Nice ROM for the G-Tablet!
Update (12/09/11): The lead developer of the Flashback team has evidently changed to JAZZRUBY. Also, the team appears to have discontinued their use of the XDA board and are now supporting the ROM on the SlateDroid forums here. Check the forum post on SlateDroid if you want support from the official FB team.
FLASHBACK Version 10.3 released on 12/07/11 – available here: http://www.mediafire.com/?7vd7n8bfd3y753w or here
INTRO: The latest version of FlashBack (HoneyComb 3.0.1) for the ViewSonic G-Tablet was released yesterday (10/09/11). Since I have previously used FlashBack (FB) and not very impressed, I was not the first in line to download the new Alpha 9.0 version. But I did get the file and flashed it to my GTab yesterday to check it out and see if it is now something that I can recommend. Although I am still doing some testing and setup, my initial impressions are all positive!
RESPONSIVENESS: In previous versions, my chief complaint was sluggish response. I could click on an icon and it might be a couple seconds or up to 30 seconds until it responded. I would not even get a “click” sound for that time. It seemed that EVERYTHING was dragging. I did all the standard and advanced stuff – even FORMATTED my GTab prior to NVFlash (250meg system) and a clean install. And every time, it was the same. The device might speed up a little after it had been turned on and in use for a while but it was never as responsive as GTabComb. Well, that is NOT the case with version 9.0. Everything pops! Even from the first turn-on, it was at least as responsive as GTabComb b3.3.
CONNECTIVITY: I previously found that FB8.0 would disconnect from my WiFi and refuse to reconnect until I rebooted. This was the most frustrating issue I had with it. I think that the dev fixed it in version 8.1 but I never tried that due to the lack of responsiveness that was not in the change log. With version 9.0, I have not experienced a single disconnect. I believe that the issue is resolved. USB connection is simple. Just connect the cable between your GTab and your Computer, press the “Turn On USB Storage” button that pops up on the GTab and you are good to go. The ROM exports both the 14gig (internal) “SDCard” and the 2gig partition on the internal card. Unfortunately, it does NOT export the external SDCard but other HC ROMS for the GTab also do not export the external card. Bluetooth appears to work. I have paired and connected with my laptop and with my Plantronics 645 earpiece but more testing is required before I know how functional it really is. So far, I have not been able to transfer files from my computer to the GTab via BT.
MARKET: One of the primary issues for the GTab right now is the Android Market. Google has made some changes recently and one of the changes may be to block non-authorized or unsupported devices from the Market. They had to hack a version of the Market to get it to work on some of the early Gingerbread ROMs but later version – and the HoneyComb versions that I have tried, all had perfectly functional Markets that could be upgraded without issues. With FB 9.0, the devs have included the new “tablet optimized” Market (version 3.1.5) from Google. It seems to work flawlessly. However, the ONLINE version of the Market (https://market.android.com/account?settings) no longer displays the GTab (as a registered device) as it did previously. I do not know if this is the same for ALL ROMS or just for FB9.0 since I just noticed it since installing the new Flashback. (Edit: It seems to also be the same with GTabComb b3.3.) This eliminates a nice feature but otherwise, the Market is fully functional – as far as I have seen. One WEIRD issue: Several of my apps (examples: ES File Explorer, ezPDF Reader, Facebook for Android, Google Docs, GrooVe IP, Opera Mobile web browser, Speedtest.net Mobile, & Titanium Backup) are displayed as NOT INSTALLED. When I click on one of the apps within the Market, it offers the “Install” button. If I click on that, it opens the app (that is already installed). These may be the apps that I had previously moved to the SDCard or something – I am not sure. Still everything seems to work – they are just in the wrong list.
VIDEO: None of the HoneyComb ROMs are enabled to do hardware acceleration to provide HD Video. Also, Flash video is not fully operational. With most browsers, embedded Flash video will display either all black or all white, with sound but no picture. With some ROMs a hacked version of Adobe Flash 10.3 was reported to work for embedded video on the HC native browser. It did not work (for me) on this version of Flashback. I have three browsers installed, the native browser, Dolphin for Tab, and Opera Mobile. I prefer the Native (Chrome) browser but most Flash video will NOT play on it. Nor do they play on the Dolphin browser. When I installed the hacked version of Flash (you can find it in the /system/data folder), it would CRASH the native browser when I tried to play a Flash video. So, I upgraded to the Adobe Flash 11 (version 188.8.131.52). Now, I can hear the sound but not see the video. However, Flash video DOES PLAY on the Opera browser. So, I default to the native browser but if I want to view Flash video, I have to load it in Opera.
