Monthly Archives: February 2013

High capacity microSD cards offering 64 GB storage have been introduced almost a year ago at a rather high cost (more than $150/€150). Since then, prices have considerably dropped and these little cards are now quite affordable (under €50, £40 or $65) and offer a great accessory to increase your tablet storage space.
The SanDisk ULTRA 64GB card we are checking in this article offers a great Class 10 speed and follows the SDXC format (Secure Digital eXtended Capacity) that breaks the limit of 32 GB from the SDHC card standard.

SANDISK_Micro_SXHC_64GB_card_and_adapter_0445b

SanDisk ULTRA 64GB microSDXC packaging and specifications (SDSDQU-064G-U46A product #)

SanDisk gives the following specifications for their product:
  • Class 10 Class 10 UHS-I speed (10 Mbytes/s writing speed)
  • durable Design: Waterproof, X-ray proof, temperature proof (-13 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit), and shockproof
  • includes an SD card adapter for compatibility with SD-enabled devices, such as cameras, camcorders, and laptops
  • the Ultra microSDHC/microSDXC UHS-I cards are backed by a lifetime limited warranty (see SanDisk site for details)
  • SANDISK_Micro_SXHC_64GB_front_DSC_0298_cSANDISK_Micro_SXHC_64GB_back_DSC_0316_c

    Sandisk Ultra 64GB MicroSDXC

    AMAZON USAUsually ships in 24 hours$ 46.4
    AMAZON UKUsually dispatched within 24 hours£ 34.99
    AMAZON FRHabituellement expédié sous 24 h43.9 EUR

    SanDisk 64GB ULTRA microSDXC Performance

    The card is rated as Class 10, that asserts a minimum speed of 10 MB per second on non-fragmented sequential writes. UHS-I symbol relates to the Ultra-High Speed (UHS) that provides enhanced clock frequency compared to the original standards.

    We used the following test setup to evaluate the SanDisk 64GB ULTRA microSDXC performance: x86-64 PC, 8 GB RAM, Windows 7, Transcend Multi-Card Reader M3 connected to computer thru USB 2.0 cable.

    CrystalDiskMark 3.0.2 x64 benchmark
    3 test runs, 100 MB test size
    SANDISK_Micro_SXHC_64GB_CrystalDiskMark302x64_result
    (MB/s = 1,000,000 bytes/s)

    ATTO Disk Benchmark (DISK32) version 2.47 benchmark
    0.5 to 8192 KB transfer size, Forced Write Access, I/O comparison 512 MB total length, random test pattern
    SANDISK_Micro_SXHC_64GB_ATTO_diskbenchmark_2_47_result

    On our test setup with these two benchmarks, we can see the SanDisk 64 GB is a little below the Class 10 specification, with sequential writing speed around 9.5 MB/s, the sequential reading speed is more than the double, with 19.5 MB/s. As usual, these numbers drop when benchmarking random access on the card.

    Based on the sequential access numbers, that mean it would take about 7 minutes to copy a 4 GB file, or one 1 hour and 40 minutes to fill an empty microSDXC card. It’s not super fast, but it’s usually faster than most flash storage equipping tablets and is currently enough for recording or reading compressed 1080p videos streams.

    SanDisk 64GB ULTRA microSDXC compatibility with Android and other devices

    The SanDisk card come pre-formatted with exFAT file system, which can be a problem with some devices, as we will discover below.

    exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table) is Microsoft file system optimized for flash drives, it is supported on Microsoft Windows operating system (Windows XP with updates, Windows Vista SP1, Windows 7, Windows 8), Apple Mac OS X Snow Leopard starting from 10.6.5, Mac OS X Lion and OS X Mountain Lion, Linux support currently requires special drivers installation. Compared to FAT32 where files are limited to 4 GB, one of the biggest feature of the exFAT format is the file size limit of 16 Exbibytes (EiB) which represents (2^60 bytes, that is more than a billion of gigabytes !)

