How I Made My Own Android Phone – in China

Uh-Oh Did I buy a locked board? The problem here is that I haven't used Android so long.

I don't really know what to do about this.

I set out to build my own iPhone a couple of years ago and it took me down this crazy rabbit hole into the Chinese cellphone markets and ever since people have been asking me “Okay, when are you gonna build your own Android?” and I kept saying I didn't want to make that same video again Just building a different phone But I keep thinking about it and I realized that I learned so much building that first iPhone and there's entire sections of the cellphone markets I haven't even explored yet, and I know almost nothing about Androids but I'd like to learn more because I think that I could do a lot more interesting modifications to 'em than what I've been doing on iPhone and I'm curious “Are Android phones built the same way? Is it gonna be easy for me to find parts?” I think I “can” figure out how to put it together as long as I can actually find the parts and I'm hoping that part is gonna be a bit, bit easier this time given that I've had two years of exploring the markets and I speak a bit more Mandarin I've also been thinking a lot about what phone do I want to build and At first I was thinking a Google Pixel But honestly almost nobody here has even heard of a Pixel and so I think it's gonna be really hard to find parts And then I was thinking Huawei given that they've been in the news recently but uh, honestly, I think at this point that's just asking for trouble and so I've settled on a Samsung Galaxy S10 Relatively new flagship phone, seems to be getting good reviews And I've seen a lot of Samsung parts available in the markets.

So come down the rabbit hole with me once again Let's go buy some parts Honestly filming in here scares the shit out of me nobody wants to be on camera And so sometimes I have to be pretty careful about it There are some places in here where I wonder what would happen if somebody found out that I was filming I'm getting my ass kicked By a bunch of angry Chinese market sellers and not high on my bucket list the same time I know a lot of people that are okay with it or at least Indifferent and they just don't want me to show their face or their brief location and for their own safety I'm going to look for the logic board first I know from past experience that's often the hardest part to find I Just don't know if I'm gonna be able to find S10 boards yet As long as I can find that part I'll be able to find everything else no problem This is so confusing, I feel like a total beginner again What the heck is G935? I'm so lost i've don't know these are Samsung boards Even in the great part of market Even in the right building I don't know Market sellers here tend to cluster together not just based on what they're selling, but also their hometown, so it can be super confusing to find your way around.

Logic board.


No? Okay.

No one has.


Thank you.

I realized I need to regroup I need to look up what all these Samsung parts and look like so that I know what I'm looking for, and that place that I go for this sort of thing is the Teardown guides that iFixit puts together and I want to thank them for sponsoring this video You know, they would still be my go-to resource sponsorship or not But I am happy that they're making it possible for me to spend so much time on this and to buy all these parts Okay, so here is the teardown guide for a Samsung Galaxy S10 I just wanted to see what the logic boards look like so that I know what to look for in the cases Right now all the turquoise logic boards are looking the same I also want to look up some up part numbers that I was seeing.

A G935 is.



an S7, and an S10 is G973? G973.






I don't see that anywhere.

There don't seem to be any S10 boards and there's hardly any sellers selling Samsung logic boards at all Nothing compared to iPhone.

A lot of fun parts come from places like this I call this place the underground─ underground chip market both because it's physically underground but also there's a lot of like a secondhand and Back-channel goods that flow through here people take phones apart and then separate all the parts clean them up test them and then sell them for repair or Refurbishing this sort of thing happens all throughout the neighborhood There used to be ladies that would sit on the sidewalk outside.

My old apartment shocking cell phones like oysters and on little stools I suspect a lot of the parts also come from waste in the manufacturing process Either stuff that was marked defective by the manufacturer or prototypes or things like that I'm not I'm not sure the big manufacturers are super pleased to know that their parts end up in places like this, but honestly, It's far far better for the planet than grinding them up for scrap there need to be way way more Places in the world like this, but the one problem with places like this is is if you want to buy parts You've gotta wait for enough broken bones to come through to be disassembled to create the supply of parts I think I'm gonna have to give up on an s10 for now and wait for more people that drop their phones I guess I'll try for S9 instead? No have.

No have? Okay, only plus.

Wow, even S9 boards are hard to come by There's tons of S8 though Well success.

I got an S9+ instead of an S9, but I think that's okay.

I just hope it works and that it wasn't locked or a reported stolen or anything like that.

I guess now all I need is the other main components battery screen and The case now, this shouldn't be too hard to find All the iPhone parts have this distinctive look Samsung parts not so much.

It's sometimes hard to tell fun even at the right booth Now to get all the smaller bits though, the cameras and screws most importantly the headphone jack.

I'm pretty excited about that Camera? Camera, yeah.

How much for these two? Okay.

Finding those last few parts is always such a slog.

