The Samsung Galaxy Note (GT-N7000) Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) update has been pushed back to second quarter of this year. But if you’re itching to abandon Android Gingerbread and give ICS for the international version of the phablet a go despite the risks, then you’re in the right place.
In my hands right now is a Samsung Galaxy Note running Midnote 2.0 (see screenshots below), a ROM based on a leaked Chinese Ice Cream Sandwich firmware which hit the Web last month. Installation is quick and easy, and in my opinion, Midnote 2.0 is the most stable form of ICS from a roster of ICS ROMs available at XDA forums. I won’t suggest flashing the leaked Chinese ICS firmware as it contains a lot of Chinese bloatware you don’t need.
Midnote 2.0 (and more importantly, Ice Cream Sandwich) brings numerous improvements to your Galaxy Note, including a much improved browser and user interface; a better battery life (mainly because the CPU has been underclocked to 1.2GHz on Midnote’s ICS base); and the Face Unlock feature.
Of course, upgrading to ICS has its share of deal breakers like the lack of GPS function and application compatibility. However, I don’t use my Note’s GPS that much and I haven’t encountered problems with all my previously installed applications, so the pros far outweigh the cons based on my experience.
As always, bear in mind that rooting and flashing firmware and ROMs may brick or render your device useless if my instructions are not followed to the letter or something’s wrong with your hardware. So far, I’ve installed numerous ICS ROMs on some Samsung Galaxy Notes, and I’ve encountered no problems doing so. I repeat: I won’t be responsible for your device, so go easy on me if you end up with an expensive paperweight one day. Of course, I will be happy to help you if you have questions on upgrading to ICS.
Before you proceed, make sure that you have a rooted Note with Clockworkmod Recovery installed and that what you have is the international version (not a carrier-branded Galaxy Note). If you don’t have access to root, you can just Google instructions on how to do it as there are numerous ways on how to achieve root status for Android devices. But basically, all you need to do is flash a rooted kernel on your Note using PC Odin or Mobile Odin (again, Google is your best mate).
Remember that upgrading to Midnote 2.0 will wipe out all your applications and phone data, so make sure to back them up.
Now, on to my installation instructions (coming from the official Gingerbread firmware or another flashable ROM based on Gingerbread).
- Connect to the Internet and download the following files: Midnote 2.0 ROM (here); Google Apps 7.1 (here); and Abyss 3.9 Kernel with Original Logo (here).
- Transfer the three files to a selected folder on your Samsung Galaxy Note’s internal storage, or copy them to your internal-storage base folder.
- Reboot your Note into Clockworkmod recovery mode via the CWM application, or power off your device and boot it while pressing the Volume Up, Home, and Power buttons simultaneously. Hold it until you boot your device into recovery mode.
- Scroll to the “Install zip from sdcard” option and select it (by pressing the power/lock button). Next, pick “Choose zip from sdcard” then choose the “AbyssNotekernel39OriginalLogo.zip” file by pressing the Volume Up or Down keys. Install it.
- After completing the kernel installation, choose “Reboot recovery.” This will reboot your Note into a new recovery mode with a red font instead of a blue one.
- Select “Wipe menu” then go to “Wipe data” and choose “Factory reset.” Don’t reboot or power off your device.
- Head over to “Install zip from sdcard” and select it. Next, click “Choose zip from sdcard.” Select the “MIDNOTE2.0_ICS_NEW.zip” file to begin installation of Midnote 2.0 ROM.
- Once ROM has been successfully installed, repeat the seventh step, but choose the gappsv7.1.zip file this time. Again, don’t reboot your device.
- After installing the Google Apps package, go to “Wipe menu” then choose “Wipe cache partition.”
- Proceed to “Advanced” then select “Wipe Dalvik cache.”
- Once all this is done, you can now choose “Go back” then “Reboot system.”
Congratulations, you now have a working ICS ROM installed on your beloved Samsung Galaxy Note! Enjoy.
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