How to install SFOS on XA2 now?


Can someone please tell me which is the best way at the moment to install a SFOSX (free) on a factory reset XA2 (H3113,Android 8.0.0/50.1.A, bootloader not unlocked yet) while also being able to move back to Android stock or LineageOS and keeping best (camera) functions of the device?

The howto states “Android 9 and Android 8.1 are now okay as the starting point”, Zendesk recommends to use 50.1.A but “Android 9 for Sailfish 3.3.0 and later” (see [1] and [2]) and LineageOS-Howto tells to “ensure that the device is on the latest Android 9 firmware”.

So what’s the best way to prepare the phone for installing SFOS (and maybe moving back to Android) and which Version of SFOS should I use at the moment (downloaded 4.2 or new 4.3)?

Thanks in advance,

Well, you already researched the relevant sources, but I cannot see that Zendesk suggest using “50.1.A.x.y = Android 8.1”, rather the latest “50.2.A.x.y = Android 9”, but definitely not “50.3.A.x.y = Android 10”; which in line with the other statements.

I would also suggest to use the latest SailfishOS release for flashing (currently 4.3.0) for a couple of reasons.

The additional information in this guide might be helpful:

The camera will definitely degrade as some DRM partition gets erased and cannot be recovered.
Only solution to this: do not flash SFOS :frowning:


Nice to see known people here again… :wink: Thank you for your helpful responses.

Well, I referred to this:
[1] This Android 9 version appears to sometimes get an invalid WiFi MAC which prevents the phone from using WiFi networks (in the Android mode).

Could you please explain these “couple of reasons”? Reading the posts about 4.3, I’m really unsure if it wouldn’t be better to use 4.2 at the moment and stay with it as long as the problems with 4.3 are (hopefully) solved…

Thank you, peterleinchen. I’m totally aware of loosing camera quality forever once having unlocked the bootloader (sad but true - but even better than being stuck without knowing why)…

  1. “This” is 50.2.A.0.400, but not the latest Android 9.
  2. No, as this tedious and senseless. Just two:
    • Other SailfishOS 4 releases have been worse IMO.
    • A factory reset will throw you further back.

At the gitlab-page you recommended one can read 1.1 First steps → 5. Do not upgrade Android!:partying_face:

Good point…

Thanks for the moment. Further tips are welcome…

Well, more than two months and still no answer from Jolla how to prepare a XA2 in 2021/2022…

The official instructions should apply just fine. Just because you feel like there should be differences doesn’t mean there are any.

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This is not really constructive. We bought these devices. Didn’t we pay for the camera too? They are still ours, still Sony!

“Guys, you can experiment on this cars but if you open the the engine hood, the wheels become square”
Where can we find more information to better understand this?

Sorry, but I didn’t get your point.

As I stated in my posts above, there are some discrepancies in the documentation (how to do / update Android before flashing or not).

And I’m obviousely not the only one, who’s facing this…

Well, the (somehow) degrading camera when unlocking the bootloader is a known fact, as sony is using proprietary components to improve image quality in Android (which they are not willing / able to open for some reason - I guess due to licencing-issues).

But that’s not the key point here (I just wanted to know if there’s some kind of best practice I missed in the mentioned documents).

There’s also version 50.2.A.3.77 (which seems newer than 50.2.A.0.400) available in EMMA. What about it?

My point is that you are imagining the discrepancies.

“Android 9 and Android 8.1 are now okay as the starting point” and a recommendation to use Android 9 are not contradictory statements. Why you mix in LineageOS, i’m not so sure about. If you can find overlap enough in the instructions so flashing Lineage over Sailfish OS, good for you.

The camera will degrade the same whichever route you take - just because you would like it not to does not make it so.

I guess the lack of answers in the thread you link is for a similar reason; it does not matter much. The person is exaggerating the importance, and so are you. There should be very little difference in Sailfish on top of a fresh flash of Android 9 or a flash of Android 8 and OTA upgrade to Android 9 (especially after having booted said Android). It is not like the kernel is reused… just some of the firmware and calibration.

Just because there could theoretically be some difference, does not make it so. In the absence of evidence, references or reasoning, the question becomes really quite odd.

Yes, sorry, couldn’t resist.
Emma doesn’t show 50.2.A.3.77 to me.
I always used 50.2.A.0.400 and didn’t experiment issues out of the GPS one which happens anyway no matter which android was flashed before)
Out of that, very fluid experience.

For me EMMA doesn’t show 50.2.A.0.400, unless I click the “Show all versions” (or so) button. It is shown only then, as an older and not recommended release.

Therefore, so far I was always using 50.2.A.3.77, that was giving me lots of issues. So this time I flashed 50.2.A.0.400 as recommended by Jolla. With exactly the same issues, as it turns out.

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Thanks for clarification.

I mentioned LOS as a potential (!) fallback, if SFOS on the XA2 wouldn’t please (I love it on my R7 - except for being trapped on there for unknown reasons).

As you see, I’m aware that unlocking the bootloader will degrade the camera, I just wanted to know, if there’s a (maybe not so well documented) trick to get back best image quality when reverting back to Android/LOS (assuming that’s not the case and confirmed yet by peterleinchen).

The problem I see is (as many times) the missing documentation on part of Jolla: As long as we don’t know which parts of the original Android are used, there’s no way to etimate the consequences using 8.1 or 9 - just as you say:

That’s why I asked and waited politely more than two months… :wink:

Shouldn’t that be somewhat documented onthat HAL compatibility matrix site? (don’t remember the link currently). Nevertheless, it probably doesn’t make that much sense talking about depracted hardware. I’d really love to see Jolla convincing some company to build jolla devices again… Why not Sony? I like the hardware.

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I’m afraid that the number (and severity) of bugs doesn’t meet any serious company’s standards.

Well, you’re not alone with that wish.

It was quite a challenge to get the only device shipped with SFOS (R7) two years ago. But I wanted a supported device which is known for running SFOS without glitches, not having to try around with “deprecated” or other hardware which is known for buggy SFOS support.

BTW: XA2 seems - even though old - to be the hardware which runs SFOS best. Did I miss something?

Until there’s an adequate alternative (aside from starting a business to build and sell SFOS hardware - I thought of that a few times), we’ll have to use what’s there…

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… where “best” actually means “with countless bugs and issues”. If XA2 is indeed “best” then I just can’t imagine how those worse ones must be misbehaving.