HP Veer can be bricked; gets disassembled | webOS Nation
 
 

HP Veer can be bricked; gets disassembled 14

by Dieter Bohn Sun, 29 May 2011 11:24 am EDT

One of the webOS community's mantras has always been "You can't brick a Pre." "Bricking" is essentially rending a device un-usable via software hacks. With previous webOS devices, unless you software hacks did something crazy to the hardware (like melting stuff from overclocking), you could always recover to a factory state with the webOS Doctor. No craziness with bootloaders (Hi HTC!), no mucking about with custom ROMS: simple, robust and open.

Well, the Veer is also as simple and open to hacking as any webOS device, but it's a bit less robust. To wit: Rod Whitby of WebOS Internals has managed to brick his. The new wrinkle here is there's a new chip whose purpose is to interface with the new Touchstone / Touch to Share technology in the Veer. It's required to let the phone boot and if its firmware gets screwy, the phone is bricked. There's a command-line binary called "PmA6Updater" to program that A6 chip and to keep from bricking your Veer, stay far far away from it.

However, Whitby's loss is our gain, as he took the 'opportunity' of a bricked phone to take it apart and show off the insides. We can now see much more than the semi-removable battery PreCentral showed you earlier this month, so hit up the source link below for the disassembly action. While you're hitting links, WebOS Internals is looking to get another Veer or two to help continue their hacking on the device, so make with the clicks on the donate link below.

14 Comments

Hmmn, wonder if that means Pre3 will be brickable as well.

Good work.

Separate question: was the last pot of money raised around Thanksgiving for webosinternals all spent on Pre2's or is there still some left for TouchPads/Pre3s?

Most likely yes it means if you mess with the A6 you can brick a Pre3...

Ohh and stop being a DB, donate or STFU =)

Isn't it pretty easy to just not mess with that chip since any homebrew currently available wouldn't know about it or attempt to communicate with it?

You *can* brick a Pre.

Even destroying the bootloader on a Pre/Pre+/Pre2 can be recovered over USB. What is the technical justification for your statement?

-- Rod

This may be the first thing I have heard to make me think about leaving... :(

Care to elaborate?

Good to see that the battery still bares the palm name!

If the Pre3 is brickable, it will lose much of its appeal for me. With my Pre, I try every utility and patch that comes along. The Dr. has become one of my best friends. With good backups, the Dr./restore process is easy and quick.

If there's a danger that the Dr. will no longer recover from all failures, then people like me will become very hesitant to homebrew, patch, etc. For me, brickability eliminates a key distinguishing feature of WebOS devices.

Note that all released public, alpha and beta homebrew applications and patches have no danger of bricking a device, and we will continue to ensure that is the case.

This bricking was caused by hard-core command-line experimentation in a new area of the device. It is not something a normal user of homebrew will experience.

-- Rod

Rod,

That is all true, but it is only YOUR patches you can guarantee will be "brick-free" - you cannot say the same for other homebrewers and/or malicious hackers...

That is very hard kick in the groin indeed. Let's hope they will fix this omission in the next HW releases, but in all fairness, I do not think that would be high on their priority lists.

To Rod's point -- I think the 'brickability' of the Veer is pretty much unattainable by any but the most skilled/persistent WebOS hackers.

Perhaps I put too much faith in our Homebrew community, however, I just don't see anyone pushing out patches that will deliberately wreck the A6 chip & devices.

Hazarding a guess, I suspect it would be doable for PreWare to disallow / throw a warning if any .IPK file attempts to touch that chip.

Also, I think Targon's comment below might allow 'unbricking' at some point in time.

Personally, since this is such a new discovery, I think it's WAY too early for any panic or worry -- in Rod we trust ;)

That was weird, I was just posting to say that if you could move where the kernel/boot sequence ties into the A6 chip, that might get around the problem, right?

Touchscreen not working

My veer is bricked after disassembly, i was very careful at this, all I wanted was to repair the slider, since it slided too far down and it looked uneven.
I placed all the cables (specially the flexcable from the display) in their rightful place, I tryed it disassemble it and reassemble it a few times and it still do not wotk, somehow the touchscreen does not respond; altough the display and the rest of the phone works ok, but i just can not use it anymore without the touchscreen...

is there anyone
who knows if this
could be fixed?
Please help
my email is alanlaga@aol.com,
thank you for your time.