Slidepad 704ce - Cook your own ROM

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Slidepad 704ce is based on a Allwinner A13 SingleOnChip. The ROM cooking procedure of Allwinner A10 & A13 devices is done thru 3 main steps :

  1. Extraction of original firmware (under Windows)
  2. Modification of filesystem components (under Linux)
  3. Assembly of final firmware (under Windows)

The filesystem components that may be modified are typically :

  • the bootloader
  • the root filesystem
  • the recovery filesystem
  • the /system filesystem

This article will explain the simple steps needed to cook a new ROM for a Slidepad 704ce. This process needs 2 different computer environments :

  • Windows for ROM extraction and repacking
  • Ubuntu for filesystem modifications (but any other Linux flavour should do).

It has been specifically written for Slidepad 704ce ROM cooking, but it should be applicable to many (if not any) Allwinner A10 or A13 SoC devices.

Read more: Slidepad 704ce - Cook your own ROM

Slidepad 704ce - Modify the Bootloader (boot logo, ...)

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When doing some tweaks on your android device, you may need to change some parameters on the bootloader, for example the first boot logo (the second one is in the root filesystem).

The bootloader filesystem in a vfat filesystem and it is recorded in /dev/block/nanda.

This article will explain all the steps to make permanent changes to your bootloader :

  1. extract bootloader image from Slidepad 704ce
  2. mount it as a vfat filesystem
  3. change the boot logo (for example)
  4. unmount the vfat filesystem
  5. flash back the updated bootloader on the device

It has been specifically designed for Slidepad 704ce, but it should be applicable to many devices powered by A10 or A13 Allwinner SoC.

Read more: Slidepad 704ce - Modify the Bootloader (boot logo,...)

Slidepad 704ce - Modify the Root filesystem (root logo, ...)

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When doing some tweaks on your android device, you may need to change some parameters on the root filesystem. For example you may have to modify /init.rc, /init.sun5i.rc, /initlogo.rle or your root logo /initlogo.rle (the second one displayed in the boot process).

You will then quickly realise that whatever change you will do on these files will be lost after every reboot, even if you do it as root.

This comes from the fact that on android devices the root filesystem is mounted as a initramfs. So it is unpacked and mounted into RAM at every boot. Whatever change you do is done in RAM only.

So to make permanent changes to your root filesystem, you need to modify the files whithin the initrd.img file used during the boot process.

This guide will explain how to extract Root image from Slidepad 704ce

  1. unpack it & extract initrd files
  2. change the boot logo
  3. repack the modified initrd files
  4. flash back the root image on the device

It has been specifically designed for Slidepad 704ce, but it should be applicable to any device powered by A10 or A13 Allwinner SoC.

Read more: Slidepad 704ce - Modify the Root filesystem (root logo,...)

Slidepad 704ce - CWM Recovery and Fastboot mode

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If you are having a Slidepad 704ce tablet running a rooted ICS 4.0.4 or a rooted JB 4.1.1, next step is to install ClockWorkMod Recovery.

It will allow you to do complete system backup & restore, to flash an alternative firmware, to format the Nand partitions, ...

Another interesting tweak with this tablet is to access FastBoot, which is not available straight from boot.

This article explains how to access the hidden FastBoot menu and how to install a specific port of CWM compatible with our A13 tablet.

This procedure has been done to be run on a Ubuntu workstation, but it should be easily adapted to any other Linux flavour, and even to a Windows PC.
As a pre-requisite, you need to Install Android tools on your Ubuntu box.

Read more: Slidepad 704ce - CWM Recovery and Fastboot mode

Slidepad 704ce - ICS 4.0 : Root, Tweaks and Google Play

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Memup Slidepad 704ce is a very affordable Android 7' tablet with a Allwinner A13 SoC (Cortex A8 processor), 4 Gb flash memory, 512 Mb RAM, a microSD connector and a fully working micro USB OTG port.

If you have the chance to follow one of the excellent CiLevel executive training course, this is the tablet you will get as a T-Book.

This tablet is shipped in 2 versions : Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4 and Jelly Bean 4.1.1.

Mine was ICS 4.0.4. Its main drawback were that  it is not pre-rooted & it doesn't include Google Play Store (only the lousy Getjar).
The version under Jelly Bean 4.1.1 comes with Google Apps pre-installed.

So, this article explains all the steps needed to root a Slidepad 704ce under ICS 4.0.4  and to install the complete Google Apps framework. After these steps, your will get a very nice little tablet with all the possibilities of Google Play Store (Gmail, Maps, ...). If your Slidepa 704ce is running JB 4.1.1 or if you want to upgrade it to JB 4.1.1, another guide is available at Slidepad 704ce - Jelly Bean 4.1.1 : Root your tablet.

Memup Slidepad 704ce seems to be the same hardware as Cybo MID7032. So, this procedure should be applicable to MID7032 (and to many other tablets embedding an A13 SoC).  If you get any success with other models, just let me know, so that I can add it in this article.

This procedure has been done to be run on a Ubuntu workstation, but it should be easily adapted to any other Linux flavour, and even to a Windows PC. As a pre-requisite, you need to Install Android tools on your Ubuntu box.

Read more: Slidepad 704ce - ICS 4.0 : Root, Tweaks and Google Play

Nexus 7 - Connect to internet using a CDMA or 3G USB key

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Google Nexus 7 is the real today's travellers tablet, as it's size is perfect to carry it everywhere. But it only offers Wifi connectivity, which can be too limited when you are on the move.

