Monthly Archives: October 2012

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Two days ago, ARCHOS has released firmware update 4.0.24 for their Gen9 tablets. Many users who installed the update have reported serious issues with the device not booting anymore, the tablet gets stuck on ARCHOS boot logo (“Entertainment your way“).
ARCHOS has rapidly removed the firmware download and should soon post a new update and instructions for those having a bricked device, no further information is available at the moment. ARCHOS has posted some updates on their Facebook page, see below.

We recommend that you should not update the firmware if you have downloaded or got access to the 4.0.24 firmware and wait for further instructions.

Franz Xaver member on archosfans forum has made a list of devices where the firmware update worked and those where it failed. Looking at the serial numbers (which are based on the tablet manufacturing date), it seems the ones failing are the most recent (starting by 1211 or higher).

Updates from ARCHOS and contact information

ARCHOS has posted the following information on their Facebook page, inviting the users to contact their tech support.

Unfortunately the Firmware 4.0.24 that was released on Wednesday (10/10) afternoon causes significant problems on a very small number of ARCHOS 101 G9 devices, causing the tablets to become unresponsive.
A few hours later, the moment the problem was discovered, the firmware update was pulled from our servers.

Those users that updated and find themselves with an unresponsive tablet are invited to contact our customer support hotlines (per country list below), where our support personnel will gather their details in order for their device to be returned and repaired.

France 08 92 70 40 01 0.34€/ min
Belgium 0 70 25 30 06 0.15€/mn
Netherlands 0900 2020 211 0.15€/mn
Germany 01 805 578 024 0,12€/mn
Austria 08 20 90 11 24 0,20€/mn
Switzerland 0848444001 0.09CHF/mn
Danemark 35 25 65 67 National call cost
Norway 22.57.77.71 National call cost
Sweden 08 579 290 80 National call cost
UK 0906 213 24 0,25£/mn
Ireland 01 601 5700 National call cost
Spain 807 050 025 0,325€/mn
Portugal 707789193 0.12€/mn
Italy 199 40 40 22 0,25€/mn

We love Facebook. While it is made to stay in touch with your friends and family, it is also an interesting source to see what Archos future plans are. Last time we discovered a nice 97 Xenon from the Elements range, today we discovered that Archos Slovenia revealed some details for the FamilyPad.

And we understand not all of you can understand Slovenian, so here is translation to English:

We are proud to inform you that the ARCHOS in December 2012 issued a special plate FAMILY PAD, which will have an impressive display of
13.3 inches and a resolution of 1440 x 900 points. It will have a front and rear camera, HD quality, 16GB NAND flash memory, HDMI, USB OTG, as well as 10,500 mAh battery.
Respect for ARCHOS France, the images are not posted, you sadly the latter can not be present, but it looks fantastic;)

More information is published at the end of October.

Does it look amazing? We think it does, especially if you also get the stand shown in the first picture. On the other hand, what about the specifications? The current stores offering it(for example lasystems) mention it will come with 1280×800 screen and 8GB of flash memory. Perhaps Archos employees in Slovenia made a mistake, or Archos decided to upgrade a few components. Then there is also the RPP of 299€… We mentioned that YF Tech is selling the 1280×800 units for 180$/piece and even if you add the stand and the upgraded screen(we really doubt this will happen), the single-core Arnova FamilyPad seems overpriced to us.

For the whole day tomorrow October 11, will be La Factory 2012, the first edition of an high tech show in Paris, France. The editor of the show, Les Numeriques has revealed that Archos should present their 3 latest devices: the 101 XS ultra slim tablet with magnetic cover keyboard, which is just starting to sell, the 97 XS (9.7 inches IPS screen) and the GamePad an Android console game tablet.

Registration to the show is free, just register at lesnumeriques website.


Agrandir le plan

Don’t forget to visit us soon for some news on these products.