    Wikipedia mentions the following about SDXC compatibility with SDHC

    SDXC host devices accept all previous families of SD memory cards. Conversely, SDHC host devices accept SDXC cards that follow Version 3.0, since the interface is identical, but the following issues may affect usability:
    SDXC cards are pre-formatted with Microsoft’s proprietary and patented exFAT file system, which the host device might not support. Since Microsoft does not publish the specifications of exFAT and its use requires a non-free license, many alternative or older operating systems do not support exFAT for technical or legal reasons. The use of exFAT on some SDXC cards may render SDXC unsuitable as a universal exchange medium, as an SDXC card that uses exFAT would not be usable in all host devices. Since the FAT32 file system supports volumes up to the SDXC’s maximum theoretical capacity of 2 TB as well, a user could reformat an SDXC card to use FAT32 for greater portability between computers (see below). FAT32-formatted SDXC cards can be used in a host device built for SDHC if the host device can handle 64 GB and larger volumes.
    SDHC host devices do not test the new capability bits defined for SDXC 4.0 cards and thus cannot use the new features of SDXC, such as transfer speeds above UHS104 (104 MB/s).

    As you can see on our video, the card is confirmed to come formatted in exFAT format and worked immediately on the PC running Windows 7, we’ll see it is a little more complicated on some Android devices.

    On their website, ARCHOS mentions a “microSD Slot (SDHC compatible up to 64GB)” for their most recent devices such as the GamePad, Gen 10 XS or Titanium, there is even a “(compatible up to 128GB)” for the 101 XS. Actually there is no mention of specific SDXC support and we could hope to see the card immediately supported. We tried the card out of the box on the GamePad and 101 XS, and it resulted in a failure as you can see below, the SDcard is shown as damaged and can’t be formatted by the Android system.

    ARCHOS_GamePad_SanDisk_64GB_microSDXC_Card_Class_10_damaged1b

    ARCHOS_GamePad_SanDisk_64GB_microSDXC_Card_Class_10_damaged2c

    We had to format the card in FAT32 on a PC to be able to use it on the tablets. We will give full details of the procedure and some extra benchmarks in another article.

    SanDisk ULTRA 64GB microSDXC Card Class 10 on the ARCHOS 101 XS
    ARCHOS_101XS_SanDisk_64GB_microSDXC_Card_Class_10b

    SanDisk ULTRA 64GB microSDXC Card Class 10 on the ARCHOS GamePad
    ARCHOS_GamePad_SanDisk_64GB_microSDXC_Card_Class_10b

    Sandisk Ultra 64GB MicroSDXC

    AMAZON USAUsually ships in 24 hours$ 46.4
    AMAZON UKUsually dispatched within 24 hours£ 34.99
    AMAZON FRHabituellement expédié sous 24 h43.9 EUR

    Announced a few months ago (from semi-official sources) the Android 4.1/4.2 Jelly Bean availability on the ARCHOS G9 tablets is no more, as the vendor has mentioned yesterday on their Facebook that there won’t be any Jelly Bean update for the ARCHOS Gen9 devices.

    ArchosG9_Android_41JB-NOT_b

    Here are the official words from ARCHOS Facebook worldwide:
    ARCHOS_Facebook_Gen9_NO_JB_b_nowrmk

    Archos Worldwide Marco Antunes – Unfortunately after many months of analysis and testing it has been decided that, due to the multiple hardware configurations available on our G9 range and the complexities these add, we will not release an Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean” update to the G9 range tablets. The G9 Range, originally released in the autumn of 2011, running Honeycomb, saw 15 firmware updates taking it across many versions of Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich, making 4.0.26 the final firmware that will be provided to this device range.



    Our understanding of the situation is that ARCHOS G9, previous generation tablets have seen a great deal of variations in the hardware platform: from TI OMAP 4430 or OMAP 4460 processors running at 1 GHz, 1.2 GHz and 1.5 GHz, flash or hard disks storage and different types of touch panel.
    These seem to have created multiple problems in maintaining updates, as some serious issues with devices not booting after a firmware update were reported in the past. The effort of porting Jelly Bean to the G9 has probably been judged too high in regards to the requirements of supporting an old model.

