Installing Google Play enabled firmware on Arnova 7b G3

Some time ago, our daughter bought an Arnova 7b G3 tablet. Although the device is very well done, its primary disadvantage is that it does not include Google Play. As a consequence, it is only possible to install new applications from the rather limited AppsLib. What she wanted was to be able to install applications (games) from the Google Play store.

After a little walk around the Net, I found, Archos and Android Tablet news. On that site, I found a section for the 7b G3, including a custom firmware for the tablet which includes the wanted store.

Initially, I was a bit reluctant to install a custom firmware. So I tried the hardcore method: installation using RockChip tools since this technique would also me to reinstall the original firmware.

The main questions were:

  • how do I enable the recovery mode ?
  • how do I enable the USB flashing connection ?
  • how do I install the connection driver ?

Recovery mode is enabled by starting the tablet with a certain combination of keys/buttons (relatively easy to find/guess).

Enabling the USB flashing connection

On this tablet, activating the USB flashing connection must be done before starting in recovery mode.

  • go in Parameters, Developer options
  • enable USB debugging

Starting the tablet in recovery mode

Recovery mode is enabled by starting the tablet with a certain combination of keys/buttons (relatively easy to find/guess).

  • power off the tablet
  • power on the tablet with both power on button and reset pressed
  • when the Arnova logo appears, release both buttons

The tablet will display a recovery logo (Android device on its back with the « stomach » open).

Installing the driver for the USB flashing connection

Once the tablet is started in recovery mode, connect the tablet to the PC through USB.

The PC will detect new hardware. The driver is part of the RockChip tool package. It is in drivers/<ostype>/<os> (with ostype being 32bit or 64bit and os being one of the Windows versions – from Win2000 to Win7).

In my case, the PC refused to install the driver automatically. When the « New hardware detected » wizard came up, I pointed it to the right directory and still it claimed it found no driver to install.

Then I went into the Device Manager and found a « AN7BG3 » device with an exclamation mark.

I tried updating the driver automatically, pointing to the same location: same result.

I tried again updating the driver but this time I selected the driver manually from the list, chose RK29 device and then it worked.

Running RockChip flashing tool

That was the easiest part. Select the firmware file, click Upgrade and wait patiently.

At the end, the device reboots. It starts from scratch (setup wizard). At the before last step (installation of provided software), it failed to install any software (but who cares about Arnova’s provided crap). Joy and happiness was at the end: Google Play Store is there (together with AppsLib).



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