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Following Arctablet massive development in the past months, our Blog is now a well established source of information on Archos and Arnova Android tablets with hundreds of articles, our own tools, firmwares and an active forum community. Our ambition is to expand our international team to offer a wider range of information and help the Archos community of users to grow.

We are therefore looking for :

  • Contributors to the Blog and to the Forum

    - news and articles writers or guest bloggers
    - testers and reviewers of new Archos/Arnova products or other Android tablets
    forum moderators to help keeping our forum as a high quality resource
    Android applications and games reviewers

    Proven writing/blogging experience preferred, overall tech knowledge with thorough and specific understanding of both Android’s history and current happenings.

  • Android and web developers
  • - persons to build firmware modifications from binary or source code (CyanogenMod) to correct bugs and add new features to the tablets
    WIKI and Blog writers to document Archos and Arnova (Rockchip platform) tablets technical information
    – Android developers: add new features to Arctools, our own tool for Archos & Arnova tablets
    Web designers to help improving Arctablet and forum look

We accept contributors from all over the world.
Local people from Paris, France are welcome, especially students from EPITA & EFREI engineering schools, who will have the opportunity to get access to Android tablets, meet and participate in device hacking sessions ;)
Contributors from Asia, preferably Shenzen or Hong-Kong are welcome to help us getting an early access on Archos, Arnova and other Android Tablets.

Feel free to use the form below or the Contact page if you are interested to help.



Name (*)

Email

Subject

Message

Input this code: captcha

Picture © AKS – Fotolia.com

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ARCHOS has just released a firmware update for their Gen9 tablets. The release number jumps from 4.0.7 to 4.0.24, probably to reflect the changes and get in sync with the Gen10 firmwares. The system version actually moves from Android 4.0.3 to latest ICS version 4.0.4. The revision history is quite long, it covers main Media Center fixes, a new Remote Control feature and a more robust Wi-FI driver that should hopefully fix the latest problems.

According to the release information, the detailed changes are the following:

Version 4.0.24 – October 10th, 2012

  • Android: IceCream Sandwich 4.0.4 version
  • Media Center: network indexing on network shortcut menu (+), network shortcuts creation is proposed on network share directory long press
  • Media Center: new simplified Movie/TV Shows/All Video views
  • Media Center Video: new video information view with backdrop display and chooser (click on backdrop to change it)
  • Media Center Video: poster can be changed by clicking on it in the video Information view
  • Video Scraper: faster media information retrieval process. Note that in the migration process, all your video scraper information will be lost.
  • Subtitles: ability to download and save subtitles for network shares
  • Media Center: add video search
  • Media Center Music: Album art swipe gesture support
  • Remote control: control your tablet with your TV remote through HDMI on TV compatible hardware (directional pad, multimedia and color TV remote keys)
  • Archos Remote: support of remote touch pad
  • Wi-Fi: new more robust driver
  • Media Center Video: fix audio desync for some MPEG4/AVI files
  • Media Center Video: fix MPEG PS/VOB audio track selection
  • Media Center Video: fix UPNP playback of large files (>4GB)
  • Media Center Video: fix seeking in some TS files
  • Media Center Video: fix playing certain MKV files
  • Media Center Video: fix playing certain H264 files
  • Media Center Video: improve DVD/VOB playback in case there are IFO files present
  • Media Center Video: add support for MPL2 subtitle format
  • Media Center Video: improve playback of H264/AAC TS files

Archos G9 4.0.24 Firmware download

firmware_archos_it4.aos (205 Mb)

Firmware update procedure at Archos.com

Archos Remote Control feature tested on an Archos 101 XS, works the same on the Gen9.

Gen8 firmware is coming too, stay tuned. ;)

The Arnova 10b G3 tablet is a product refresh of the Arnova 10b G2 best seller, updated with latest Android 4.03 Ice Cream Sandwich and 1 Gb of RAM. The rest of the device specifications stay the same: Rockchip RK2918 processor (single core) running at 1 GHz, 10.1″ capacitive touch screen, front camera.

