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doc:appunti:hardware:arnova_7h_g3

Arnova 7h G3

The Arnova 7h G3 is a low-end Android tablet, at the end of 2013 it is priced about 57 euros.

  • Android 4.0.3
  • Two internal storages: 1 Gb + 2 Gb
  • RAM: 354 Mb
Pros
  • Price
  • Device is rooted out of the box
  • Google Play is present
Cons
  • Poor display quality
  • Performances
  • Not all the Google applications are installable. With some tricks you can install People (Contacts), Maps, etc.
  • Only front camera
  • Poor audio
  • No vibration

Installing applications

The first releases of Arnova tablet did not include Google Play (the Android market), they have AppsLib instead, which have about the same functionalities: browse available apps (selected by Arnova), install, update, purchase, etc. This model instead has Google Play out of the box, with AppsLib too: this is a little confusing, but definitely good.

Installing Whatsapp

One of the first goal for this tablet was to install Whatsapp, I supposed to be an easy thask, bu I was wrong! First of all Whatsapp is supposed to be not installable into a WiFi-only tablet. I think that a SIM is a prerequisite, so searching for Whatsapp into Google Play simply fails.

Neverthless it is possibile to download the package WhatsApp.apk using the browser and install it just clicking on it from the file manager. To activate the app you need a mobile phone number, capable of receiving SMS messages: start the program and input the phone number, you will receive an SMS with a confirmation code, wait the 5 min timeout on the tablet and enter the code. Now you are registered with WhatsApp.

Several users report that is not possibile to use the same WhatsApp account (telephone number) on two different devices, they say that when you use a device the other gets disconnected from the service and you have to re-register via an SMS confirmation code.

FIXME When the tablet switch to stand-by (screen goes off), WhatsApp does not receive messages! It is not clear if this behaviour is configurable.

Installing Google apps: People (contacts manager), Maps, etc.

Now the problem is the address book! The Arnova is missing People (the default contacts manager by Google)! In fact the Arnova is missing several Android apps which we are used to have: People, Maps, GMail, Calendar, etc. If you think that you can just browse the Google Play and install them, you are wrong, that apps are just not there.

I find a quite confusing way to install that apps. My goal is to install as little packages as possible and to have some degree of control on what I am doing. I had to install the ArcTools app, a special tool for installing Google Play (formerly Android Market) and Google Applications (Youtube, Maps, …) on Archos or Arnova tablets.

Some hacking knowledge is required, here are the steps.

  1. Install some file manager with remote transfer capabilities. I choosed ES File Explorer which has an integrated FTP server.
  2. Install the ArcTools app, it does not exists on the Google Play, you can install it from the AppsLib application (but you are required to register and pay a little fee), or you can download it from the www.arctablet.com blog (where you need to register, but payment is not mandatory). I downloaded the com.arctablet.arctools.apk file using the PC, then transferred it to the tablet and installed from the file manager.
  3. Run the ArcTools apps, from the Installer Apps menu select the Arnova 7 G3 Google Play Store and Apps Install package and download it, but do not install it (do not click the Install apps button). This is because the package contains apps that you may not want and definitely contains some that are already installed in my tablet (eg. the Google Play). NOTE: if the www.arctablet.com site is down, you cannot run the ArcTools program and download packages. Here it is a copy of the archive gapps-arnova7g3-install.zip.
  4. Copy from the tablet to a PC the /sdcard/arctools01.zip archive (this is the boundle downloaded by ArcTools).
  5. Extract from the zip the files you need. You find a gapps-arnova7g3.tar archive into the zip, I picked Contacts.apk and GoogleMaps.apk files from /system/app/ directory.
  6. Copy the apk files back to the tablet and istall them using the file manager.

FIXME Extracting, copying and installing the apk I was not able to start the Street view application. May be some other files are required to be copied into the /system/framework or /system/etc/permission directories, see the arctools-run-script-1.sh script contained into the zip archive. By the way, Street does not run also if installed directly from the Google Play.

Rooted out of the box

The device is rooted out of the box: just install a terminal emulator like this one and execute su into the shell. Also busybox is already installed.

How to remount the /system directory with read/write permission:

mount -o remount,rw /system

To copy some files you need to invoke busybox instead of cp:

/system/bin/busybox cp /sdcard/Download/com.google.android.maps.xml /system/etc/permissions
doc/appunti/hardware/arnova_7h_g3.txt · Last modified: 2013/12/26 15:56 by niccolo