Biftekoupolis

A developer’s review on Ainol Novo Paladin 7

Posted in Android, computer science by trelobifteki on Μαρτίου 2, 2012

Where to get it?

I bought this tablet device for almost 100 U.S. dollars (~ 80 euros). The price was very tempting and I couldn’t resist. I bought it from an internet store in China and I delivered it after ~ 2 weeks. I bought it from there, since it did not require any extra money for bringing it from there (only post expenses).

Please send me a PM in twitter (@trelobifteki) for asking me the site. But you’ll find it quite easily in Google.

Technical overview:

- 7-inch capacitive touchscreen display (840 x 480 resolution)
- MIPS-Based XBurst 1.0GHz processor
- Vivante GC860 444MH GPU
- Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
- 8GB memory, expandable up to 32GB via microSD
- 512RAM
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
- 4000 mAh battery
- No camera
- No 3G
- No Bluetooth

Technical review

  • Performance:You’ll soon discover that it’s quite slow but bearable. You may notice some display lags when scrolling between workspaces in launcher application or some games included (E.g. Spiderman) have low FPS, but it’ll be quite responsive. Sometimes, you need to reboot it as well.
  • Battery: I’m quite satisfied with the battery lifespan, but recharging it from USB requires quite some time (> 3 hours). It is possible that charging from USB is slower than  power cable, but it was not included in the box.
  • Screen:  Screen is fair and meets my minimum requirements. I’d  prefer better display resolution and quite better color quality
  • Applications: The most serious issue I’ve came across with this device is mainly the MIPS-based processor that makes it incompatible with almost any application in Android market. As a result, I had to find from untrusted markets several basic applications that were forbidden from Android Market (E.g. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Adobe reader, Flash).
  • Sound: Sound speaker is horrible. Better use headphones or mute it.
Generally, I’m not that satisfied with hardware. I would be better to have bought another more expensive tablet that includes better screen resolution. But I believe this can be a perfect gift for someone special 😉

Firmware upgrade guide:

I followed the firmware upgrade path below  in order to  remove almost all Chinese apps & install Youtube application. Please refer to the following forum, that I found very useful:
Novo 7 Paladin forum
Custom ROM by Pinkflozd

Upgrade guide from 4.0.1 to custom ROM 4.0.3
CyanogenClockWorkMod for Ainol Novo Paladin 7
Working apps list with download links

I believe this upgrade is very useful for the following reasons:

  • Root access is always welcome and useful 😉
  • No chinese apps + keyboard anymore
  • Magic code allows several application to run in your MIPS based processor (this is actually magic)
  • More apps 😀

Requirements

  • An SD card with 2GB free space (I can be less, but what’s the point?)

1. Upgrading to 4.0.3: First, you need to upgrade to latest Android release (4.0.3). Notice that upgrading firmware requires to copy zip file to the root directory of a sd card (not the internal one!). Also, I found confusing that I had to use Vol+ for booting to recovery (usually, this is done by Vol-). Please be patient during installation procedure. It takes some time.

2. Installing clockworkmod recovery: Use the same process as above. After installing it, boot to recovery and make a backup of your system.

3. Upgrading to custom ROM: Currently I used Pinkflozd custom ROM 0.7. I’m pretty satisfied with it. I erased data files and cache and installed it. After this, I took a look on the backup I made an extracted all APK files that I wanted (E.g. Superman :D)

Youtube  app is included in this ROM 😀

4. Install applications from the website: Link is provided above (Facebook, Twitter, Games…).  The only thing I’m missing now is Google Talk and Skype. Of course, you can download IM+ from Google Market.

I also found very useful downloading a Black Market app for android. Basically, you can download APK files this way with no Android Market restrictions. By using Magic Code, usually you won’t have any problem installing them (running them is another story).

Developer Notes

If you want to do some development for this table, I suggest to download the SDK / NDK for MIPS based processors. You may find them from the links below:

MIPS Android NDK download
MIPS Android SDK download

I tried to compile Warmux from source. This was pretty easy but I found some problems while running the debug application and I stopped it there.

Anyway, happy hacking 😉

P.S. If you accidentally smashed the power button (as I did), have no worries. Thank God, the reset button can work for turning on the device again.

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