Saturday, 5 November 2011

Ainol Novo 8 Advanced Custom Rom

Update March 2021:

Fixed the download links at the bottom of the page. All versions can also be found here: Ainol Novo 8 Firmware links

Comments locked as this release has been superseded, head to Ainol Novo 8 News to see the latest version.



Original post content:

Well as a first proper post goes this is not a bad way to start.

Ainol Novo 8 in black

About:

I bought one of these great tablets off ebay a few months back from a UK company called Gadgetfreakz, actually it's my second the first was a semi dead unit I bought 2nd hand from someone else and it refuses to be fully fixed . . . for now.

Aside from some minor issues such as screen viewing angles and a bit of back light bleed these things are a cracking buy for the money with a high res 1280x768 Screen, pretty good GPU that can play some Tegra games, HDMI out and USB input among other things.

However the firmware on them left a lot to be desired and is in Chinese by default, thankfully the latter was easy to deal with to an extent, the former not so easy. Recently a 2.3.4 beta Rom appeared on the Chinese speaking boards and was a major improvement over the 2.2 releases however as always they were in Chinese as a first language and contained stuff that was no use to us English speaking types. So I decided it was time to apply a bit of magic and make my own Rom. Download link at the bottom of the post.

This has also been posted up on MP4Nation (I am 'thedaybeforetomorrow' over here), Tablet Republic and XDA Developers (I am 'Oberth' over there)

Screenshot of Ainol Novo 8 firmware

Changelog:

8/11/2011: Tidied and formatted readme.txt.
6/11/2011: Minor update to correct bug in build.prop preventing Chainfire and Tegra games from working.
5/11/2011: 1st Release.

Installation:

Flashing this is a breeze, simply copy the contents of the zip to your SD Card, insert into your Novo 8 and boot into Recovery with Power & Vol+.
Once booted perform the 3 wipes and then install the update and reboot. That's it, no need to install the AC3/DTS license or add Google apps.
If you spot the error about the factory_*blahblahblah*.aml file missing when booting into recovery mode just ignore it. I dumped the automated stuff as it bricked my unit the first time round when flashing the stock beta and I had to do a recovery with the original firmware release. All the automated bit really does is perform the 3 wipes and perform the install so why risk it when it takes only a few seconds to do.
When first booting the homescreen will go black/blank for about a minute. Don't panic this is quite normal it's just everything unpacking and setting up. Set up your wifi, add your Google account and off you go.

Features:

  • AC3/DTS Hardware Decoder works.
  • Fast and Smooth 160dpi rom with build.prop tweaks to improve battery life and speed things up.
  • 3G Modem support is present and has been confirmed working with these dongles . . .
    Huawei E160 3G USB Dongle (ompudsman @ MP4Nations)
    Huawei E1750 3G USB Dongle with Virgin UK sim. (GFZ @ XDA)
  • Full English Rom set to UK region, no hidden Chinese menus to pop out at you. All Chinese only apps removed or replaced with english versions.
  • Latest Market 3.3.11 with heavily modified build.prop to show as many apps as possible. This does actually show and install a far wider range of apps than before.
  • Uses the free version of LauncherPro because it does seem the best for this Tablet, the Chinese firmwares seemed to have hard coded Chinese in the LauncherProPlus.apk The market will allow you to purchase the Plus Unlocker if you want those features.
  • Preloaded with Google Browser, Gmail, Maps, Streetview, YouTube, Google Music, Latitude, Google Search, Calendar and Car Home.
  • Google accounts will sync Contacts, Mail and Calendars correctly.
  • YouTube plays HQ videos just fine without stutter or lag. (Assuming you have a good wifi signal)
  • The stock video player plays most MPG, MP4, MKV files with AAC, MP3, AC3 audio. Plays 1080p quite happily as well if the storage device can keep up.
  • If you need wider format support but still with hardware decoding where possible get MX Video Player and the ARMv7 Codecs from the market.
  • Most of the Games and Apps I have tried while testing work fine. Get Chainfire3D and buy the Pro key to enjoy some of the nice Tegra Games. Check my blog for compatibility of Tegra games.
  • Wifi seems better under the new firmware.

