Rooting the new Huawei Nexus 6P turned out to be a bit more challenging then the 5X. Okay, actually a lot. The procedure was almost identical—in fact, it was three words that stymied my efforts while the rest of you were out enjoying your weekend:
fastboot flashing unlock
It’s seems that the Huawei Nexus uses the latest and greatest version of the fastboot protocol, which seems to be available only through the Android SDK. On Windows. Maybe Mac OS as well, but definitely not for the Linux distro I use on my desktop computers.
I had expected to have a rooted Nexus 6P up and running in time for dinner Saturday night, but every fastboot oem unlock string that I typed into a terminal window was answered with “unknown command”. A quick Google search yielded the new fastboot flashing unlock command, but every time I entered that the only thing I got back was a list of commands for fastboot.
With fresh eyes Sunday morning I pored over the official XDA rooting guide for the 6P, where it dawned on me that I might need the SDK—and more importantly, the latest version of fastboot. After uninstalling the android-adb-tools and android-fastboot-tools packages from my Linux box I downloaded the SDK and ended up with a folder containing the latest adb and fastboot binaries. But I couldn’t get them to work; every time I ran adb or fastboot in a terminal I was instructed to download the very packages I had removed prior to installing the SDK.
At this point my only choice was what Linux freedom beards are loathe to turn to… Microsoft Windows.
It isn’t that Windows is necessarily bad, it’s just not an environment that I’m used to. Add in an underpowered Windows 8.1 laptop and an OS that’s constantly nagging for updates and you’ve got the recipe for a bad time. But I persevered, and despite an glacially slow download of USB drivers for the 6P, I eventually unlocked the damn bootloader and made that thing my own.
Moral of the story for Android modders: It never hurts to have a secondary desktop OS at the ready, just in case…