What is OTA/FOTA ?


Hello Guys it seems a lot of people don't have an idea what OTA or FOTA is so we decided to do a little explanation here:

OTA means "Over The Air".
Technicaly it means that you can receive updates without downloading and manually installing an update.
- On your system there is an update app called "System Update" (AMlogic: X8 series/X6 series )
- or it is installed as a hidden app/service that automatically checks for updates and prompt you when an update is available ( Rockchip: X5 series/X7series )

What is FOTA?
FOTA is just the same as OTA, the service provider for OTA is called FOTA, it is an advanced OTA system/service MINIX is using for there new OTA updates.

But there is a catch;
In android world people also refer to OTA when they talk about an update.zip update file that can be installed manually with an usb stick or SDcard.
In fact it uses the same systems to make the update although it is not a real OTA update as that should been delivered online automatically.
This is something that android users revere to as an "OTA zipfile".
I know it is not correct but in time this grew into the android community as a standard.

What does the OTA app/service do?
The update app/service checks if an update is available and ask you to install it.
Then it will download the update.zip and automatically starts the update procedure.
The MINIX will reboot to "recovery mode" (which is a system on the box itself) and install the update from there.

When does OTA work?
Not always can a manufacturer provide an OTA and this has the following reasons;
A update through "recovery mode" can not do as much as flashing firmware on a box through an OTG cable connected to a computer. ( this is called flash or flashing )
The features available are limited by "recovery mode" where a computer has more features.
This is why sometimes people need to "flash" new firmware before a new OTA update can be installed.

Why do we need to flash through a computer sometimes?
It is not always necessary but this might be needed
1. Android 4.2 has a different "bootloader"(from where it boots) then android 4.4.
This bootloader can not be replaced by the OTA update.
So when you upgrade from 4.2 to 4.4 people need to manualy flash the correct android version manually first.
2. Also the size of disk space can not be made bigger or smaller by OTA/recovery.
If the system had 700MB system space and a new update needs more then this can not be done by OTA/Recovery and manual flashing is again needed.

These are just examples why manual flashing is sometimes needed, there are more reasons why this might be needed.
I don't say you will always encounter such situation but it can happen.

The End

We hope it makes a little more sense to you guys now.

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