Your Phone Model is nothing, Build Number is everything!

If you own an Itel, Infinix, Tecno..infact any Android phone then you might want to pay a little more attention to one piece of information perching quietly on your phone; the Build Number.
The Build Number can be located under Settings > About > Build Number of your phone.

So what is this Build Number of a thing and why is it so important?

Any talk on Build Number without the mention of Variants is incomplete. Have you ever heard of Variants? Well, variants is what separates the Men from the Boys in the Firmware Collection Micro Niche. Variants are two phones of the same model with a slight difference in hardware or software configuration. e.g Infinix Note 2 X600 LTE vs Infinix Note 2 X600. In this example, the major difference between the two phone models is that one supports LTE while the other does not. This makes them variants of each other.

Back to the Build Number. The Build Number tells you the model, Android version, group and software version date. Lets take the Build Number of one Infinix Hot 4 phone as our model Build Number.

X557-H807-A1-M-160815V57

From the above, we know that:

  • Its a Hot 4 (X557)
  • It belongs to the H807 group
  • It belongs to the A1 sub-group
  • Its running on Android 6.x or Marshmallow (M)
  • The Software version date is 15/08/2016
  • Its a relatively new variant (V57)

Now, lets compare two Tecno W4 varinats (of the 5 we’ve seen so far)
W4-AW875A1-M-160808V2
W4-AW875A1-M-20160910

From the two examples above, you can see they’re identical in every way save for the dates (and V2 in the first example signifying its one of the newer variants). Does this mean you can inter-flash their firmware? Not necessarily and you’ll find out why later.

Let me stir things up a little:

X600-H532-A1-L-20151223
X600-H533-A1-L-20151223
X600-H533-B1-L-20151223
X600-H532-A1-M-20160224

These are for the Infinix Note 2 X600. As you can see, the differences occur in th the groups (H532 vs H533), sub-groups (A1 vs B1) and dates. The Infinix Note 2 is one phone you don’t want to flash the firmware for the wrong Build Number to because the only way back from that is an Infinix X600 Motherboard Jumper .

I’ll take one last example using Itel

Itel-it1409-W406-20160715
Itel-it1409-W406-20160823
Itel-it1409-W406A-6.0-20161028

Here, the differences occur at the groups and dates.

How does Build Number affect which firmware I should choose to flash?

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Flashing the firmware for a build with a different date is enough to cause problems. Even OTA update zips might not be cross compatible with Build Numbers of different dates; we’ve seen this with the Tecno C8 Lollipop upgrade to Marshmallow attempt. Flashing might be successful but then a number of bugs spring up due to incompatibility. Its very important that once you purchase your phone, you take note of your Build Number against a time when its bricked and none of the firmware you’ve tried seems to be working properly.

Its also important to note that firmware (for the same model and group) with a different date might work fine on your phone. Its just wise you do a full backup of your firmware before flashing…..just incase.

How can I get the firmware for my exact variant?

We at the Hovatek Forum work tirelessly to keep our Android firmware collections up to date down to compatible build numbers. Our list is different from any other you’ll find online because they’re constantly used in providing support to our members. This is why we’re able to quickly identify new variants or buggy firmware and take action. If you’re having issues finding the right firmware for your phone, we’ll be happy to help.

Have you had any bad experience due to different Variants or Build Numbers for your phone model?

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