CAMERA: Due to the non-availability of drivers, none of the HoneyComb custom ROMs for the G-Tablet support the use of the GTab’s internal camera. This is not a function of that you can fix by changing apps, kernel, or ROM. The camera simply will NOT work on any existing HC ROMs for GTab.
APPS: Everyone has their favorite app and want to know, “Will xyz app run on this Rom? Well, so far, most of the apps that I have tried will work. However, some have limitations. Here is a summary of some of the more “asked about” apps…
- Netflix (version 1.4.1 build 262): Seems to work fine. It does sometimes autoclose when I first execute it. However, if I execute it a second time, it works.
- USA Today (version 1.6): Works on everything EXCEPT video. I have not checked but I am pretty certain that this will be the same for all the other news apps.
- GrooVe IP (version 1.2.3): Works fine.
- Facebook (version 1.6.4): is Flaky. It works properly the first time you use it. The next time you call it up, it will keep spinning and never find the updates. If you clear the data, it starts working (one time) again. BLAAAA.
- YouTube (version 3.0.15): Works fine in the non-HD resolutions.
- Bible (version 3.3): Works great.
- Google Docs (version 1.0.16): Works great.
- Evernote (version 3.2.1): Works great.
- Gallery (version 1.1.30682): Works fine.
- Google Voice (version 0.4.2.36): Works fine.
SLEEP OF DEATH: I experienced a couple SOD issues during the first few screen blanks. I have SetCPU (paid app) installed and I have had to use it on most other ROMS. I set it up with the Min: 356Mhz / Max 1335Mhz. Unfortunately, the SOD issue continues. I did NOT have SOD issues with GTabComb (used it a couple months without issues.) I guess I will just consider it a battery saving “feature.” 🙂 Note: This ROM uses a different kernel, previous settings of SetCPU may not work – even if you do NOT “reset to factory” when installing. Be certain to CHECK the settings of your overclocking app.
SUMMARY: I did some benchmark tests and FB9.0 did not fare very well (see results here: https://bishoptec.com/2011/07/gtabcomb-vs-illuminate-hc/).. But, my overall opinion is… YEAH BABY! — RECOMMENDED! BUT, there is not a lot about this ROM that is significantly better than GTabComb b3.3 so if you have that installed and you are happy with it, I see no immediate reason to switch. However, if you are using any other ROM, or if you are having any weird issues that you cannot fix, then GO FER IT!
HOW TO: If you wish to flash the new version of Flashback, then here is the simple process.
- Download the ROM fromt our ROMs Download page for a link to the most current version.
- (Step deleted. As of FB v.10.3, renaming is not required)
- NVFlash to bootloader 1.2 (with 250meg system partition). https://bishoptec.com/2011/01/nvflash-for-dummies/ (If you have previously done this, just skip this step).
- Install ClockworkMod Recovery version 184.108.40.206 https://bishoptec.com/2011/07/clockworkmod-1-2bl-honeycomb-on-gtab/ (again, if you have previously done this, just skip this step)
- Use ClockworkMod Recovery (CWM) to backup your existing ROM, setup, and configuration.
- Still in CWM, select (with the android “HOME” key) “factory reset“; “wipe cache” and “advanced / Wipe Dalvik” (If you have been using a previous version of FB, then you may be able to skip this step. If, when you start using the ROM you experience weird issues, just return to this this step and then reboot.)
- In CWM, select “mounts / mount USB“
- On your computer, copy the ?????.ZIP to the root of the 14gig partition of the GTab.
- In CWM, “mounts / UNMOUNT USB” & then disconnect the USB cable
- In CWM, select “install zip from sdcard / choose zip from sdcard” then use the volume keys to move to the bottom of the list and select the appropriate .ZIP file.
- IMPORTANT! When the flash is finished, use the back key to return to the main menu and select “reboot system now” – FAILURE to observe this step will force your GTab into a LOOP.
- Follow the Android Setup (if you did the Reset to Factory) and enjoy. (If you were previously using FB and did NOT reset to factory, then setup is not required.)
As always, YMMV (your mileage may vary). Leave a comment and let us know what you think!