Arnova 10b G3 specifications

Operating System Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
Linux Kernel Version: 3.0.8+
Build fingerprint: Android/rk29sdk/rk29sdk:4.0.3/IML74K/eng.root.20120330.182730:eng/test-keys
CPU single core Rockchip 2918 CPU running at 1 Ghz
Integrated GPU: Vivante Corporation GC800
Flash Storage Memory Capacity 4 GB
Speed: Class 4 range (tested Read 20 300 kB/s, Write 3 847 kB/s)
System Memory 1024 Mb
Additional storage Micro SD slot (SDHC compatible)
Display 1024×600 TFT LCD 10.1 inches
capacitive 2 points screen
Bluetooth No
Wifi 802.11 b/g/n
Gravity Sensor Yes
Camera 0.3Mp (front facing)
GPS No
HDMI No
Interfaces Micro USB host 2.0: Mass Storage Class (MSC)
MicroSD slot
Battery life Video playing test: 3 hours

check our Archos and Arnova battery tests page
Android Market No (Appslib application Marketplace)
or use our custom firmware to get Google Play / Android Market on the Arnova 10b G3.
Kickstand No
Dimensions 270 mm x 150 mm x 12 mm (10.6” x 5.9” x 0.47”)
Weight 622 g / 21.94 oz
Arnova 10b G3 4 Gb

AMAZON USA$ 119.99
AMAZON UKUsually dispatched within 1-2 business days£ 94.95
AMAZON DE107.75 EUR
AMAZON FRHabituellement expédié sous 24 h113.76 EUR

Packaging

Packaging is very similar to other Archos and Arnova products, you will find in the box:
– an Arnova 10b G3 tablet
– an USB cable (micro USB format), it does not charge the tablet
– 3 papers that includes: Arnova 10b G3 User Guide, Legal and Safety Notices and a $10 music credit coupon at emusic.com
– a power charger with 3 power sockets (American, English and European type), input 100-240V, outputs 5V 2A

Tablet design

The Arnova 10b G3 tablet shares its design with the previous Arnova 10b G2 model. The outside case is fully made of plastic with a brilliant aspect on the perimeter and the back of the tablet, that easily catches fingerprints. Weighting a little more than 600 g, it comparable to other models such as Arnova 10 G2 or Archos G9, the 10b G3 does not provide a kickstand. The camera (0.3 Mpixels) is located on the front left side of the case, the single speaker is on the other side.

Arnova 10b G3 buttons and connectors


The buttons and connectors are located on the left side of the tablet, we can find: power button, reset pinhole, volume +/- push button, the OTG micro USB, stereo earphone and power connectors.

Arnova 10b G3 benchmarks

October 2012 benchmarks update

Arnova 10b G3 benchmark results
Arnova 10b G3
Test setup
Firmware version
Linux Kernel version 3.0.8+ (root@sc-server-desktop) (gcc version 4.4.0 (GCC) ) #216 PREEMPT Mon Jun 11 09:46 :03 CST 2012
Android version 4.0.3 rk29sdk/rk29sdk:4.0.3/IML74K/eng.root.20120611.162734:eng/test-keys
Antutu Benchmark
higher is faster
Total score: 2417
CPU:  743
GPU: 761
RAM: 422
I/O: 491
Linpack Pro v 1.2.9
higher is faster, benchmark run in multi-thread
(we took the best numbers we could achieve, there is a lot of variance on these bench results)
15.536 MFLOPS
CF-Bench v 1.1
higher is faster
Native score: 3064
Java Score: 1018
Overall Score: 1836
ArcTools v 0.73
higher is faster
Read: 20 300 Kb/s
Write: 3 847 Kb/s
Smartbench 2011 v 1.2.1
higher is faster
Prod. index: 415
Games Index: 791
Quadrant Advanced 1.1.7
higher is faster
Total: 1551
CPU: 1378
Mem: 2735
I/O: 2142
2D: 457
3D: 1045
Vellamo v 1.0.3
higher is faster
745
Nenamark v 2.0
higher is faster
18.3 FPS
Neocore v 1.9.35
higher is faster
GPUBench v 1.0.0
higher is faster
Absolute: 31073
Relative: 21589

