The [almost] end-to-end control that users* have is one of the appealing things about Android.
The asterisk above is because while that is true for quite a number of things, at least most of them, for some things, it is not just about every other user who is invited to the party. Some level of advancement, however low-level, tends to be necessary for anyone with aspirations to join the root and ROM’s march (to victory?).
While that is not about to change, regardless of the number of do-it-yourself tools and accompanying tutorials that become accessible each day, at least it can get easier, right? Not everyone swears by the command line, after all.
That might be the thinking behind a new arrival to the Android world: a web-based flashing tool.
The Android Flash Tool, available through any web browser worth its salt on this link, has been out for a few days now and it removes the need for anyone flashing Android builds to know fastboot commands (remember them?).
It promises to load and flash whatever build is available (and one desires) in just 3 steps: plug in your device, select what you want, install.
There’s the bit where some drivers (hello Windows users) will need to be installed to make the pairing with the Android device a success but that is as much as one will be required to do besides the highlighted 3-step process.
Android Flash Tool allows anyone to use a browser supporting WebUSB, such as Chrome 79 or Edge 79, to flash an Android device entirely from the browser.
The biggest advantage that users of the tool can look forward to, other than the obvious plug-and-play-like process is that there is no need to spend time downloading the Android builds separately then transferring them to the device. It does that on the fly (you might need to wait a bit depending on the status of your network connectivity).
The tool is targeted at Android developers but who says you can’t get your hands dirty even if you aren’t?
The only caveat is that it only works for Google’s own Pixel devices, obviously, and HiKey reference boards (don’t worry if you don’t know what that is – you don’t need to) running AOSP (what is that?) builds.