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Update HTC Explorer to Android 4.4 with CM 11 based Beanstalk Firmware

What do you say is Android 4.4 KitKat compatible with both low range and high end Android based handsets? Well, even though the official release of Android 4.4 will not be suitable with all the Android based handsets out there (as you know only the decent to high end smartphones and tablets will receive the KitKat touch) you can still enjoy the latest features and apps even on your outdated HTC Explorer. How to do that? The answer is of course by using a custom ROM firmware – in our case the CM 11 based Beanstalk software.

HTC Explorer is a low range to mid-range Android powered smartphone that comes with a relatively small display (3 inch), slow processor (600 MHz) and “poor” RAM memory (512). So, the performances are quite low on this device this being the reason why HTC Explorer is still stuck on Gingerbread OS. Anyway, since I have recently showed you how to update the Explorer to Android 4.4 Jelly Bean OS, why not doing the same for installing Android 4.4 KitKat firmware?

The Beanstalk custom ROM has been designed especially for the HTC Explorer. That’s why, this ported version of Android 4.4 will smoothly run on your phone, even though you will be running on low power – due to hardware limitations. But surprisingly or not, this CM 11 powered system is fast, works without lags and comes without bugs or issues. So, why not to try this new update on your HTC Explorer?

Those who have already installed Beanstalk Android 4.4 firmware had declared that the ROM is quite impressive. By using its features and settings you can improve the performances of your HTC Explorer, you can bump the speeds, upgrade the battery life, improve the web browsing experience, remove the bloatware and most relevant enjoy Android 4.4 KitKat OS along with the latest features, apps and capabilities that are available on Google Play. Furthermore, beside this Beanstalk will also bring extra features that cannot be found on the stock Android system and which can be used for personalizing your handset.

Since we are talking about a CM 11 based custom ROM, on Beanstalk we have many capabilities ported from the CM platform, so your phone will be running on a customized software that is coming with its own looks and user interface – which is not similar with the pure Android 4.4 UI. So, if you want to test this update on your HTC Explorer, then you will have to complete the guidelines from below along with the proper installation procedure. Don’t worry as the flashing operation is not hard to complete.

This operation isn’t official because Beanstalk has nothing to do with HTC or with Google. Beanstalk is an unofficial variant of Android 4.4 that is based on CM 11 custom ROM; also the firmware has been developed by those of xda-developers (we should thanks them for this tutorial) and represents a free aftermarket distribution of KitKat system that is now compatible with your HC Explorer.

Because of that, on the installation procedure, the custom ROM will access the internal system of your handset and some in built programs too. But in order to provide that access you will first have to root your Explorer. By gaining root access you will remove all the factory and default restrictions, so that you can unchain the OS and the internal system. As you can see, rooting is not an option for you especially if you want to flash CM 11 Beanstalk custom ROM. Take note as while gaining root access the warranty of your phone will get void, so try not to mess things up as if anything bad happens you will be by yourselves.

The warranty can be restored as soon as you decide to unroot your handset, or as soon as you downgrade to stock Android OS. Of course then all the factory restrictions will be reinstalled on your HTC Explorer and the Android 4.4 KitKat OS will be removed and replaced with Gingerbread firmware.

Also after gaining root access a custom recovery image must be installed on your Explorer. I recommend you to use the latest version of CWM or TWRP recovery because the devs had tested the Beanstalk Android 4.4 custom ROM only by using the mentioned tools. Anyway, using a custom recovery image is extremely important as you cannot complete this guide without this tool.

Finally, you will have to backup the data which is saved on the internal storage of your phone. A wipe will be required and everything that’s saved on your smartphone will be deleted. Because of that you need to use suitable backup and restore apps for storing the text messages, the call logs, the market apps, the internet settings, your personal data, accounts, info and contacts and so on. Also, since CWM recovery is installed, use the same and make a Nandroid backup – save the current ROM (you will be able to restore the same easily if the Beanstalk system will not be on your taste).

You need to access and use a computer, your HTC Explorer and its USB cable. On both handset and computer you need to first deactivate (temporarily only) the security protection. Don’t worry, your computer will not be infected in any matter, this must be performed only because usually the security tools are interfering with the flashing operation. On your phone from path “menu –settings – developer options” you need to check the USB debugging option. Also, you need to charge your handset before going any further especially if the battery power is less than 50%.

This step by step guide should be completed only by the HTC Explorer users. The CM 11 based Beanstalk Android 4.4 KitKat firmware is compatible only with the mentioned device. Using the steps from below for another handset will probably conclude with a bricked Android based smartphone or tablet.

How to Update HTC Explorer to Android 4.4 with CM 11 based Beanstalk custom ROM Firmware

  1. Download the update file from here.
  2. Download Google Apps from here.
  3. Save both files on your computer.
  4. Don’t unzip the Android 4.4 update file or the Google apps package.
  5. Connect your HTC Explorer with your computer by using the USB cable for establishing the connection.
  6. Copy paste the downloaded files (Beanstalk ROM and Google apps) from your computer on your phone’s SD card.
  7. Unplug the USB cable; the computer isn’t useful anymore.
  8. Turn off your handset.
  9. Wait a few seconds and then resume this operation.
  10. Enter the HTC Explorer in recovery mode.
  11. Use the recovery mode for clearing the cache and for wiping the data; just select “wipe data factory reset”, “wipe cache partition” and “wipe dalvick cache”.
  12. Return to recovery mode.
  13. Select “install zip from SD card” followed by “choose zip from SD card”.
  14. Pick the Android 4.4 KitKat firmware and flash the CM 11 based Beanstalk ROM.
  15. Do the same for applying the Google Apps package.
  16. Return to recovery and select “reboot system now”.
  17. If your handset will get stuck on a boot loop, return to recovery and select “wipe data factory reset” and “wipe cache partition”.
  18. Use this guide if you are experiencing any other problems.
  19. Also, return to recovery and select “backup / restore” in case you want to restore the old firmware.

Good job guys; now you know how to update the HTC Explorer to Android 4.4 KitKat OS. The CM 11 based Beanstalk custom ROM firmware has been successfully installed on your smartphone. Test the new software and if you find bugs or things that aren’t working properly, use the comments area from below and share your impressions and results with us.