24 Jul, 2023 In Apps, Gadgets & ReviewsEducationTechnology

Taking Control in Mission AOSP: A University student’s journey to droidcon Berlin

James Gatt

Agent James Gatt is enjoying a tranquil life after departing from his daily driver, the Google Pixel 2 XL which lost regular Android updates after October 2020 on Android 11.


However, his peace is short-lived as James comes across an old friend of his, AOSP.


AOSP is on a mission to rescue legacy devices (including his Pixel 2 XL) from the captivity of EOL and needs agent Gatt to help!

The mission of bringing up newer firmware for older hardware sounds like a difficult one, but will James manage to bring new life to unsupported devices and put an end to EOL?

For this year’s droicon Berlin, Code AOSP: No time to EOL by James, as Agent Gatt takes a James-bond inspired mission to save his 2017 Google Pixel handset from EOL, End of life.

As a previous speaker at droidcon Berlin in 2022, he developed his interest in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) with custom ROM projects and device maintaining with the aim to keep using older devices, which ran out of support (beyond their "End of Life"), ultimately contributing to the reduction of e-waste.

In this case, this situation is problematic for Agent Gatt, who works with his Google Pixel 2 XL, which had lost support in December 2020. Having a restrictive budget, buying a new phone was out of the question, so surely there must be another way to still get the latest security updates, feature drops, and API levels for app support, right?

James Gatt

In this year's talk, James describes how he managed to get his 2017 phone up to date to the latest version in an easy to follow procedure by unlocking the bootloader and sideload a custom ROM. Shortly after successfully achieving this, James' talk was accepted for this year's event and he was on his way to CityCube Berlin – droidcon Berlin's conference venue!


Prior to his talk, a few attendees from droidcon Berlin 2022, gathered to support him throughout his final preparations leading up to his talk. He admitted that no script was prepared for this talk. Instead he used his experience from his projects to adapt to the slides of his presentation. Once the stage preparations were complete, an audience of around 200 attendees were seated in the Liskov room to follow the talk.


As a sign of appreciation, attendees at the talk remained for the Q&A session following the 40-minute presentation. James states that the continuous support and connection with the Android community is the reason why he feels the need to keep attending this conference on a yearly basis.

What's next for James?

After yet another amazing 3 day conference, James feels that droidcon Berlin 2024 is on his agenda!


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James Gatt
Photo: Gadgets Malta