    Latest firmware for the ARCHOS 80 and 101 G9 is version 4.0.28 that was released a few days ago

    Unofficial Android 4.2 Jelly Bean for ARCHOS G9

    For those looking for latest Android 4.2 Jelly Bean support on the G9 devices, you also have the option of using unofficial firmwares, but these are less mature and not supported by ARCHOS.
    CyanogenMod 10.1 and PARANOIDANDROID AOSPA 4.2.2

    Via archosfans.com and xda-developers.com

    JMI Tech has just unveiled the second tablet of the company history with the JMI Pulse 10, a 10.1 inches Android based on the Allwinner A31 quad-core architecture. Priced like JMI previous model T970, the new JMI Pulse 10 is currently in pre-order at 269,00 € and should be available at end of March in France, Belgium and Luxembourg.

    JMI_Pulse_10_bis_nowrmk

    The tablet has a nice Ipad-ish look with an aluminium back, a reasonably thin design (8.8 mm), great connectivity (Wifi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, micro HDMI output) and comes with Google Play Store support.

    JMI_pulse10_dimensions_nowrmk

    JMI Pulse 10 specifications

    Operating System Android™ 4.1.1 Jelly Bean
    CPU Boxchip Allwinner A31 quad-core ARM Cortex A7 running at 1,2GHz
    Integrated PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU
    Flash Storage Memory Capacity 16 GB
    System Memory 2Go DDR3 64-bits RAM
    Additional storage Micro SD slot (SDHC compatible, up to 32 Gb)
    Display 1280×800 IPS 10.1 inches screen (16/10 ratio)
    Viewing angle 170°
    capacitive multitouch 5 points
    Bluetooth Yes
    Wifi 802.11 b/g/n
    Gravity Sensor Yes
    Camera Dual camera: Front 2 Mpixels camera and back 5 Mpixels (with autofocus and flash) camera
    GPS No
    HDMI Yes (Micro HDMI connector)
    Interfaces 1 Micro USB OTG port
    MicroSD slot
    Battery 7000mA Li-Po battery
    Announced up to 8 hours battery life
    Google Play Store Yes
    Kickstand No
    Dimensions 255mm x 168mm x 8,8mm
    Weight 590g

    JMI_Pulse_10_b_nowrmk

    Product information and pictures from jmitech.fr (in French)

    Are you already bored with your ARCHOS GamePad controls, looking to use a separate joystick for heavy gaming ? Thanks to sleepless ninja on xda-developers.com and deadhp1 on armtvtech.com forum we have a kernel module to support the XBOX 360 controller for Android and RK3066 based devices. In this article, we’ll review how to configure the XBOX controller on your GamePad and check it on the few supported games.

    ARCHOS_GamePad_XBOX_Wireless_controller_b

    XBOX 360 wireless controller on the ARCHOS GamePad video demo

    The video below demonstrates the XBOX 360 Wireless Controller running on the ARCHOS GamePad

    Required hardware

    You need to install a rooted firmware on your ARCHOS GamePad, it should also work on other RK3066 processor based devices.

    As a game controller, you will need an XBOX 360 controller wireless model.

    Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Controller

    AMAZON USAUsually ships in 24 hours$ 35.99
    AMAZON UKUsually dispatched within 24 hours£ 22.99
    AMAZON DEGewöhnlich versandfertig in 24 Stunden39.99 EUR
    AMAZON FRHabituellement expédié sous 24 h35 EUR

    and the XBOX 360 Wireless receiver dongle to connect to your Android device.

    Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless receiver

    AMAZON USA$ 63.23
    AMAZON UKUsually dispatched within 1-2 business days£ 13.99
    AMAZON DEGewöhnlich versandfertig in 24 Stunden19.45 EUR
    AMAZON FRHabituellement expédié sous 24 h19.9 EUR

    You will also need an USB Host / OTG cable to connect the XBOX 360 wireless receiver dongle to micro USB connector of your ARCHOS GamePad.

    Setup in Arctools

  • Step 1: Download ArcTools APK and install the application on your Android device.
  • Step 2: Start ArcTools.
  • Select the package “XBOX 360 wireless controller support for RK3066 devices (xpad module)

  • Step 3: Download, Install the package
  • Step 4: Select “Grant” button to allow SuperUser when prompted to give root access.
  • The install is now complete and you should have a screen like the one below. On some devices, it may necessary to run step 2. to step 4 a second time for the configuration to be properly done.

