Total Moron here...need some help with Lenovo S880

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  1. LHays

    LHays Member

    I am an American living in China and I bought a Lenovo S880 dual sim phone. Cool phone, but all the tutorials are in Chinese only. I can't figure out how to do anything other than make a call or send an SMS. I know nothing about Android. So, some questions....

    1. Is there anyway to replace the entire OS and everything in the phone with an English version from another country via a download?

    If yes, I guess I need very explicit instructions...

    2. If no, then I have about a bazillion questions on how to do each individual thing, such as add GPS, get the GPS to work, where to get maps, how to get the phone to find my location....

    3. Is there a website that has the same tutorials as are loaded in the phone ( Chinese language) but in English?

    I have soooooo many more questions, but I guess I'll wait to see if I can get answers to these questions first.


  2. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide

    Hi LHays welcome to Android Forums.

    Hmmm... Lounge seems to be becoming a bit more busy with Lenovo phone questions. :rolleyes:

    Yup. You tried Google Translate or enlisting the help of a Chinese friend?

    Non-Google Chinese Android is probably not the best place to start. Are you planning on visiting Hong Kong SAR any time soon? Because most phones and tablets there seem to have Google.

    AFAICT there's not much information or alternative ROMs for Lenovo devices yet.

    There's AutoNavi that works in English, however outside of the major cities it can leave a lot to be desired, like many roads and towns are missing. There's the much better Amap map & sat-nav app, has really good detail, but is Chinese only.

    Ermmmm... Learn Chinese(which is what I did) or enlist the help of some Chinese friends? If you're a teacher, it will give something for your students to do. :D If you want to ask more questions, I've got a Lenovo P700i dual-SIM on China Mobile, which is probably very similar to the your S880. I've made some changes to it, to make it more suitable for my requirements, however I've not rooted it or changed ROMs(if possible) yet.

    MikeDT also in +86 land.
  3. Mostly Harmless

    Mostly Harmless Well-Known Member Contributor

    Go to settings-> Language & input->the very first setting is the language, try changing it to English.
    mikedt likes this.
  4. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor Guide

    Considering the guy can't read his phone,
    settings icon should probably look like a gear
    The language and input menu should look like it has a key to a keyboard (just one letter, usually A)
    Mostly Harmless and mikedt like this.
  5. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide

    That's it, then look for the top item that probably says "中文" then you should see "English" in the menu choice. However many of the pre-installed apps/bloat will still be in Chinese.
  6. LHays

    LHays Member

    Thanks for your comments/advice. The selected language is English. However, that is only for the basic functions and most menu labels. The "Novice Tutorials" are in Chinese, as well as most other functions. Since I can't read the tutorials, I can't figure out how to get the best use out of the functions of the phone.

    What I am hoping to find is a website or a service that can provide me with a complete OS and Apps in English that I can download to my computer and then transfer to the phone to completely replace what is on the phone now. The S880 is sold in the Philippines and the standard default language is English. But, how to get the OS and how to complete a replacement process...?
  7. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide

    Yup, also the instruction manual and warranty card only has Chinese. Many of the pre-installed apps are Chinese only, like Baidu, Sina, QQ, Weixin, Weibo, although I do use some of these, the rest I removed. Fortunately I can read Chinese reasonably well, or at least know what I'm doing, plus I'm quite familiar with Android. So I might be able to help here. :)

    There's a bit of information about flashing the international ROM on the XDA-dev site, not much though.
    Lenovo LePhone S880 - xda-developers
  8. LHays

    LHays Member

    Pardon me for including anyone else in the elite group that I belong to commonly called a "moron", but the people at Lenovo are morons. The S880 is sold in the Philippines as a totally English language phone. My friend in the Phils has one. It is his phone that got me interested in the S880 to begin with. I sent an email to Lenovo about getting the OS and Apps from a "Philippine" phone sent to me so I could have the service center here reload the phone. Lenovo's reply was that the S880 is a "China Only" product and that there is no such thing as a English only OS/Apps.

    Does anyone know how to copy my friend's phone OS/Apps/Widgets so that I can install it on my phone? Is that possible?
  9. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide

    Yup, I can quite understand their support staff in China saying that. Probably find that Lenovo China is operated separately to Lenovo International, so the staff might not even know about what Lenovo is doing overseas.

