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  • Custom Recovery and Google Apps on the Novatech nTab II

    15 June, 2016 | General Hackery

    The nTab II is a lovely little £40 tablet from Novatech. It's dual-core, it's running Android 4.1, and, for now at least, it's a perfectly decent 7" tablet. It has one drawback: it's running stock Android and lacks Google's customisations. This means, among other things, that you can't install apps from the Google Play store.

    The tablet is, in fact, a badged RK3066. This means that googling for that will bring up a whole lot more information about your tablet. The biggest plus of this tablet is that it's rooted out of the box and therefore you can do pretty much anything with it if you know how.

    Set up ADB

    There are hundreds of articles on setting up ADB on the net, use one of these. Essentially, ADB is a tool that comes with the Android SDK. To use it, open a command prompt on your machine (Win+R, type cmd and press enter if you're on Windows, just open a terminal in Linux or on a Mac) and type 'adb shell' on the command line with the tablet connected over USB. This should give you a root shell into the tablet.

    Flash a custom recovery

    There is a version of TWRP compiled just for the RK3066. You can get it from the following site:
    http://freaktab.com/forum/main-category/freaktab-downloads/11780-twrp-2-7-0-0-for-rockchip-s

    Make sure to get the 1024x600 version, as this is the screen resolution of the nTab II. To actually get it onto the device, you need to flash it. Plug the tablet into a USB port on your PC and ensure it's been seen by typing:

    adb devices

    Assuming ADB sees your tablet and it appears in the list, cd to the directory into which you downloaded and unzipped the files and type the following:-

    adb push flash_image /dev/
    adb push recovery.img /dev/
    adb shell
    chmod 755 /dev/flash_image
    /dev/flash_image recovery /dev/recovery.img
    adb reboot recovery

    The tablet should now reboot and the TWRP interface should appear. From here you can do lots of low level stuff.

    Install the gapps package

    You can get the gapps package from:
    https://www.androidfilehost.com/?w=files&flid=5649

    In TWRP, click 'Install'. Install the gapps package gapps-jb-20121011-signed.zip

    It is likely the process will break the stock Android keyboard. To fix this, install the Google alternative from the Play store You might want to download it using a PC and then install it over adb if the process is too painful!

    That's pretty much it... enjoy the full Android experience on a £40 tablet.