Visitors look at a video display at the Motorola booth
Visitors look at a video display at the Motorola boothReuters

It's been close to two months since Motorola began Android 5.0.2 Lollipop soak test on first generation Moto E (aka Condor) and before the company could release the update to the public en masse, prolific software programmers of the popular XDA Developer Forum have released the latest 5.1 Lollipop to the Motorola's 2014 budget smartphone.

This firmware is an experimental CyanogenMod CM12.1 Alpha version, so there are some bugs which are yet to be fixed, so we advise readers to go through whole of the tutorial article before installing this new Android 5.1 Lollipop custom ROM.

Features that are working:

  1. RIL
  2. Wi-Fi
  3. Gallery Video

Bugs which need to be fixed:

  1. No video recording, even if app says it works.
  2. Problem with the media scanner after rebooting when SDcard contains many files

Advisory for Dual-SIM model users:

People with Moto E (dual-SIM) model are requested not to plug any SIM in the first slot, the sim will work can lead to the system crashing. Custom ROM developer, scritch007 claims second slot works fine( like Data/call/sms) and adds that after the second sim is configured for data, we can replug first sim in and FC (Force Closing) stops appearing.

Prerequisites (things to remember before installing Custom ROM)

  • Though installing custom ROM improves the device's performance and UI experiences, it makes the company warranty void and they will no longer be liable to provide updates in future [users can restore warranty by flashing the device with stock-ROM].
  • Make sure the device is rooted (Bootloader unlocked) before going forward for custom ROM installation. [More information on Moto E Rooting/Bootloader unlocking, HERE]
  • This CyanogenMod [Unofficial] Android 5.1 Lollipop custom ROM can be installed only on Moto E (Gen 1) aka Condor; if tried on other devices, it might get bricked [To check your device model: Go to Settings >> About phone >> model number]
  • Installation of custom ROM requires clearing of memory in the smartphone, so make sure to back all the data by installing Clockwork Mod (CWM) Recovery/ TWRP in the smartphone.
  • Users make sure they have installed USB drivers on the PC, or else your device (Moto E) will not be recognized by the computer.
  • Make sure your device has more than 80 percent battery, or else there is chance of smartphone getting temporarily bricked if the installation process is interrupted in the mid-way.

[Disclaimer: This procedure is very technical and should be performed by a person with sound knowledge of rooting (or manual software installation) Android devices. If the step-by-step installation process is not followed properly, there are chances of the smartphone getting bricked or being permanently irreparable. International Business Times, India Edition cannot be held responsible for any damage or claims from readers if the procedure does not yield the required results or if the smartphone is bricked. Hence, users are advised to proceed with caution.]

Tutorial: Step-by-step installation procedure of CyanogenMod [Unofficial] Android 5.1 Lollipop CM12.1 Alpha custom ROM  on Motorola Moto E (1 Gen aka Condor)-

Step 1: Download CyanogenMod [Unofficial] Android 5.1 Lollipop CM12.1 Alpha custom ROM (HERE) and Google Apps (HERE/HERE) in to your PC.

[Note: Build date: 27/03/2015]

Step 2: Connect Motorola Moto E (1 Gen aka Condor) to PC via USB cord.

[Note: Before plugging the phone to the computer, be sure that you have installed USB driver software, if not, clickHERE to download the firmware]

Step 3: Then, place CyanogenMod[Unofficial] Android 5.1 Lollipop Custom ROM zip file and Google Apps .zip file into the phone's SD card's root folder memory.

[Note: Before users' begin installing the custom software, be sure that the device must have rooted and has installed ClockworkMod Recovery/TWRP tool.]

Step 4: Now, turn off the device and disconnect from the PC.

Step 5: Then perform the regular Recovery Mode sortie by press holding 'Volume (Down)' and 'Power' buttons.

[Very Important Note: If the user is flashing the Moto E for the first time- follow Steps -6 to Step 8; If the device is already running a nightly version/RC/Stable/Milestone- skip Step 6, just follow Steps 7 and 8, no need for clearing data/factory reset]

Step 6: After entering the RECOVERY mode, clear the phone memory, by choosing 'wipe data/factory reset'

[Note: use 'Volume' keys to navigate and 'Power' button to select options, while operating under Recovery Mode]

Step 7: Now, clear the cache memory by selecting 'wipe cache partition'

Step 8: Then to go back to Recovery mode, and select 'advanced' and tap 'wipe dalvik cache' [Note: This step is optional, but many recommend this procedure so that user will not face boot loops or any other errors in the middle of custom ROM installation]

Step 9: Again come back to main recovery screen and then tap 'install zip from SD card'

Step 10: Then tap 'choose zip from sdcard' and go to Android ROM .zip file in SD card and enter the installation process. Repeat the same procedure again to install the Google Apps. [Note: use 'Volume' keys to navigate and 'Power' button to select options]

Step 11: Once done with the installation process, navigate to '+++++Go Back+++++' and re-start the device by opting 'reboot system now' seen in the recovery menu.

Now, your device (Moto E 1st Gen aka Condor) will take a few minutes to complete the booting process.

Users then head to Settings >> select 'About phone' to confirm the installation of CyanogenMod Android 5.1 Lollipop CM12.1 Alpha custom ROM.

[Credits: XDA Developers Forum members- scritch007 (main developer), percy_g2, CyanogenMod Team, Dhacker29, JackpotClavin, cybojenix, Google and Motorola]

[Note: If faced with any issues using this custom ROM, leave your feedback, HERE]