  • Step 5: Go to Tools tab, select the “Xbox 360” service, click on it

  • That’s it, connect and pair your Xbox 360 controller with the wireless dongle and you should be ready to play games.
  • Support the project!

    If our web site and applications helped you, thanks for supporting us by donating using the Paypal form below or visiting our Donations page. Donations will be used to pay the bills for our server hosting costs, tools and purchase new tablets to support.

    Other gaming options: WII Remote Controller, Sony Sixaxis / DualShock 3 controller

    Bluetooth enabled tablets can also support other controllers, such as the WII Mote or the Sony Sixaxis / DualShock 3 controllers. Unfortunately, the ARCHOS GamePad doesn’t not have Bluetooth, but that may be supported in the future using external dongles.

    Using a WII Remote controller on the ARCHOS 101 G9

    Sony Sixaxis / DualShock game controller and Mapping tool on ARCHOS 101 XS

    We hope you’ll enjoy gaming with your Android device, don’t hesitate to leave comments in our forum.

    With the 97 Titanium HD, ARCHOS took the challenge to integrate a middle end Rockchip RK3066 processor (as of early 2013 standards) with a high resolution (2048×1536) display. The tablet operates two display modes, a “normal mode” with 1600×1200 resolution and an “HD” mode with 2048×1536. We’ll see from the benchmarks and user experience that the device really offers mixed results based on the device resolution.

    titanium_epic_bench_result

    ARCHOS 97 Titanium HD benchmark results vs Onda V972

    Test conditions:
    – ARCHOS 97 Titanium HD retail device with firmware build dated 2013/01/24
    – all benchmarks were executed after all tasks have been killed
    – test were run multiple times to check for consistent behavior, the results shown here correspond to average values

    ARCHOS 97 Titanium HD vs Onda V972 benchmark results
    ARCHOS 97 Titanium HD Onda V972
    Display mode Normal
    (1600×1200)
    HD
    (2048×1536)
    HD
    (2048×1536)
    Test setup
    Firmware version
    stock firmware
    Linux version 3.0.8+ (cdy@mid-server)
    #398 SMP PREEMPT Thu Jan 24 20:11:25 CST 2013
    Android 4.1.1 Build archos/RK30A97TIHD/A97TIHD:4.1.1/
    JRO03H/20130130.111032:user/release-keys

    stock firmware
    Linux version 3.3.0 (lgm@SzExdroid5)
    #3 SMP PREEMPT Mon Feb 4 11:38:13 CST 2013
    Android 4.1.1 onda/fiber_onda978q9/fiber-onda978q9:4.1.1/
    MASTER/20130204:user/test-keys

    Antutu Benchmark v3.1.1
    higher is faster
    Total score: 9808
    RAM: 1278
    CPU integer: 2291
    CPU float-point: 1827
    2D graphics: 1026 (1152×1464)
    3D graphics: 2688 (1152×1464)
    Database IO: 560
    SD card write: (8.6 MB/s) 86
    SD card read: (5.2 MB/s) 52
    CPU frequency: 1608 MHz (x2)
    Total score: 7953
    RAM: 1808
    CPU integer: 2440
    CPU float-point: 420
    2D graphics: 663 (1536×1952)
    3D graphics: 1902 (1536×1952)
    Database IO: 560
    SD card write: (10.5 MB/s) 105
    SD card read: (5.5 MB/s) 55
    CPU frequency: 1608 MHz (x2)
    Total score: 10736
    RAM: 1480
    CPU integer: 2894
    CPU float-point: 1840
    2D graphics: 866 (1536×1952)
    3D graphics: 2804 (1536×1952)
    Database IO: 500
    SD card write: (27.4 MB/s) 150
    SD card read: (>50 MB/s) 202
    CPU frequency: 1008 MHz (x4)
    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)
    84.63 MFLOPS 79.373 MFLOPS 96.546 MFLOPS
    CF-Bench v1.2
    higher is faster
    Native score: 15055
    Java Score: 4658
    Overall Score: 8816
    Native score: 14783
    Java Score: 4603
    Overall Score: 8675
    Native score: 17540
    Java Score: 3329
    Overall Score: 9013
    ArcTools v 0.76
    higher is faster
    Read: 22677 Kb/s
    Write: 7952 Kb/s
    Read: 23163 Kb/s
    Write: 7141 Kb/s
    Read: 24725 Kb/s
    Write: 10576 Kb/s
    Quadrant Pro v2.1.1
    higher is faster
    Total: 4220
    CPU: 7883
    Mem: 4561
    I/O: 5640
    2D: 765
    3D: 2250
    Total: 3460
    CPU: 7773
    Mem: 3877
    I/O: 4025
    2D: 368
    3D: 1257
    Total: 3131
    CPU: 7518
    Mem: 1791
    I/O: 3125
    2D: 971
    3D: 2252
    Vellamo v 2.02
    higher is faster
    HTML5: 1576
    Metal: 536
    (ran in portrait mode)
    HTML5: 1313
    Metal: 520
    (ran in portrait mode)
    HTML5: 1025
    Metal: 358
    (ran in landscape mode)
    EPIC Citadel version 1.05
    Benchmark run in high quality mode performance level
    rendering resolution 100%
    higher is faster
    40.5 FPS
    (1536×1080)
    37.9 FPS
    (2048×1440)
    42.5 FPS
    (2048×1440)


