Any or all of these terms pop up when things don’t go right with the android headunit.
The term used to describe uploading and installing a different version of the operating system or MCU into an android headunit. This could be supplied by the manufacturer or by any number of sources from the internet. A flash file is written to the android headunit that overwrites the existing firmware.
Flash files could be sent OTA – over the air, usually by the manufacturer or in the classic form of a download file. This file may need to be unpacked/unzipped or not, add the file to a USB memory stick and envoke the flashing process.
Problems with flashing? Overwrite without a current backup means failure could be permanent.
Rooting is giving the android operating system ROOT level access. Some android headunits come already with ROOT access, pre-rooted. Others don’t. You may find you want to root your android headunit when one of the apps you need requires root.
ROOT is a security concern for rogue apps, but less of an issue on an android headunit (because it isn’t your phone).
Modding is the process of modifying the android software on the headunit that goes beyond installing apps. The mods are flashed to the head unit and change the files present. This can alter the way the headunit looks or works or both. You will often find that modding is mentioned when the headunit won’t do what you want it to do. This may be due to a manufacturing fault or just the way it was made to operate.
Modding comes with the same warnings as flashing, because modding needs flashing they have the same pitfalls.
If you want to learn more about the tools needed to flash, mod or root the android headunit then we have two resources that are a gold mine of information.
XDA Developers Forums
The XDA Developers forum has a dedicated area to android head units. Many members share their problems but the best resources are the experienced members that provide modded flash files for users to try.
There is a lot of information on XDA. Much of it is very technical but you can gain a lot of learning by reading the posts rather than just the first and then the last. There are no ‘one click solutions’ there. XDA takes a lot of reading and understanding.
The droid-developers site is a huge collection of anything that is android. There is a small section of this huge resource that contains the information relating to the android headunits but it requires some searching. Current topics on droid-developers that may be of interest include SP Flash Tools For All MTK Device or MTK droid tools download Latest Version that can create the mysterious scatter files. If you want to lean more about the android ‘behind the scenes’ , the nuts and bolts of android modding, droid-developers is a great place to visit.
Some good advice
If you are taking the plunge into modding, flashing or just rooting your android headunit, then be aware that it is very easy to turn the device from ‘working’ to ‘not working’. But making the device from ‘not working’ to ‘working’ is virtually impossible in most cases of failed flashes.