Monday, December 31, 2012

Installing a custom ROM on the Samsung Galaxy Tab P1000





I dug out an old Samsung Tab P1000 that was launched back in Sep 2010 (reviewed here by Hardwarezone). Surprisingly, this Tab P1000 with only 512Mb RAM is still going strong in the modding community. With the stock Froyo 2.2 firmware, it was well behind the times. It was time to get to work...

FIRST ROOTING, UPGRADE ATTEMPT WITH CYANOGENMOD 9.1 STABLE

First of all, I tried the Z4root method, but that didn't seem to work. Then I tried the Superoneclick method and was successful. However, I realised that most upgrade paths to Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4 (ICS) required Gingerbread stock ROM. Furthermore, ROM Manager didn't support the Tab P1000. After downloading and installing Samsung Kies, I successfully upgraded to Gingerbread 2.3.3 (and unrooted the Tab in the process). This took me several hours as the Kies took a long time to update itself, and the GB download was very slow as well. I then flashed Clockworkmod (CWM) recovery using the Superoneclick method again in order to upgrade to CyanogenMod (CM)9.1 Stable running on ICS. However something must have gone wrong in the process, resulting in unknown baseband and IMEI issues on my TaB P1000, effectively giving me a stable CM9.1 on my Tab P1000 with WiFi, but disabling my phone, SMS and 3G.

 BACK TO SQUARE ONE (RESTOCK GINGERBREAD 2.3.3)

Subsequently, I decided to restock to Gingerbread using the Overcome method. My tried and tested update process was:

 1. Flash GB stock safe tar, gt-p1000_mr.pit and JPZ modem using Odin 1.7 (gets you back to stock Gingerbread 2.3.3 with the Euro ROM).

2. Flash Overcome 4.0.0 Kernel using Odin (gives you CWM ver 5.1.2.6).

3. Flash Overcome 7 Series 4.1 Wipe.zip ROM using CWM recovery.

4. Flash Android Open Kang Project (AOKP) ICS ROM using CWM recovery.

 I am using AOKP ICS Milestone #6 on my Tab P1000. Everything works i.e. WiFi, Phone, 3G, SMS, camera. The AOKP Jelly Bean 4.1 build is also available but the general feedback indicates that it is not yet bug free.

DOWNLOAD LINKS AND INSTALLATION GUIDES BELOW

Follow the Team Overcome instructions at this google doc link. Alternatively, download the pdf here. Another installation guide in PNG image is available for download at the AOKP site under the comments section of the #40 build here.

Page 7 onwards of the 15-page Overcome guide details the steps required to restock to Gingerbread and flash the Overcome kernel to install an updated version of CWM Manager. For my Singapore Tab P1000, installing the JPZ modem works. The links for the various files are most likely not working though, so you can try to download from this XDA forums thread here. Also available for download at the AOKP site under the comments section of the #40 build here.

The AOKP Milestone #6 build ROM can be downloaded at the AOKP website under the downloads section. The mirror site is faster for folks in Singapore, with the link over here.

PERFORMANCE OF THE TAB P1000 UNDER ICS


If we compare the Tab P1000 specifications (circa Sep 2010) with the Huawei Mediapad (launched in Sep 2012, reviewed here at Hardwarezone), the Tab P1000 is comparable in many respects. The P1000 runs on a 1Ghz single core ARM Cortex A8 CPU vs Huawei's 1.2ghz dual core ARM Cortex A8 CPU.

Though RAM wise, the P1000 only has 512Mb RAM vs 1Gb RAM on the Huawei, other tabs launched by Shinco and Toshiba also only have 512Mb RAM. Furthermore, the P1000 has its own venerable GPU (Power VR540SGX). This is a pretty good GPU in its time.

