at 09:21:21
Shouldn't it be possible to re-implement this functionality on a rooted KI/KJ phone?

maybe you could look into that chainfire? apreciate your work, paid for your app and would hate to go have to go back to old firmwares...
Posted by Chainfire on 02-11-2011 at 09:35:23
@Jack: Yes, I do expect it to be re-enabled in ICS.

@alex: Have tried, but it hasn't worked so far.

@all: As I have said before, I may be able to fix it for rooted devices. This does however take a lot of time and effort, I'm not sure it's worth it. For all the rest - wait for ICS.
Posted by Eric Stoliker on 08-08-2012 at 21:46:08
I have a rooted galaxy s2. Is there any way for it to work?
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