FlashBack for GTab

Nice ROM for the G-Tablet!

Flashback ROM

Update (12/09/11): The lead developer of the Flashback team has evidently changed to JAZZRUBYAlso, 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 11.0.1.152). 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.

  1. Download the ROM fromt our ROMs Download page for a link to the most current version.
  2. (Step deleted. As of FB v.10.3, renaming is not required)
  3. 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).
  4. Install ClockworkMod Recovery version 3.0.2.8 https://bishoptec.com/2011/07/clockworkmod-1-2bl-honeycomb-on-gtab/  (again, if you have previously done this, just skip this step)
  5. Use ClockworkMod Recovery (CWM) to backup your existing ROM, setup, and configuration. 
  6. 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.)
  7. In CWM, select “mounts / mount USB
  8. On your computer, copy the ?????.ZIP to the root of the 14gig partition of the GTab.
  9.  In CWM, “mounts / UNMOUNT USB” & then disconnect the USB cable
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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!

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97 Responses to FlashBack for GTab

  1. Justin says:

    Ray,

    Do you know why the Android Market will not let me download any apps using Flahback 10.3? Whenever I try to download one it says an error has occurred, without any specifics.

    Thanks

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Go to Settings / Applications / Manage Apps / (find the market)
      Force Close – Clear Data – Reboot and sign in again.

      There is nothing wrong with the Market on FB10.3 – at least it was still working a few days ago when I used it. I am now working on a different ROM so I cannot tell you what it is doing today but I am pretty confident that you are UNIQUE with the problem.

      If the first option fails, visit my “TIPS for Android Users” article https://bishoptec.com/2011/07/tips-for-android-users/ and download the Market from there. If it works, then let your GTab update the app and it still should work afterwards.

  2. Hi Ray,

    I’ve been running FB 10.3 fairly successfully for several weeks now and I have one small issue that you may know the answer to off the top of your head.

    I have an 8 GB external SD card, but I haven’t been able to figure out how to move apps onto it – Titanium Backup and App2SD both move them from “the phone” to the internal SD, so I’ve got only about 2 GB free out of 16 internally, and my external SD is essentially blank.

    Is there a tool or a fix?

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Hey Chris, good question.
      I am 99% certain that apps will NOT run off of the external card – unless you use the vold trick to switch it with the internal card. In that case, you might get some extra room if you had a 16GB or larger card. But for an 8GB card, you are better off using the 14GB internal card.
      Are you certain that you have 14GB (all that is available) of APPLICATIONS? If so, your device is probably WAY overloaded anyway. You should uninstall the ones that you have not used in a long time.
      If you have music or video, etc on the internal card, then manually move them (with file manager) to the external card – which will make plenty of room for apps.

      • Gosh, thanks, that was quick! I’ll have a look at what’s actually on there and see what I can move with file manager, and more importantly, what I can uninstall. With all that space available, I’ve been pretty unselective in what I’ll download and try from the free apps markets.

        It just bugs me to have bought the extra card and have it sitting vacant – under TnTLite, I moved all kinds of stuff out onto it.

  3. Mark says:

    How do you find the forum where the Flashback Rom is being supported? The link above doesn’t seem to work.

    Thanks for your help.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Sorry about that Mark. Too many links to keep updated.
      The link at the very top of the article to SlateDroid should work. I have updated this article and pointed to the DOWNLOAD article for links so that I can just update that page and everything will be right.
      BTW, you might want to look at the new GTabCombOver rom (link on the download page). I like it but it also has some issues. I will have a review in a couple days (when/if) I get some kinks worked out.

  4. Daniel Nantón says:

    Hi, I have the SOD issues on my gtab using FB 10.3, I really would like to not have them, but I have tried to go back to Frankentab, and can’t handle the low resolution. Is gtab comb 3.3 still an option, our when compared to FB 10.3 it is not as stable an option without SOD.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      GTb3.3 is a good rom. However, some issues remain without support. If you try it, I think you will have to update all of the installed apps. And when you have problems, there are few running the rom so help is hard to find.
      Try flashing a different kernel over Flashback 10.3 – that is supposed to fix the sod issues.

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