Bugs:

Most of these have been documented as an issue with the base firmware

  • Tablet likes to wake itself up now and then for no real reason. (Possible data connections causing it to wake)
  • Sometimes the Power button does not work so you can't turn off the screen or power off. Install Quick Reboot off the market or hit the reset button.
  • If the Screen is off and the Power button is not behaving another key will turn it on.
  • Sometimes the Power Off dialog appears for no reason. Oddly not when in full screen games so far as I've noticed.
  • Your Novo may disappear off the Market site for a while or completely. Mine went and then came back about a day later, this is down to the modified build.prop. You can still download apps directly through the Market app on the Novo regardless.
  • Some of the best apps are still not available in the market, Dolphin Browser HD, Facebook and Friendcaster to name a few. This is down to Google Market and not much seems to beat this last hurdle.
  • Possible others (Let me know by posting on my blog or threads)

Disclaimer:

As with any custom firmware there is a risk of things going wrong so if it bricks your unit try a recovery image from Ainol and start again, if you are of a nervous disposition or the type of person who sues for a hobby please do not attempt to install this. The rom works fine on my unit and others have tried without issue, however mileage does seem to vary with this tablet.

Links to the firmware:

Novo 8 2.3.4a Firmware UK Edition

14 comments:

  1. Hi! Thanx in advanced for the work you have put in on this. Seams wondersful to have a english based rom working now!!

    Qs:Can you make a small tour video?
    What's your battery version and does it last longer now?
    The power up button issues have hapened to you with rom version?

    My Ainol 8gb is on his way from China and first thing to do after battery charge will be to change his rom...

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi thanks for the feedback, I might take a go at making a video never done one before. Anything suggestions for what you would want to see? I would imagine a quick demo of some games and playing back various video footage would be the main things.

    My unit is the later black one so I have the better batteries and the power button issue is purely down to a bug in the rom as it was fine on the 2.2 ones.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, thanks for your excellent work. Another feedback, i noticed that i can no longer change the diaplay (i.e. normal/medium). The previous Rom was ok. I need it to make the fonts/icons, etc to be bigger. Any feedback is very much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi,

    Thank you for the great effort.

    I tried installing your rom on my novo8. But, system was not able to detect the update.zip file. I am not getting any problem installing 0719 or 0826 roms, but i am not being able to install your rom. Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi folks,

    Sorry not been able to get back quickly Real Life™ matters needed attention.

    Jon: Regarding the screen resize, I know it was present on the previous roms but it's not present in this current rom. I shall have to add it to my notes for things to fix and add. I have got something in the pipeline that may resolve a lot of the bugs that have been fed back.

    cool_laks: When you download the file you should get 3 files and the readme, one will be named update_signed.zip try naming it to just update.zip and see how that goes. If you have copied both the uimage files and the zip to your SD and there are no other recovery files you should get the new recovery menu which allows you to pick which file to install rather than just force you to call everything update.zip

    I have not had any other installation errors reported. Let me know if you still have any further problems and I shall try and help.

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  6. Huawei E173u-2 3G USB Dongle working. Well done! Waiting for the next version :)

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  7. Hi..I finally managed to install the firmware. It quite fast as compared to 2.2 OS. When can we expect your next full proof version....:) Thank you for your effort.

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  8. The best rom for novo 8. thanks man.

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  9. Hello, I have a Spanish-language version 2.3.4 novo 8 but this without root.

    Is there a way to root?

    Thank you.

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  10. New release today lots of new things including Multi Language so Fran you can give this a try and have a Rooted Spanish Novo 8 :)

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  11. Hey guy good job with this rom, but i think you should try to make a USB Bluetooth dongle works in your rom ok

    Thanks
    Jean

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  12. Hi
    Its super ROM but the power button is not super.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi,

    First of all, thank you very much for your work.

    I've a problem and you probably can help me. The stock video player, plays really nice the movies and with subtitle, the problem is that with Portuguese special characters, p.e., á or ç, the subtitles show a Chinese character. Do you know how we can fix this?

    Looking forward for your next release.

    Best regards.

    xicobandito

    ReplyDelete
  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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