Novo 8 Firmware Readme

This is the full Readme for the current firmware release, as new releases or patches occur this will be updated.

Ainol Novo 8 Advanced 2.3.4 Rooted English Rom
Version : 4.0 (09/04/12)
Author : Nebular Nerd (aka Oberth & thedaybeforetomorrow)

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The Ainol Novo 8 tablet is for it's price a great value device that can give the big brand devices a run for their money, however being aimed at the domestic market in China they were never Google certified and were setup for use in their own country. After owning one for a month or so I got bored having to try and remove/replace all the apps, finding Chinese bits jumping out at me, and mostly being denied access to the Market so I started working on this firmware to give myself a full blown firmware in English and with all they stuff I wanted installed ready to go. Once I was up and running I decided to release it to the public thinking it might get the odd download here and there but it has become quite popular with a few thousand downloads and a constant viewing public coming to the site.

This firmware is based on the work of cheeyee @ Chinadigital and tomx2h @ imp3 without these two making some fairly amazing improvements to the original firmwares a lot of the features in this release would not be present. Included are all the important Google apps, Facebook and DolphinHD. Some apps present in the cheeyee or tomx2h releases have been taken as they were not behaving as they should or are now freely available on the market.

Enjoy the firmware :)

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As with any custom firmware there is a risk of things going wrong, if your unit bricks try the recovery images 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 install this. The firmware works fine on my unit (and was flashed about a dozen times per release while debugging) others have tried without issue but as with all custom firmwares your mileage may vary.

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Change Log/What's New:

29/04/2012 Version 4.1

Newer base firmware based on cheeyee patch9 release.
Jitter fix now part of the kernel.
Multi Langauge support (thanks to cheeyee)
New build.prop mods allows installation of Tegra Games (see guide)
New guide on website for getting the best out of the Tegra support.
Wiimote contoller support. (not tested as I don't have a Wiimote)
Titanium Backup added (Thanks MrRimmer for suggesting it)
Play Store must not be updated, auto updater removed to prevent this. Any updates will remove the modded version.
Lot's of little extra's here and there.
Latest Facebook, Dolphin, Google Maps, Google+ (Google Maps need a data connection to work)
Different status bar icons.
Trackball work in both portrait and landscape correctly, it did on 4.0 but overlooked it.
Manual Headphone volume tweaks, use USB Device Manager app to adjust to your own tastes.

07/04/2012 Version 4.0

Newer base firmware based on cheeyee and tomx2h releases.

English only release, Multi Language may follow.

Google Maps will Force Close if you have no active Wifi or Data connection, this is the way the app works and not a bug.

Flash and Skype removed as they only semi worked. You can installed these from the market. Latest Flash works fine so ignore previous warnings about updating.
Modified Google Play Store gives the best results yet. Still not perfect but improves on last firmware.
Play Store must not be updated, auto updater removed to prevent this. Any updates will remove the modded version.
build.prop altered with HTC Flyer data (closest match to our tablet) again results have improved in the Market.
All included Google Apps, Facebook and Dolphin are latest versions as of compliling the Firmware
Root explorer removed because it would still give Chinese menus, ES File Manager is just as good when given root access rights.
New Statusbar icons for Home, Menu, Up, Down and Back (See screenshots)
The wallpaper app that was in Chinese I have translated to English, look for 'ICS Wallpapers'
Separate Latitude.apk (now comes with Maps) and Car Home (Too small for our screens)
For UK users BBC iPlayer and the latest Flash seem to play Medium quality streams without any problems, High quality is broken in iPlayer by the looks of it as setting it makes no difference over Medium. No mucking around with the DPI is required either.

01/01/2012 Version 3.1
Patch only release to fix Contacts and Calendar issues.

25/12/2011 Version 3.0
English only release, Multi Language to follow.
Power issues no longer present.
Do not update Adobe Flash to later versions.
Base Firmware with lots of mods including AdHoc support.
2GB Userspace patch, USB Bluetooth GPS & Joypad support thanks to cheeyee @ Chinadigital.
Added Dolphin Desktop Toggle, Google Currents and Google Earth
Dolphin Browser 7.2.0, FaceBook 1.8.1, Skype
Google Maps 6.0.2, Streetview, Market 3.4.4, Google+
Skype should now work
Even better market results.