    On the 97 Titanium HD benchmark results, we can observe that the numbers are usually higher in Normal mode compared to HD mode (2048×1536 pixels resolution) which is not really surprising, knowing the tablet processor and architecture wasn’t really designed for such high resolutions. While the results in both resolution show a decent performance compared to other middle range tablets, it doesn’t really reflect the user experience, especially in HD mode where the Android system reacts quite slowly. Touch inputs may take a second or two before the tablet reacts, which is really disturbing for a daily use in high definition.

    The following two videos were shot on the stock firmware version, the lag in the Android interface and frame skipping in the video player are easily noticed. The situation has improved a bit since latest firmware update, but there it is still far from being smooth.

    In addition to the lag, there is also an unpleasant screen flicker in HD mode, you can clearly see it in our NenaMark2 benchmark video.

    Comparing the ARCHOS 97 Titanium HD with the Onda V972 benchmarks figures globally gives a clear advantage to the Onda, but the difference is mainly noticeable in the Android user interface which is really smoother on the Onda, thanks to the 2 GB of RAM and the quad-core Allwinner A31 processor.

    ONDA V972

    9.7 inches IPS retina like display 2048x1536 pixels, Allwinner A31 quad-core CPU,2 GB RAM, Android 4.1, Dual camera
    Ships out within 3 days$ 220

    ARCHOS 97 Titanium WIFI performance

    This article won’t review the WiFI performance in details. Our first tests and feedback on our forum reported some troubles with the wireless: low sensibility, lots of connections drop and slow transfer speed. We initially made the video below to compare the 97 Titanium WiFI with the Nexus 10.

    Since we shot this video, there has been some improvements with latest ARCHOS firmware, we’ll soon review it in a detailed ARCHOS 97 Titanium HD WiFI test.

    2

    Rockchip RK3188 and Boxchip Allwinner A31 quad-core SoC (system on chip) offer interesting solutions to power mid range tablets offered buy Chinese manufacturers. First RK3188 news were revealed a few weeks ago, but Boxchip managed to first get Allwinner A31 devices on the market with tablets such as the 8″ Onda V812 or 9.7″ Onda V972 .

    Both companies choose different approaches on their latest processor: Boxchip Allwinner A31 is using 40 nm manufacturing process to offer a quad-core ARM Cortex A7 running at 1.2 GHz with Power VR SGX544MP2 GPU while Rockchip RK3188 manufactured using 28 nm HKMG process and has a faster clocked quad-core ARM Cortex A9 running at 1.8 GHz with a Mali400 MP4 (533 MHz) GPU.

