Android is notorious for their oft-delayed updates to all tiers of phones, regardless of who makes them. Sometimes manufacturers will promise an update ‘very soon’ only for it to be released 3-6 months later. Motorola recently told Atrix, Photon, and Electrify users they won’t be getting ICS even though they were PROMISED it. The bottom line is that absolutely nothing is guaranteed in the Android world. If you don’t own a Nexus or high-end device, good luck in getting a timely update, if you even get one. But fear not, there is a way to enjoy some Jellybean goodness if you’re stuck on Ice Cream Sandwich.
Google Now is an new application/feature introduced in Android 4.1 Jellybean that includes a voice assistant and displays a wide array of information, that includes sports, traffic, and weather. All of this can be yours provided your phone is rooted and is running a deodexed ROM. If you have no idea what we are talking about then please check out this lesson on Rooting and Custom ROMs. If this is the first time you’ve heard the term rooting, it is strongly urged you don’t proceed… You can learn more about how to root your phone by heading on over to the XDA Forums and looking through the development page for your smartphone. To tell whether or not your ROM is deodexed, kindly ask the developer that made it.
Note: Phones that are ARMv6 will not have voice working. Google Now wasn’t intended to be run on ICS, so there are still bugs present.
Proceed at YOUR OWN RISK, we are not responsible for any issues that may occur. Proceed if you understand the risks involved and are willing to take the plunge. Also, I suggest you don’t try this if you aren’t experienced in doing modifications similar to this such as Rooting or installing a custom ROM on your devices.
Skill Level: 3/10 (There is an assumption you know basic Android development terms like rooting, flashing, nandroid, etc.)
1. Check to see if your device is either ARMv6 or ARMv7. If it isn’t either, Google Now will NOT work. Use the link provided to identify what your phone is.
2. Make sure you are running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on a deodexed rom. Also, have your phone rooted with a custom recovery installed (Clockwork Mod, TWRP, etc.). Clockwork Recovery is preferred. To continue, you need at least 100 MB of free space.
3. Make a nandroid backup in Clockwork Recovery before you proceed (just in case!).
Directions for ARMv7:
1. Following the requests of the XDA members who found this exploit, you must go to the link provided to find the flashable zips needed to install Google Now.
2. Scroll down to Flashable Zips under ARMv7 and click the SHOW CONTENT button. Find the version of Google Now you want. There are 4 different options given and it is up to you which one you wish to download. Read the descriptions and choose to your liking because each version has their own pros/cons.
3. Once you’ve decided, click the download link of the version you want and download it to your phone.
4. Boot into your custom recovery of choice once download has completed.
5. Flash the .zip file and then reboot your smartphone.
6. Open the Google Now application after boot and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the set up process.
7. Google Now should work, it may take a while before it learns your searching habits so it can display information to your liking. Until then, feel free to: ask it questions, set alarms and reminders, or check the current weather.
Directions for ARMv6:
Note: Voice will NOT work although there is a workaround.
1. Download the file from this link and install it in your custom recovery. Reboot, open the Google Now application, and complete the set-up process to successfully install and get it working properly.
Note: I choose not to include voice in the ARMv6 directions because it significantly raises the difficulty and I intended this article to help Android newbies. If you are a veteran at this, feel free to head on over to XDA to learn how to do it.
Congratulations! You now have some form of Google Now installed. Feel free to ask it some questions, set reminders, or to do a ‘barrel roll’. If it wasn’t for the great developers at XDA, none of this would be possible. If you have any problems, please refer to the XDA forums for troubleshooting or post it in the comments as I will try my best to answer them.
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