CyanogenMod is a custom version of Android based on Google’s open source software. It includes a number of performance tweaks and customization options you won’t get from most other versions of Android including notification bar and lock screen enhancements and CPU controls.
While the MK802 Android 4.0 Mini PC isn’t officially supported by the CyanogenMod team, independent developer Christian Troy has ported the software to run on a range of devices with Allwinner A10 processors. And that includes the $70ish MK802 Mini PC.
Installing CyanogenMod on the MK802 takes a bit of time and patience at the moment.
First you have to install ClockworkMod Recovery on the little computer. That’s not extraordinarily difficult to do, because the version of Android 4.0 that comes with the MK802 already includes root access.
But you’ll need to install BusyBox, SuperUser, and an app called Script Manager from the Play Store and then follow the instructions at the Rikomagic forum to download and install ClockworkMod Recovery.
Once you’ve done that, you can reboot into recovery — but you may be greeted by a screen that shows the same options four different times, and which doesn’t respond well to keyboard and mouse input.
Through a lot of trial and error (pressing up and down keys and hitting the left mouse button to select), I managed to create a backup of my device on a removable SD card.
Then you’ll want to download the latest nightly version of CyanogenMod 9 for Allwinner A10 devices, the latest Google Apps package for Android 4.0, and the latest MK802 compatibility zip file and install them one at a time using ClockworkMod recovery.
Again, the Rikomagic forum has links and instructions.
Once that’s done, you should be able to reboot into CyanogenMod 9… but that may be as far as you get. Some users are reporting that sound doesn’t work, nor does video decoding.
I was able to boot into Android, watch the system update applications… and then reboot and get stuck on the boot logo.
Fortunately if you get stuck in this situation you can always connect the MK802 to a PC and use the LiveSuit recovery utility to flash the latest official MK802 firmware to the mini PC. This will wipe all of your data — but if you’ve already used ClockworkMod to make a backup, once you’re done you can re-install ClockworkMod recovery, insert your microSD card and restore from your backup.
For now, it’s nice to know that it’s possible to install CyanogenMod and other custom firmware using ClockworkMod… but I’d suggest that casual users wait until the kinks are worked out.