19/11/2011: Version 2.0
Multi Language support, Google apps and firmware seem ok, other apps are dev dependant.
Default Wallpaper. Thanks to EgFox @ DeviantArt
Google Books, Google+ Added to rom
Facebook, Skype and Dolphin Browser HD added
FlashPlayer 10.3 apk added to zip for installation latest 11.x causes serious performance issues with any flash media.
LCD Resolution added, handy for making things bigger in the absence of the normal Small,Med,Large settings. Also semi fixes BBC iPlayer performance issue. Use it to set dpi at 200 and iPlayer is watchable.
Calendar now works, no longer force closes.
Headphone volume output level no longer deafens you.
Better readme.txt layout.
Latest YouTube and Google Music.

8/11/2011: Version 1.2
Tidied and formatted readme.txt.

6/11/2011: Version 1.1
Minor update to correct bug in build.prop preventing Chainfire and Tegra
games from working.

5/11/2011: Version 1.0
1st Release.

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Flashing this is a nice and easy, simply copy all the contents of the downloaded zip (do not unpack to your SD Card. Power off your Novo 8 and insert the SD Care and boot into Recovery by pressing Power & Vol+ until the screen appears. Once you are into the Recovery screen perform the 3 wipes install the and reboot.

If you spot the error about the factory_update_param.aml file missing when booting into recovery mode just ignore it.

This take a couple of minutes to boot the first time as it has quite a bit of work to do so sit tight and wait.

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Fast and Smooth 160dpi rom with build.prop tweaks to improve various things.

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. (Baidu Input is one exception to this for any Chinese users)

Full access to the majority of apps on Google Play Store, Tegra games will not show. (see Bugs)

AC3/DTS Hardware Decoder works.

Stock video player will play pretty much anything I throw at it including but not limited to XVID,MPG,AVI,MP4,H264,AC3,DTS,MP3,MKV. 1080 stuff plays just fine if the SD Card or USB device can keep up. I have happily watched 10-15gb Blu-Ray rips in 1080 with DTS and found there to be no problems.

3G Modem support, confirmed working with these dongles.
  • Huawei E160 3G USB Dongle (by ompudsman @ MP4Nations)
  • Huawei E1750 3G USB Dongle with Virgin UK sim. (by GFZ @ XDA)
  • Huawei E173u-2 3G USB Dongle (by Razy @ My Blogspot Page)
  • Any other 3G Dongles working? Help the community and let us know :)
USB Bluetooth Support
Tested with my 3 dongles and all work fine with my Bluetooth GPS Keyring, CoPilot on an 8" screen is rather good fun :)

USB GPS Dongle, Wifi Dongle and Gamepad support
Not fully tested but reading cheeyee's threads on Chinadigital I reckon they will work as he describes. It certainly detects my funny Genius Navigator 365 Mouse/Joypad combo device.

Wiimote support
Not tested but again it's cheeyee's work so no reason it won't

Preloaded with latest versions of the following apps.
  • Google Browser.
  • Gmail.
  • Google Maps, Latitude, Navigation & Streetview.
  • YouTube.
  • Google Music.
  • Google Play Music. (These are different)
  • Google Books.
  • Google+ & Google+ Messenger.
  • Google Search.
  • Google Currents
  • Calendar & Contacts.
  • Google Earth.
  • Facebook.
  • Dolphin Browser HD & Desktop Toggle Plugin.
Google accounts will sync Contacts, Calendars, Books, Gmail, Picasa and Currents correctly.

YouTube plays HQ videos just fine without stutter or lag assuming you have a good wifi signal and net speeds. My home network is 15mb ADSL with Wifi-N connection to the Novo8 to give an base line.

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. I shall add a list of Tegra games that work to my site at some point.

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Bugs / Todo:
Video Player not set as default app for movies, use any File Explorer to open a video file and select 'Video Player' it will then associate with all files it can play.

Youtube app shows two black bars across the screen when using HDMI out. Not much can be done as it's a app/hardware issue.

Video player through HDMI does not scale up the controls so they appear in the centre of the screen, similar to YouTube bug but they do disappear after a few seconds. Not as bad as it first sounds as you don't have to move the pointer around a huge area to play/pause/seek.

Your Novo 8 may disappear off the Google Play/Market site for a while. This does not happen much now with the newer Market site but leaving it here as a heads up.

* Tegra games will now show and install through the market when you follow my guide, however not every game works, check my Tegra guide for a support list.

Contacts shows the bottom corner of the wallpaper for each contact, looks odd but nothing serious.

Try and make the statusbar smaller, this is looking tricky as it needs systemui.apk to be edited and rebuilding it can be hit and miss.

USB pen drives may not appear at first, leave one in and shutdown the tablet, on restart it will pick it up and then work fine from then on. This might be to do with the extra USB stuff causing a hiccup.

Learn how to change the default layout of the homescreen so I can customise what apps/widgets are shown on first boot.

Possible others bugs/todo's (Let me know)

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