The new Pixel C from Google is an interesting device with an interesting past and even more interesting future. If you’ve decided to become part of that future and have found yourself in need of factory system images, Google has you covered. The newly posted images, codenamed “Ryu” for images MXB48J and MXB48K, sport Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, the newest version which includes some under the hood fixes and enough new emoji to satisfy any Hangouts addict. The factory images should come in handy for those who have messed with the Pixel C’s internal firmware and would like to return to stock, or want something to build from to create a custom system image. This, of course, means that custom ROMs such as Cyanogenmod will likely be coming soon.
The new factory images, weighing in at a fairly light 807 megabytes each, must be flashed using the Fastboot tool in conjunction with ADB, the Android Debug Bridge. The flashing process may require unlocking your bootloader, for which Google supplies a command and recommends locking it back up when you’re done with the flashing. Users should take care that their plugs are secure and the device has a healthy battery life before starting. Any anomalies during flashing, such as the device turning off or coming unplugged as files are being moved, can result in the terrifying phenomena known as a hardbrick. A hardbrick simply means that the device is no longer operational, period. It won’t even try to boot, won’t go into Fastboot, recovery or ADB and can only be restored, in some cases, through special means. Some devices, on the off chance that a hardbrick happens, are not able to be restored at all, hence the term “brick”. A softbrick or bootloop, wherein the device is responsive but cannot finish a boot cycle, may also occur. Luckily, a softbrick can be fixed simply by reflashing the firmware.
With official AOSP, or Android Open Source Project support in tow, savvy users with computers powerful enough to build Android from the ground up can keep on the bleeding edge of the latest code that may end up in newer versions of Android, some written by Google and some written by users then tested and approved by Google. Those who feel daring could also unlock the bootloader and play around with the factory image before flashing, allowing tweaks, fixes and customization that may not otherwise be possible.