Android Market and the Zenithink ZT-180

You’re probably scratching your head: What the heck is a Zenithink ZT-180? Well, the ZT-180 is a 10.2″ Touch Tablet running Android 2.1 (details here). I purchased mine directly from China (via eBay), but I hear rumors that it is starting to sell domestically in the US. You may run into one eventually.

Admittedly, this article is targeted to a comparatively small segment of people who own the Zenithink ZT-180, but those who do own one find that its firmware doesn’t automatically come with the Android Market. This issue has been resolved by others (whom I will entirely credit herein). I am writing this article to fill in some gaps that I had to work through on my own through trial-and-error. This will hopefully leave you, the ZT-180 owner, with a clear guide to enabling the Android Market on your device. (And it will leave me with a reminder of what I need to do after I flash the next update. ;))

Setup

NOTE: Please read the entire article before taking any action. There may be updates you should be aware of appended to the end.

First, if you don’t already have it, download the current Android SDK and unzip it to a location of your choosing. You will also need a current version of the Java JDK installed on your machine. Then, download the RPMScript0.9 (courtesy of rpmccormick’s work [post #604]). This file should be copied into the tools folder of your Android SDK (e.g., [install-path]\android-sdk-windows\tools) and extracted there. This will create a sub-folder called “RPM-addon” that you will use later on.

Next, you’re going to need a Market id for your device. This guide provides details on using an Android 1.6 AVD from the Android SDK to generate a unique Market id for use with your ZT-180. Follow the steps, and write down the id that your AVD generates. You’ll need to provide it in a later step.

Updating the ZT-180

You should flash your ZT-180 device to 0818 (mine was 0803 when it arrived). This archive (courtesy of http://www.iBeau.net) will provide you with all the files you need to accomplish this, including instructions.

Some notes about the flashing process:

  • This will only work with 32-bit Windows systems (I performed my flashing under XP, because it was the only machine I had that was 32-bit).
  • Flashing from a 32-bit Windows VM will not work. The first element flashed (uboot) will cause the device to be disconnected, and then subsequent attempts by the flasher to find the device in order to continue the flash will fail. It must be performed from a stand-alone operating system installation.
  • You may end up flashing several times while you are working on this, so keep your 32-bit machine handy until you’re satisfied with the results.

Off To Market

Once you’ve flashed your device to 0818, you need to install a couple of files. They are: UniversalAndroot.apk, which gives you the ability to provide root access to applciations; adbWireless.apk, which will allow you to interact with your ZT-180 over your wireless connection using the Android SDK’s adb command.

  • Install both applications (from a TF/microSD card, from a USB drive, or by selecting the links above directly from your ZT-180).
  • Run the Universal Androot application, and “root” your device. Rooting the device must succeed for you to be able to continue.
  • Once you’ve “rooted” your device, reboot (you may not have to do this, but I found that I had to in order to get the next application to run).
  • Go into “Settings -> Sound & Display -> Screen Timeout” and change your screen timeout to 10 minutes. This prevents the Android setup screen from timing out while you’re waiting. You can set it back to whatever value you like after you have completed the Android Market setup.
  • Make sure your WiFi is connected to the same network as the machine where the Android SDK resides, and then run the adbWireless application.
    • The adbWireless application will start in an active state, but don’t be fooled: it is not really active. You need to turn it off (press the Red button) and then turn it back on again (press the Green button) in order to actually get the adbWireless to function.

Once your device is ready and waiting on the WiFi, open a shell window (command prompt under Windows) and navigate to the location where you extracted the RPMScript0.9 files (e.g., [install-path]\android-sdk-windows\tools\RPM-addon). At this point, you should run the “RPMScript.bat” file found in that folder, and follow the instructions (to the letter) found in rpmccormick’s post for version 0.9 of his script.

Some things to note:

  • Your ZT-180 is showing you the IP address of the device while the adbWireless is running. Be sure to use that.
  • Typically, I connect to the device before running the script using the command “adb connect <IP>:5555″ command shown by adbWireless, but it is probably not necessary. The RPMScript will connect as one of its steps. How you do it is up to you.
  • The RPMScript is broken into two steps. Follow them, along with rpmccormick’s instructions in his post. The first action in each step will likely result in an “error: device not found” message, but you can safely ignore that and move onto the next steps.
  • After each reboot, you’ll need to hard reset the device by holding down the power button for 10 seconds to cycle the device off. This is noted in the instructions of the RPMScript after you reboot, but it bears repeating here.
  • Since you set your screen time out to 10 minutes, the Android setup screen should not time out, and after the 5 minute wait, you should continue with the instructions.

Sub-step #3 of step #1 of the RPMScript (“Delete unessasary [sic] files…”) will run through your freshly flashed 0818 device and remove currently installed applications. You may or may not want to remove everything it suggests. I chose only to remove a subset of items. Here’s how my step ended up:

appDelete.jpg

Let’s Go Shopping!

After you complete the two-step process, the Market should be available on your device. You need only start it, log into or set up your account, let it synchronize, and then run it again, accepting the terms of service, before you have full access to the Android Market on your Zenithink ZT-180!

UPDATE 9/2/2010: New firmware released for the ZT-180, 0827:

  • Improved 1080p video support
  • Added support for evdo 3G device

Haven’t flashed this yet, nor attempted a new activation of the market. I will post an update when I do.

There is also an update to RPMScript, RPMScript1.2. As with the new firmware, I have yet to use this, and will include info any differences it may have from 0.9 after I flash the new firmware.

UPDATE 9/4/2010: I flashed my ZT-180 with 0827 using the RPMScript1.2. All went well until I attempted to use the Market. Using the Market gave me an error message “Server unavailable. Please try again later.”. I tried over and over to get it to work, even going so far as to generate a new androidID, thinking that might be the issue, but got the same error when I tried to bring up the market.

However, it turns out not to be an issue with the firmware, but rather a synchronization issue with the Market. Since it had all worked immediately with 0818, I expected the same thing with this firmware, and interpreted this error message as a failure in the process. However, posts from the great guys over at xda-developers (thanks, notsaw!) made me realize that I had to let the tablet sit for a while and the Market would eventually enable itself. I now have the Market working under 0827!

UPDATE 10/31/2010
Here are links to various firmware downloads from my personal server:

0827
0818
0929 System Image (“Christian Buchner” version)
1013 1024×600
1013 1024×576

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