Arnova 10b G3 battery life

We ran a battery life test playing Big Buck video (720p, mp4, reencoded sound in AAC format: this file big_buck_bunny_720p_AAC.mp4), brightness was set at 50%, sound at 50% and Wi-FI disabled.
The tablet was running Arnova 10b G3 official firmware from 2012/06/11 and ArcTools battery life test was used to generate the following graph.

With this test scenario, the battery life of the Arnova 10b G3 continuously playing a video was around 10 000 seconds, that is ~ 3 hours. This is one of the lowest battery life we got to see on a 10 inches tablet.

You can also refer the our Arnova 10 G2 review for further information on this 10 inches model very similar to the Arnova 10b G3.

Another day, another Arnova G3 tablet release, it’s an eReader this time. Looking at the Arnova GBook specifications, it’s nothing really fancy, just a relatively old CPU ARM Cortex A8 at 1 Ghz (probably Rockchip RK29xx), 1 Gb of RAM and WIFI. The screen is mentioned to be a 7″ high resolution capacitive color touchscreen TFT offering a 800 x 480 pixels display (16:9 ratio), there are no words about electronic ink display technlogy used here, so we are not sure if it’s that comfortable for long reading sessions.

Compared to a regular Arnova tablet, the device comes with Aldiko eBook Reader Premium application, that would cost €2.99 euros on Google Play Store otherwise. Speaking about Marketplace, this device does not have Google Play Store, but instead provides Archos own Appslib.

Operating System Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
CPU ARM Cortex A8 @ 1 Ghz
Supposedly a Rockchip RK2918 CPU with Integrated GPU: Vivante Corporation GC800
Flash Storage Memory Capacity: 4 GB
System Memory 1024 Mb
Display 7” High resolution capacitive color touchscreen TFT – 800 x 480 pixels
Additional storage Micro SD slot
Bluetooth No
Wi-FI Yes
Gravity Sensor Yes
Camera No
GPS No
HDMI No
Android Market / Google Play No (Appslib, the Archos market place)
Dimensions & weight Dimensions: 196 x 116.7 x 11.5 mm
Weight: 304g

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INTRODUCTION

Target of this tutorial is to explain how to mount NAS, Samba (SMB) or Windows network shared drives on the Arnova G3 Android ICS tablets. It uses the CIFS kernel modules, which are unfortunately not provided “by default” on many existing tablet firmwares.

Several softwares or file manager extensions offered on “Google Play Store” do provide their own SMB implementations (examples: AndSMB, Astro, File Manager HD, …), but they may not be compatible with all devices, and especially with all types of shared drives. At least with my Arnova 10b G3 and my old Samba/Linux drive, they don’t work properly. Thus I wanted to get a more generic and “kernel based” solution, in order to allow all my tablet applications to gain a transparent access to my network shared drives! :)

Last but not least, as many of you like to get their own local specific characters and accents, a correct UTF8 implementation is requested to display and access all files and directories.

REQUIREMENTS

  • An Arnova G3 tablet with Android ICS, root access (superuser) and a writable /system partition (most custom firmwares provide all this)
  • Latest version of Arctools installed, offering CIFS kernel modules installation.
  • CIFS Manager” software, available on “Google Play Store”.
  • A NAS, Samba (SMB) or Windows network shared drive, with UTF8 support properly activated.

INSTALLATION

1) Arctools CIFS Modules

If not already done, download and install the latest version of Arctools on “Appslib”.

Go to Arctools “Apps Install” page, download and install Arnova G3 CIFS Modules.