    Cube_RK3188_U30GT2_nowrmk

    Cube U30GT2

    Rockchip RK3188 quad-core at 1.8GHz, 2 GB RAM, 10.1 IPS screen 1920x1200 resolution,
    16 GB Storage, dual camera (2 Mp front & 5 Mp rear), Bluetooth, WiFI 802.11 b/g/n
    From $ 280

    The Pipo Max M9 and Cube U30GT2 (aka Cube Pea II) should offer similar features with a quad-core ARM Cortex A9 Rockchip RK3188 processor, running at 1.8GHz with integrated Mali 400 GPU clocked at 533MHz, 2 GB dual channel DDR3 RAM, dual camera (2.0MP front, 5.0MP rear camera with auto-focus and flash) Bluetooth and 802.11 b/g/n WiFI. Both tablets connectivity equipment offer a mini USB Port, 3.5 mm audio jack, micro SD card slot and HDMI port. The main differences between the two tablets are the flash memory storage capacity with 32GB on the Cube vs 16GB on the Pipo tablet and 10.1″ screen resolution where the Cube offers higher 1920*1200 display vs 1280 x 800 on the Pipo. Battery wise, the M9 Max has a 7800mAh capacity, there are no details given on the Cube model at the moment.

    Finally, both models should ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and soon receive update to 4.2, these devices are currently in pre-order at around $230 (Pipo Max M9 on aliexpress.com) and should hit the market in the coming days.

    Pipo Max M9

    Rockchip RK3188 quad-core at 1.8GHz, 2 GB RAM, 10.1 IPS screen 1280x800 resolution,
    16 GB Storage, dual camera (2 Mp front & 5 Mp rear), Bluetooth, WiFI 802.11 b/g/n
    $ 228.99

    Pipo_Max_M9_c_nowrmk

    Sources: Pipo Max M9 product page on Aliexpress.com
    Cube U30GT2 at blog.mcbub.com

    PicUntu Linux package for RK3066 based MiniPC is improve their hardware support by releasing a new kernel together with a bunch of modules. This update brings a lot of new features such as cpufreq governors, serial devices support (FTD-SIO, pl2303, Garmin) UVC Camera support, iptables, NFS client and many other things (see complete changelog below).

    picuntu_rc3_kernel_modules_b

    Downloading PicUntu RC3 kernel and modules

    PicUntu RC3 kernel and modules can be downloaded from PicUntu main server: Kernel-Recovery-3.0.8-alok-RC3 and modules-3.0.8-alok-RC3.1.tgz
    These files are also available on our PicUntu mirror

    Installing PicUntu RC3 kernel and modules

    The new kernel is meant to be installed as a recovery image on your MiniPC, it ships in 3 flavors for different screen resolutions: VGA, 720p and 1080p.

    The modules should go in /lib/modules/ so you’d need to do the following:
    mkdir -p /lib/modules/3.0.8-alok+/kernel
    tar xvfz modules-3.0.8-alok-RC3.tgz -C /lib/modules/3.0.8-alok+/kernel

    PicUntu quick demo video on MK808 MiniPC

    This video demonstrates PicUntu boot from Android (using ArcTools reboot recovery feature), PicUntu startup, web browsing using Mozilla Firefox, MP3 Playing (Rhythmbox program) and webcam support (cheese program)

    Changelog – RC3 Kernel – 3.0.8-alok+

    - Cleaned the previous kernel
    – Removed unwanted TV Tuner cards
    – Bluetooth support retained
    – All cpufreq governors now available – Try userspace, and hav fun.. (Read warning below)
    – Default governor Ondemand
    – Added Serial modules – FTD-SIO, pl2303, Garmin – for serial devices,
    – Added Phone modems – For connecting Data card dongles
    – Added UVC Camera support – Many users have been asking for this
    – Added oprofiler support
    – Added iptables
    – Added NAT/Firewall (inc GRE) support – Now you can make your PicUntu a complete firewall
    – Added USB 1.0 support – remember how your old USB hubs were not being used for bootup, well they _should_ work now.
    – DW_OTG debug report suppressed
    – Added USB SCSI adapter – I have lots of SCSI harddisk lying around, and USB adapter for them, but they seemed not to work earlier.
    – Added Pegasus network support
    – FB set – all options enabled – you should have better control for fb setting.
    – Added auxilary Video – If you have a USB LED,LCD screen lying around – try connecting to PIcUntu, should work. (in addition to HDMI) – required for in-car applications.
    – Modules for USB Printer – now you should be able to connect USB printers to PicUntu
    – Serial Modem drivers – Qualcom, NAVMAN,
    – Added Joliet/UDF support – You should be able to connect USB CDROM
    – NFS Client, NFS Server support for V3 , V4 added
    – Ofcourse CIFS continues
    – Integrated BCM40181, rtl8188eu support – so that you no longer need to separately look for modules for basic wifi
    – Three graphic driver kernels – 1080p, 720, VGA are released.
    – No it does not yet have support for MX1 wifi, RK802III/s – wifi – I am still hunting for the source.

