Is Little Timmy still enthralled by his Leapfrog tablet? Maybe check he hasn't sideloaded an unrestricted OS onto it

Android hackers prove it can be done, but it was no mean feat

A group of Android tinkerers have found a way of sideloading an unrestricted OS onto the LeapFrog Epic, a kid-friendly tablet.

As detailed on the XDA Developers forums, the 2015 device proved somewhat complicated to hack due to the encrypted bootloader. This forced the creation of an unlocker tool, which circumvented these restrictions and permitted the flashing of LineageOS 14.1.

Youtube Video

LineageOS 14.1 is based on Android Nougat. Although obsolete, this nonetheless leapfrogs (if you'll pardon the pun) the Android 4.4 KitKat-based system that shipped with the Epic. It also offers an unrestricted Android experience, with access to the internet and proper apps.

According to the developers, basic hardware components (like 2D/3D acceleration, networking, and audio) work well. Nonetheless, the hacked solution has some quirks, with battery life notably worse. High-definition 1080p video also proved sluggish as the device defaulted to software rendering rather than use the built-in hardware rendering support found on the tablet's aged MediaTek processor.

Why would someone go to the trouble? Tinkerers and hackers aren't always concerned with practicalities, and are instead often motivated by naked curiosity. And what's more curious than seeing a kid's toy turned into a proper tablet computer? ®

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