In order to verify the modules installation, go to the Arctools Tools page, and press on the CIFS icon under “Drivers and Services”, at the bottom of the screen:

If everything works fine, you should get the icon stripe turning green:

Now you can leave Arctools and go to the next step. Please note that, from now, we will handle to CIFS kernel modules through the CIFS Manager software, so you should not have to use Arctools anymore for that purpose.

2) CIFS Manager

Download and install CIFS Manager software, available on “Google Play Store”.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ws.plattner.cifsmanager

Launch CIFS Manager. DO NOT press “Add New Share” yet. Go to the option page by pressing on the 3 dots at the bottom of the screen (see red circle):

[…]

You will get the CIFS Manager general configuration page.

First remove the “Mount point prefix” default value (leave it empty) : We will use absolute paths in the network shared drive configuration. Then activate “Load cifs module” and “Load via insmod” as described. Finally update “Path to cifs.ko” with the following sentence:

“/system/lib/modules/cifs.ko; insmod /system/lib/modules/md4.ko; insmod /system/lib/modules/nls_utf8.ko”

Warning: The first module path & file does NOT have an “insmod” in front of it. It will be added by the CIFS Manager software.

Now go back to the main screen and press “Add New Share”. Then fill-in all parameters with the requested info:

- Share Path: Put your remote NAS/Computer IP address and the shared directory, separated by a “/”. Check carefully on your server how the path is set (relative/absolute).

- Mount Point: Place to mount the shared directory on your tablet. “/mnt/cifs/[dir_name]” is the standard place, but you may better use “/mnt/sdcard/[dir_name]” if you whish to access easily the shared drive from your main User directory.

- Username & Password: Put the needed info… I haven’t got the opportunity to test a remote shared drives with “anonymous” access. Just try “anonymous” in the Username field…

- Options: “iocharset=utf8” and “nounix” have to be set, separated by a “;”. The latest one prevents any potential file access issue due to specific CIFS extensions available on a UNIX share. If you still get no file access, you may use “noperm” instead of “nounix”. More info can be found on: http://linux.die.net/man/8/mount.cifs.

Press “Save Share” and go back to the main CIFS Manager menu.

Then press once on the newly created shared drive. If everything goes fine :), you should get a nice green dot to the right:

If not :(, then you will get a red one (or just the grey one):

In case of shared drive mounting failure, an error will be displayed on the screen. If it says something like “no such file or device”, most probably the CIFS kernel modules are not working correctly, or there is an error in the “Options” parameters line.

You may also perform on long press on the shared drive which will bring you the following menu (depending on the mounting status, some options may be different or greyed out):

When you finally get the green dot, just leave CIFS Manager and launch to your favourite file manager. Mine is “File Manager” (with or w/o HD) from Rhythm Software. Check that your mounted shared drive is working properly, especially if the local specific characters / accents are correctly displayed. Try to open directories & files to also check permissioning aspects.

IMPORTANT NOTE

As the CIFS kernel modules are not part of your firmware image, each time you turn off/on your tablet, you need to reinsert the modules and mount the network shared drive. No need to go through Arctools. Just launch CIFS Manager, press once on your shared drive line, and leave CIFS Manager.

A solution for automatic CIFS kernel modules insertion at boot, and automatic network shared drive mounting has to be worked out. To be continued… :)

Our forum member Neomode has recently published NEOCM10 “LEON”, an Android 4.1 port for the Arnova G3. We have tested this firmware and found it to work quite well on the Arnova 10b G3: Google Apps, Play Store and Google Now are all working fine. There is still a bit of lag in the user interface and issues with the accelerometer, but it’s already very stable.

We have published an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean firmware update for the Arnova 10b G3,
don’t forget to check it !

Quick video demo of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean running on the Arnova 10b G3

This firmware also comes with ClockWorkMod Touch recovery (CWMR Touch v5.5.0.4 Beta 15)

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