    Don’t hesitate to post on our PicUntu forum if you have any question.

    Source: slatedroid.com forum

    Allwinner A31 based tablets (such as the Onda V812 or V972) currently offer great processing power and value for the price. These devices are still young products which receive frequent firmware updates, that are usually delivered thru incremental OTA (Other The Air) packages, downloaded thru WiFI on the “Update” application. Another update path that is specially useful for a Factory reset and full firmware image flash using Allwinner PhoenixSuit custom Windows application. This tutorial will explain the different steps to successfully flash a tablet based on Allwinner A31 processor.

    phoenixsuit_ALlwinnerA31_b

    Step 1. Download and install PhoenixSuit

    PhoenixSuit Windows program is usually included with your tablet’s firmware archive.
    For convenience, we are including a copy for download here:

    PhoenixSuit download

    PhoenixSuitPacket_v1.0.6.zip

    Older versions for archive: PhoenixSuitPacket_v1.0.5.zip

    Install PhoenixSuit by running the installer program PhoenixSuitPacket_v1.0.5.msi (the file name may vary depending on the program version) on your computer. The installer is in Chinese, but it’s quite straightforward pushing next button (situated on the right side) until the installation completes. Have a look on our video below to see the installation process in details.
    PhoenixSuit_install_b

    Step 2. Download firmware image for your tablet and load it in PhoenixSuit

    You need to download the firmware for your device. Manufacturers usually provide firmwares on their website. We also hold copies to latest firmwares on our forum. See at the end of this article for references.

    Once PhoenixSuit is installed, you can load your tablet firmware. Click on the Firmware button then Image button and locate the .img file on your hard drive corresponding to the firmware you wish to flash.
    PhoenixSuit_load_firmware

    Step 3. Put the tablet in flash mode

    This step may appear a bit tricky as it requires playing with the hardware button on the tablet. Allwinner describes the procedure in the screen below:
    phoenixsuit_ALlwinnerA31_b

    Basically you need to do the following:

  • Disconnect the microUSB cable from your tablet

  • Shutdown the tablet, either from Android shutdown menu, or by pressing the Power button for about 10 seconds. The tablet screen should be black when the tablet is off.

  • Press the Home button on the tablet, plug in the micro USB cable on the tablet, while keeping the home button pressed.

  • Onda_V972_flashing2_b
  • While keeping the Home button pressed, make short presses (about half a second duration each) on the Power button for about 10 times or until you see the dialog below on the Windows machine.

  • Onda_V972_flashing3_b

    Once the tablet has entered in flash mode, you should see the dialog below.
    PhoenixSuit_mandatory_format_b

    Please click Yes button to allow Format mode.

    ONDA V972

    9.7 inches IPS retina like display 2048x1536 pixels, Allwinner A31 quad-core CPU,2 GB RAM, Android 4.1, Dual camera
    Ships out within 3 days$ 220

    Step 4. Flashing the tablet

    PhoenixSuit_format

    PhoenixSuit_updating

    Step 5. Restart the tablet

    Your tablet may start configured in Chinese, please check our video (at position ) on how to set it in English.

    The video below goes thru all the steps of this flashing tutorial.

    Onda V812 stock and root firmware

    Onda V972 stock and root firmware

    Allwinner A31 CPU based devices such as the Onda V812 or V972 tablets current offer great performance and features for the price. While Onda released their initial firmware with root access, all the subsequent firmware releases would make you loose the root. There is always the option to use OTA RootKeeper free application by supercurio on Google Play Store, but it’s not the most convenient solution, as it requires downgrade to a rooted firmware, then upgrade again if your current does not offer root. There are better options as you will see below…

    Onda_V972_rooted_b

    Few days ago a zip package was released to deploy root on the Onda tablets. Thesito and Tonigo70 members from htcmania.com Spanish forum improved the solution a bit, adding Nova launcher, some cleaning of the default Chinese apps and modifying the boot logo. As we prefer to have a simple and clean package, we modified it so it just offers root with latest SuperSU (currently 1.04) and the Chinese apps removal. This procedure is very easy to follow and just takes a few minutes to execute. It was tested to work on the Onda V812 and V972 models, but should work on other Allwinner A31 CPU based tablets as well.

