Arnova 9 G3 ICS custom firmware with Google Play, root and Face Unlock


Arnova 9 G3 is an Android 4.0 ICS tablet featuring a great 9.7″ multipoint IPS screen, Rockchip RK2918 CPU and 1 Gb of RAM. The lack of Google Play (formerly Android Market) support is one the biggest inconvenience on the device, we are happy to bring you a solution.
Thanks to retsil member on our forum, for making a dump of this device’s firmware. We have modified this firmware to add Google Play/Android Market, Google Face Unlock support, full root and write access to /system.

Arnova 9 G3 custom firmware features

  • Clean installation of latest Google Play Store 3.5.15, no more missing apps (Twitter, Facebook…)
  • Full root support with writable /system partition
  • Root access is controled thru SuperSU.apk v0.89 (free version), a cool upgrade to SuperUser.apk by XDA developer Chainfire
  • Added Face Unlock feature from XDA dev

  • Face unlock works reasonnably well considering the relatively low camera resolution (0.3 Mpix)

    Quick demo of the Face Unlock feature on an Arnova 9 G2 running a custom ICS firmware.

    Install procedure

    Before starting, please make sure you backup all your existing apps, data and files that are on your tablet as they will be erased during the flash process. Also make sure your device is connected to the power.

    Step 1. Download

    Kasty custom firmware download (version 0.4)

    This firmware is specific to the Arnova 9 G3 and should not be installed on other devices.




    Download the file above and extract the custom firmware image (update.img) on your computer hard drive.

    Step 2. Install and run Rockchip Flashing tool

    Please follow the Rockchip Flashing tool procedure: that will explain how to download Rockchip flashing tool, unpack the archive, put your device into flashing mode and flash the custom firmware file that you have unpacked in Step 1.

    Step 3. Arnova 9 G3 flashing and restart

    After Rockchip flasher has transferred the custom firmware to the tablet, the device will restart and install the firmware. Finally you will be back to Arnova default startup wizard.

    You will find the 3 easy steps of the installation procedure in the following video, see how to get Google Play and root to your Arnova 9 G3 in less than 10 minutes.

    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.

    Let us know how it works for you in our Arnova 9 G3 forum.

    Great thanks to retsil member on our forum for his help with the firmware dump and tests.


    1. Impressive work on this, I researched the Arnova 9 G3, and its a pretty weak tablet compared to whats out there, but whats available to me as a truck driver was limited.
      Upon further research, I saw that there was no google play, so doing some searching, I came across this article which eased my nerve about buying it because I’m somewhat of an Android (well Linux but same thing) power user.
      Now I have access to the Google play I use on my Android Phone so I don’t need to re-buy apps again thankfully.
      But what I like about this particular tablet is the available USB port that I might be able to manipulate to do things other than mass storage. And even with that, maybe get a USB powered external harddrive (so much for portability but 4GB internal with 512mb taken for OS alone is ridiculous)
      I don’t like the touch screen though, I cannot lay the tablet completely flat and use it that way, I returned one already and this is the second and if you lay it flat, seems that it touches way more than it needs to. For example, opening up calculator, lay it flat, then press the 789 row, and it spazes out by pressing everything along that line of buttons on the screen. Is this a hardware issue common in the Arnova G3 series of tablets? Or tablets in general?
      This is my first “Tablet”, I’ve been playing with android smartphones since the beginning days and never ran into such touchscreen issues.

    2. Help!!! I’ve done all the above.. was working fine. Done all the steps etc… then when Rockchip checks the download, I’m getting the following:

      ( Download Firmware Fail) in red type.

      The no “1” box is also red.

      Tablet is as dead as a DoDo.

      Any Suggestions???

    3. i am trying to put google play onto my daughters arnova 9 g3 tablet. I am very uneducated when it comes to computer so could do with some help. I have plugged the tablet into my computer and do I download the fireware thing onto my computer or sdo it from the tablet??? also what do i do next?

      • You’ll need to turn the tablet into “Recovery mode” which is some combination of the reset button, volume keys, and home/power button.

        You need to do this combination while the tablet is connected to the PC so you know when it enters recovery mode (it’ll prompt for new drivers)

        View the Rockchip tool guide (which has picture step by steps) for the steps beyond this point.

    4. How ‘safe’ is this upgrade? I’m quite happy to install/uninstall/tweak programs on my PC, but most of what I’ve read on this Forum (this topic included) seems to suggest poking the Arnova OS with sharp sticks — something I’m a little leery about. I have neither the knowledge nor time to play about ‘unbricking’ a tablet if it all goes wrong.

      The instructions above say <>… but HOW do you backup? There’s no Backup app that I’ve found, and my PC backup routines won’t accept the Arnova as a backupable drive.

      I’m willing to be a ‘mini-geek’, but ‘total geekdom’ is a step beyond me.

    5. As above having trouble entering this recovery mode. A bit of further instruction would be appreciated; clarifying in which order to press the reset button and home keys, and for how long.

      So far no matter what I try the tablet just boots as normal when I release the reset button, whether I hold it for three seconds or thirty.

              • It worked!
                The reason it wasnt workign before is my Lenovo desktop has unreliable front USB sockets. I tried the whole thing on an HP laptop and it worked. Thanks guys it has made my tablet so much more usable. Why dont Archos provide their tablets with proper access to Android ?


              • Not a developer, just a user but I share in everyone’s frustration. Here’s what I did…

                First, put the unit into USB Debugging mode. Without it, I couldn’t get anywhere. Go to settings -> Developer Settings and turn on USB Debug. Second, make sure you have a good USB cable that fits snug. After that, connect the unit to your PC. The driver popup should try to install the RockChip USB driver. Even if windows (I’m still on XP 32-bit) claims it failed… still click OK and check the “don’t prompt me to install again” box. I went through two days of frustration thinking the driver did not install because windows complained. Once I said screw it and just clicked OK, I finally got a pop up saying that my driver installed!!

                At that point I started up the RockChip Batch tool and loaded the firmware and then went through the key combinations. I decided to try something different since the posted method didn’t work. I held down reset, pushed in the Home button, held them for 10 seconds and then released the reset, then a half a second later released the Home button. Once I did I saw the RockChip Batch tool light the first green light which told me it was in recovery even though the screen was black. At that point it was just click upgrade and watch.

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