As Google Nexus 7 is providing a fully featured OTG USB port, it can be used to connect a CDMA or 3G key to the tablet. You just need an OTG cable (easily available nowadays) to connect your Mobile Data USB key.

With the help of a fantastic widget called PPP Widget, available from Play Store, you can then create a PPP connexion thru your connected USB key.

This PPP connexion will open a fully working internet connexion.

This guide explains how to configure your Google Nexus 7 tablet to be able to connect it to internet thru a CDMA or 3G USB key.

It has been tested on Jelly Beans 4.1.2 with two different Data Keys :

  • CDMA - Tata Photon Plus (EC156 model)
  • 3G - Huawei Mobile Connect E180
Read more: Nexus 7 - Connect to internet using a CDMA or 3G USB key

Nexus 7 - Root your tablet with Ubuntu Linux

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If you want to root your Google Nexus 7, a lot of stuff is available on the net from different sites and forums.

nexus7-front-panel

But most of the guides you get are using some tools running under Windows.

Obviously, you can do the same from an Ubuntu workstation, but all the steps are not trivial.

So, this article will explain all the steps needed to :
 * have your Nexus 7 tablet properly recognised by udev
 * OEM unlock it
 * install TWRP touch recovery
 * root it
 * protect your recovery image from removal

 

The complete procedure has been tested with a Google Nexus 7 running ICS 4.0.3, Jelly Bean 4.1.1, 4.2 and 4.2.1 from a Ubuntu Precise LTS 12.04 computer.

As a pre-requisite, you need to Install latest Android tools on your Ubuntu box.

Read more: Nexus 7 - Root your tablet with Ubuntu Linux

Nexus S - Phone painfully slow after ICS or JB OTA update

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If you have bought your Nexus S smartphone outside of any operator pack, you are getting regular Other The Air updates straight from Google.

For example, when I bought mine 9 months back, it was running Gingerbread 2.3.6. Then I got OTA updates for :

Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4 : After that update, my phone was showing some strange behaviour mostly on the desktop screen.
Sometimes some parts of the screen where not refreshed, some fonts where becoming bold, ...

Jelly Bean 4.1.1 : After that update, my phone became extremely slow.
For example, I was sometimes left 5 seconds on a white screen while entering the SMS application.
Same type of behaviour entering Gmail, ...

These problems come most of the time from the phone's system caches that might have been corrupted by the OTA update.

The clue is to purge these cache. After this operation, you will rediscover your Nexus S in full speed. Jelly Bean will be blazing fast.

This operations needs your phone to be rooted. If your phone is already rooted you won't loose any data, it's totally transparent.
But if your phone is not rooted, you'll need to root it first and it will wipe all your data.

Read more: Nexus S - Phone painfully slow after ICS or JB OTA update

Nexus S - Get rid of Recovery boot failure

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This tutorial supposes that you have already rooted your Nexus S phone.

As rooting process involves flashing a new recovery, you will realize that after you've rebooted your system at least once under ICS, your favorite recovery is not accessible anymore thru fastboot menu.

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Instead of your favorite recovery, you will get a nice picture of Android on the back with an exclamation mark in a red triangle.

At this stage, your phone is stuck, you can only reboot it by removing the battery or wait for a very long time till it reboots by itself !

In fact, at every boot, your android system replaces your TWRP recovery with that ... dead end.

This article explains how to get rid of that real bad behaviour and to be able to enter your favorite TWRP recovery anytime you need it, without reflashing it.

This procedure has been tested on a Nexus S running Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4 and Jelly Bean 4.1.

The OTA update from ICS to JB rewrite the faulty file !
So, after a Jelly Bean OTA update, you need to re-root your Nexus S and to apply this procedure once again.

Read more: Nexus S - Get rid of Recovery boot failure

Nexus S - Root your phone with Ubuntu Linux

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If you want to root your Google Nexus S, a lot of stuff is available on the net from different sites and forums.

nexus-s-front

But most of the stuff you get on the net is oriented toward using Windows tools.

Obviously you can handle all the needed steps from an Ubuntu workstation.

But all different steps are not trivial to setup and follow.

This article will explain all the steps needed to :
 * have your phone properly recognised by udev
 * OEM unlock it
 * install TWRP touch recovery
 * root it

The complete procedure has been tested on a Google Nexus S with Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4 and Jelly Bean 4.1.1 from a Ubuntu Precise 12.04 computer.

As a pre-requisite, you need to Install Android Tools on your Ubuntu box.

Read more: Nexus S - Root your phone with Ubuntu Linux

HTC Wildfire - Flash your phone from HTC Sense to CyanogenMod AOSP

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This guide explains how to convert your HTC Wildfire mobile phone running Android with HTC Sense to a brand new Gingerbread Android Open Source Project smartphone.

HTC Wildfire

But, you may ask : Why to do so ?

Some of the answers may be :

 * to get rid of the Sense user interface
 * to upgrade the phone to the latest Android 2.3.4 branch (Gingerbread)
 * to get a very fast & responsive phone
 * to feel like a real geek :-)
 * to have fun ...

 

All the following steps will be done with a Ubuntu workstation.You won't need any proprietary operating system at any stage.

I will use an Android ROM called CyanogenMod 7.1 from the Cyanogen project.

This ROM is straight from the AOSP project and has been tested to be very stable and very responsive on the HTC Wildfire.

Read more: HTC Wildfire - Flash your phone from HTC Sense to CyanogenMod AOSP

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