I'm still looking for adhesive and screws and a wireless typing coil.

if you're enjoying this adventure so far and you want to see more like it be sure to hit that subscribe button down below.

All right I think Is everything now comes the moment of truth, I gotta put this together and get it to work Let's just start looking at some major parts here Now there's a lot of stuff that was already in here.

I think it's all used pieces.

Let me pull up the iFixit tear down over here, It doesn't seem like iFixit has a repair guide for like the logic board.

What I try and do is I find try and find the repair guide that Goes the deepest that requires taking out the most parts.

I think it's the screen for this phone Let's start with the motherboard then you start at the bottom and work the way up Let's just start fitting some stuff in and see the stuff is.

iFixit sent me some screwdrivers to try out Oh they're in a nice box, I didn't realize that Oh these are nice Yeah these are alright.

I need a smudger though And a pokey prying tool.

And tweezers It looks like I am missing two wires, ah, there's a blue wire and a white wire That should be in here and I think they are the antenna wires, um, I just forgot to get them.

Dang it.

I'm gonna have to go back to the markets Ah, there you go.

All right Two little wires, but they're necessary Alright the cables are in I've just got a couple last pieces to put in and we'll see if this works Moment of truth.

I haven't put the back on yet because I want to make sure it works.

Let's give this a shot First try baby! Awesome! That feeling never gets old! I've not actually held one of these phones before this is the first Samsung Galaxy I've held at least in a long time Is it locked? Uh-Oh Cameras work both cameras work Did I buy a locked board? The problem here is that I haven't used the Android so long.

I don't really know what to do about this Can I just factory reset it or is there like some equivalent of iCloud locking and like cloud activation? I don't know not gonna close this phone up until I get it unlocked All right.

I did a little bit of googling and I think I just need to factory reset it.

Let's hope that works Okay, that worked wipe data / factory reset Let's get started Sweet! That was all I needed to do.

That I've got it unlocked and fully working time to put the back on this once and for all Well, there it is a one finished Samsung Galaxy S9 plus It seems to fully work by the iris scan.

The fingerprint scan the face scan.

I'll work cameras work As far as I can tell it looks exactly like a store-bought S9 plus would, but to be honest, this is the first one I've ever seen in person Including in a store.

I've just been working off photos online.

This video is sponsored by iFixit.

Ever since the very beginning They've been a partner in my crazy phone adventures even before they knew it I've always had a laptop just off camera with one of their teardown guides or repair guides as my reference for how to put the phone together The key is to start with one of their guides on how to take a phone apart and work from the bottom up and Despite having a name that starts with a lowercase 'i' they're way more than iPhone.

They have repair guides and tear downs and tools and parts for everything from Android phones to drones to televisions I've been using one of their pro-tech screwdriver sets in this project But they also sent me one of their pro-tech toolkits which is come in handy a number of times for things like repairing Cameras where I don't always have the right tool.

If you'd like a tool kit of your own Click the link down in the description and let them know I sent you.

Wanted to add a few thoughts here at the end Just about how this compares with the process of building an iPhone Honestly, this went way easier than building an iPhone.

I was quite surprised Maybe it's just because I'm more experienced but it felt like I don't know There are a lot fewer parts or a lot less like sheet metal brackets and things there's only one size screw, which is amazing and those mid frame pieces of plastic the black plastic with all the screws Those act as a replacement for all the the sheet metal clips that iPhone uses and there's only 3 of them instead of like ten or I don't know 15 Apple has a Ton of random clips that are really hard to figure out where they all go and how they fit in and what not I was super surprised it even worked the first time I tried turning it on I didn't have any issues with like weirdly cryptographically paired components like the touch ID buttons in iphone or the face ID cameras There was none of that it was a plug it all in put in a cup You know the cover and a few screws and good to go.

The challenging part was really just finding the parts There are far fewer Samsung parts in the markets, and it's just way more confusing I don't know iPhone parts look very distinct And my theory at least was that there are more iPhones per model in the world Like there are more units in the world than there are with Samsung But I did some research and as far as I can tell that's not actually true So, I don't know.

I it just seems like there are more iPhone parts here in shenzen at least it feels anecdotally like 50 to 75% of the market is iPhone in terms of number of parts and That all of the rest of the phones Samsung and Huawei and Vivo and Oppo and all of the rest Make up the other, you know, 25 to 50 percent And so it's just they're far fewer booths selling the same part And so you have to hunt around a lot more This could be a result of the fact that iPhones are manufactured here in China, but Samsung phones aren't but you would think then that there would be a ton of like Vivo and Oppo parts available and There are a fair amount, but not anything close to iPhone, so, I don't know I don't I don't really fully understand it yet that about does it for this time? I'm Scotty from Strange Parts, if you want to see more videos like this one Be sure to let YouTube know by hitting that subscribe button down below.

I'll see you again soon.


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