    ONDA V972

    9.7 inches IPS retina like display 2048x1536 pixels, Allwinner A31 quad-core CPU,2 GB RAM, Android 4.1, Dual camera
    Ships out within 3 days$ 220

    Root procedure details

    Step 1. Download the root package Onda_Allwinner_A31_root_v1_0.zip

    Step 2. Plug in your USB cable to your tablet and computer
    If you are using USB mass storage, Turn on USB storage when you see the message on the tablet, so it can be mounted on the computer
    Turn_on_USB_Storage

    Step 3. Copy Onda_Allwinner_A31_root_v1_0.zip to the root of your tablet
    After the new disk drive has appeared on your computer, copy the package Onda_Allwinner_A31_root_v1_0.zip at the root directory of the tablet drive.
    When the copy is finished, if you are using USB mass storage, “Turn off USB storage” on the tablet.

    Step 4. Run Update application on the tablet
    Update_app_icon

    Select local update
    Update_app_main

    Choose file Onda_Allwinner_A31_root_v1_0.zip
    Update_app_choose_file

    Step 5. Let the update run
    After the tablet has installed the update and fully booted, you are rooted !

    ClockworkMod Recovery (CWM) for Onda V972 and V812

    If you are interested in installing CWM on your tablet, please check the details in our forum.

    Thanks to thesito and tonigo70 on htcmania.com

    We have received a few queries asking for details on the Arnova SoundPad that was discovered a few days ago. We had a closer look at our favorite Chinese sellers websites and found with the MA-107 what seems to be the SoundPad twin brother :)
    This is the occasion to get some more information about the device specs, see below.

    MA107_box_S-WMC-1625R_8_nowrmk

    2013/02/05 update:The Arnova SoundPad has been added to their website. Apart from a few extra product pictures, nothing really new there, most of the product specs were already known.

    You said Twin brothers ?

    Arnova SoundPadMA-107 SmartBox
    Arnova_SoundPad_b_nowrmkMA107_front_S-WMC-1625R_1_nowrmk
    ARNOVA_SoundPad_back_b_nowrmkMA107_back1_S-WMC-1625R_2_nowrmk

    Specifications

    If the Arnova SoundPad follows the MA 107 specifications, we could expect these features:
    2013/02/05 update: we have refreshed the SoundPad specifications following the product release on Arnova website.

    Operating System Android 4.0 ICS
    CPU Rockchip RK2918 CPU at 1.2GHz 
    Flash Storage Memory 8GB storage NAND Flash
    System Memory 512MB DDR3
    Additional storage SD card supported up to 32GB 
    Display 7.0 inches display (resolution: 1024 x 600) with capacitive 5 points multitouch screen
    Audio 2 speakers (5W) + stereo Microphone
    FM radio is said to be supported we are not sure if this is hardware supported or thru web-radio applications (according to Arnova specs)
    Bluetooth No
    WiFI Yes, supports 802.11 b/g
    Gravity Sensor Yes
    Camera 2.0 Mega Pixels Front Camera
    GPS No
    HDMI Yes (mini HDMI connector)
    Interfaces 3.5mm audio jack
    SDHC Card slot
    Mini USB connector
    DC IN
    Mini HDMI
    RJ45 Ethernet Port 
    Battery 4000mAh  Lithium Battery
    Power Adapter: 100-240V Input, DC 9V/1.5A Output
    Google Play Store support unknown
    Dimensions 284 x 150 x 130 mm
    Weight 1,7kg


    If these specs are confirmed, there is nothing very interesting here at this price, you can easily get a more powerful tablet with a sound dock or external speakers. Selling on Amazon Germany at €149, that is ~ $200, the MA-107 wholesale price is offered at $136.40 (before shipping) and down to $122.11 for purchases in bulk (40 units or more).

    Thanks to Dadoo @ minimachines.net for the tip :)
    MA-107 page on sunsky-online.com

    SOCIAL