The $50 Amazon Phone Returns

I don’t think I ever got around to reporting on Amazon’s Prime Edition of the BLU R1 HD; thanks to Brad Linder at Liliputing for reminding me of its existence. It is indeed a $50 USD unlocked Android phone—some specs:

5 inch HD display with Gorilla Glass 3
1.3 GHz quad-core MediaTek 6735 ARM Cortex processor
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
8GB storage / 1GB RAM
8MP rear camera / 5MP front camera with LED flash
Dual SIM and MicroSD support for up to 64 GB of expandable storage
4G LTE plus GSM

The catch? Lock screen ads from Amazon. And even worse, it was found that the phone was secretly sending text messages and other personal information to a server in China. Amazon actually stopped selling the R1 HD until the spyware was removed. With assurances from BLU’s CEO that the backdoor is gone, the phone is now back in stock.

So about the locks creen ads… those l33t h@X0rs over at XDA have figured out a way to unlock the device’s bootloader and install a custom recovery—paving the way for SuperSU and AdAway or, if you prefer, a custom ROM.

The ad-supported R1 HD unfortunately won’t ship to Canada; otherwise I would gladly have a go and report my findings for you all here. Any of our American friends up for the challenge?

Source: Liliputing (1) (2), XDA (1) (2)

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