    Google is a good example of this. in Beijing is operated quite separetely. Has it's own unique China only services, and the staff are probably kept in the dark about in Mountain View, CA. This is why we have all these Googleless Androids in the Middle Kingdom.

    You might even find there's hardware differences between an S880 you find in China and an S880 you find in the Philippines. I know this happens with many Samsung Galaxy series phones. Doesn't seem to be much information over on XDA-devs about Lenovos, and that's usually the best place for finding out this sort of thing.

    Do you know what 3G technology your S880 uses? Is it TD-SCDMA(China Mobile only) or UMTS(China Unicom and used worldwide)? Because if it's the former, then there's almost no chance of non-Chinese software for it. Have a look in the back of the manual, for something that says, TD-SCDMA, UMTS, WCDMA or EV-DO if it's on China Telecom.
  10. LHays

    LHays Member

    Network Standard: WCDMA / GSM
    Network Frequency: GSM 900 1800 1900, WCDMA 2100

    Yea..googleless is right. Seems there is no way(?) to add Google Play to my phone either.

    I'm thinking I have really nice paperweight......A smartphone with no capability for increase intelligence
  11. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide

    Have you been able to sync your Google Contacts, Gmail and Calendar with your Lenovo? That works OK.

    That sounds like a pretty standard phone, nothing China specific.

    I think Google Play can be installed unofficially, which involves rooting, some hackery, and no guarantee that things are going to work. Also the other thing is, it's free apps only in China with Play, no paid apps, no music, no movies and no ebooks. I usually use AppBrain and SlideMe.

    You can increase intelligence of your Chinese smart-phone, as long as you're prepared to do it either the Chinese way or your own way. :) I've done both. It's one of the challenges for being a foreign expat living in China. You know of course, there's no Facebook, no Youtube, no Twitter, no Google Plus, no Blogger, no Google Search, no Google Docs, etc. they're all blocked, unless you use a proxy.

    BTW in ZhuHai a couple of years ago, I saw a young American teacher actually jump on his AT&T BlackBerry Torch, from the frustration of not being able to make it work properly with China Mobile.

    I actually bought a Googleless Lenovo out of choice, to replace a broken "With Google" Samsung Galaxy.
  12. LHays

    LHays Member

    Problem solved......just a delay. My friend in the Phils called the service center there and they told him that they can reload the entire phone for me with the OS/Apps in English the next time I go there for a visit.
    mikedt likes this.
  13. kramkumar

    kramkumar Member

    I am another victim of this Chinese Lenovo phone. I am in India, my Chinese friend gifted me this phone. I had trouble in all chinese software, no google play market etc. I rooted my phone also. On curiosity, I tried update my firmware as explained in official lenovo site I bricked my phone. Now the phone is not starting. Any help from experts please ?
  14. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide

    When you say bricked, what's actually happening? Is it like totally dead, or can you get recovery mode?
  15. wongyikhoong

    wongyikhoong New Member


    I think I can help. I am a Malaysian Chinese and recently bought 2 units of the Lenovo S880 back for test and use. I have flashed multiple custom ROM downloaded from Chinese forum as well as a ROW (Rest of the world) ROM which comes with English as native language and all the GAPPS namely Play Store, Maps, Gmail sync etc. Lemme know if you need a tutorial and stuff.
    kramkumar likes this.
  16. wongyikhoong

    wongyikhoong New Member

    kramkumar likes this.
  17. zypermorth

    zypermorth New Member

    Hi wongyikhoong,

    I also bought p700i here in china. I would like to install GAPPS and English as native language as well. could you help me to give the instructions and files? please send it to

  18. kramkumar

    kramkumar Member

    Thanks friends. My phone is hard bricked, no boot logo on power on. Even on connecting computer, the device is not showing.
  19. kramkumar

    kramkumar Member

    I took a help from local repair shop, and now my phone is working. I replaced the ROM with ROW rom, and there is nothing Chinese in that.
  20. drsparsh

    drsparsh Active Member

    can any one provide me the link for ROW rom??

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