Hacking The Motorola A780


The Motorola A780 is a Linux based quad-band GSM phone. Kernel hacker Harald Welte has picked up one of these phones and started poking around in the system. The first thing of note is that the phone doesn’t use the typical lightweight tools found in most embedded systems. Instead of busybox or uClibc it uses their heavier counterparts. The phone also has a 2.4 kernel and switching to the 2.6 kernel is a long term goal. Harald has successfully built a compatible toolchain and has netfilter/iptables running on the A780. It should be possible to construct a firewall between the GPRS and the USB connection. Other hackers are working on adding the stock Linux bluetooth codebase; this may be one of the first phones supporting A2DP stereo headsets. The future looks bright for hackers with new exploitable features emerging everyday like JTAG pads for both processors and debugging callbacks built into the factory code. Harald Welte will be presenting these and future discoveries at the 22nd Chaos Communication Congress in December.

8 thoughts on “Hacking The Motorola A780

  1. Man,
    What is with this site lately? it has really sucked. WHat happened to all the Nano hacks announced. Last Thutsday no Nano hacks were provided. Where are the extras like “Monday morning sipping”? We need a new blogger

  2. Since these are user submitted hacks, your comment backfires directly to you #1.

    you has really sucked.

    now quit whining you porky figure and hack your nano so you can tell us how great you are.

    dont ask what hackaday can do for you, ask what you can do for hackaday.

  3. agreed.
    Plus, its going through some changes right now, and elliot (the main and pretty much only poster) does have other things to do than stare at the pretty green and black screen all day… Things such as a full time job. If you do create a uniqe and/or cool hack, and submit it, It will get posted in the links section, or even in its own ‘feature’ hack.
    Keep em coming folks…
    thinking back, Reading hackaday from day1, I just seem to ‘know more’ about electronics hacking in general, and know that if I ever have the need for a project Ive seen here, it’ll always be around.


  4. I’ve never liked lugging a cell phone around, It just feels like I’m carrying my own government issued tracking device. However, I’ve always appreciated my PDA, it helps me keep organized. I’ve avoided the all-in-one tools because I’ve always been afraid that the federal overlords could vacuum out my personal crap or install a keylogger. (Hey, if they can use OnStar to spy on people, why not the all-in-one PDA?)

    A hacked, open source, peer reviewed, PDA/ phone would be about the coolest thing ever. Add seamless handoff from GMS to free 802.11 wifi VoIP networks and a choice of providers that charge by the MB instead of nickel and dimeing you to death to do stuff like send your own pictures to your own server and you have got me sold.

    Might me enough to get me to buy Motorola radio equipment again.

  5. What standard mischief says is TRUE!

    Would definitely love some hacks to take us off gsm and into voip/wifi/gprs so that I don’t have to pay all those small charges growing into BIG CHARGES!

    Any hacks to turn a 9500 into a Linux machine?

  6. Yeah, um…the Motorola e680i already has the a2dp stereo bluetooth profile in it…its essentially the exact same phone as the a780 OS wise…a780 is more phone-styled and the e680i is pda-based… cameras and keypad are different, but internally same phone.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.