A comparison of GPUs of that generation and how they render:

Motorola Droid: TI OMAP3430 with PowerVR SGX530 = 7-14 million(?) triangles/sec
Nexus One: Qualcomm QSD8x50 with Adreno 200 = 22 million triangles/sec
iPhone 3G S: 600 MHz Cortex-A8 with PowerVR SGX535 = 28 7 million triangles/sec
Samsung Galaxy S: S5PC110 with PowerVR SGX540 = 90 million triangles/sec

Quadrant Standard Edition benchmark

Based on the Quadrant benchmark, the HWZ review indicates that the Huawei Mediapad scores 1,747 on Honeycomb 3.2 (and between 1000-1500 depending on review for ICS) vs P1000 Tab score of 1,784 (without overclocking). Hence ICS objectively can and should run smoothly on P1000. Admittedly, the Quadrant benchmark isn't optimised for multicore tablets, and hence the Tab P1000 can appear to perform.

Smartbench 2011 benchmark 

Over here, the Tab P1000 feels its age, coming in at only 894 for the Productivity index and 2091 for the Games index. After overclocking the CPU from 1Ghz to 1.2Ghz, the scoring improved to 1019 for the Productivity index and no significant change for the Games index(~2034). After bringing back the CPU to default, the GPU was overclocked from 200Mhz to 320Mhz. This time, the Productivity index registered 897 while the Games index improved slightly to 2118. The overclocking options are available on the AOKP ICS ROM in the Performance Tweaks section under Settings. In this instance, the benefits of overclocking can be considered to be in line with analysis at Tom's Hardware Forum discussed in the article over here.

For the entire plethora of benchmarking tests possible on an Android, refer to this article here which incidentally demonstrates how the Samsung Galaxy S3 is the top dog.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Review: Samsung S3 4300mAh OEM replacement battery





Since my switch to a Samsung Galaxy S3, while the battery life is slightly better than my iPhone 4, I have increasingly found the 2100mAh battery insufficient. It is a vicious cycle that once you have better battery life, you end up using more of the smartphone functions, and what was once enough becomes unbearable. Recently, I came across a battery accessory that appears to promise a quantum leap in battery life. It is a thicker replacement 4300mAh battery with a customised S3 backcover in order to accommodate the extra battery thickness.
At a price of $19.90 (available from the online Singapore marketeer Gmarket), I thought this would be the answer. The only downside was that it did not appear to be an NFC-enabled battery. However, the NFC feature was not important for me.
The customised backcover comes in choices of white or matte purple, and the white version matches with my S3.
Some people might be put off by the increased resultant thickness. However, I found it easier to actually hold the phone now and the battery does not add significantly more weight. The backcover is also plastic and practically weightless.
Some customers at Gmarket has complained that their case was damaged during postal delivery. Fortunately, this did not happen during my purchase. However, at this price, the vendor did not provide any fanciful protective packaging. My purchase arrived in bubblewrap inside a normal brown envelope. Some of you might even be able to obtain a better price if you have coupons from Gmarket for being their VIP customers.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

i.Paid.



All dads know who pays for all those Apple gear on the cool crowd.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Joining the Android world with the Samsung Galaxy S3



I finally decided to join the Android world by swapping my iPhone 4 for a Samsung Galaxy S3. Mostly because I perform all my time-consuming tasks and leisure surfing on my iPad 2, and increasingly, the shortcomings of my iPhone 4 could be addressed by the S3. Furthermore, the Google Play Store has come of age and there are many iOS apps that have also been ported over to android smartphones. It has been more than a month since I recontracted on 29 May 2012, and I haven't regretted my decision. The advantages of the S3 over my iPhone 4 are: 1. Better camera (8MP) 2. Music and pictures transfer easily for android phones, much like a usb drive. No need to go through the iTunes. 3. Bigger screen 4.8", less strain on the eyes. 4. More intuitive file system. 5. The S3 comes with 2 years of free 48Gb Dropbox subscription.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My top 10 jailbreaks and 100 reasons to jailbreak



Pretty cool youtube HD video "100 reasons to jailbreak" by Mario Dubek from JailbreakMatrix. I first got to know about it from a tweet by @iH8sn0w.

video

Much has changed since iOS 4 when I first experimented with jailbroken tweaks. Now with my iPhone 4 on iOS 5.0.1, some of the top 10 tweaks are:

1. Aloud (powerful voice announcer for incoming calls, sms, mail etc)
2. SBsettings (the 1st tweak i download; together with Cydelete, RotationInhibitor, RemoveBG)
3. iFile (Windows explorer for iDevices)
4. Facebreak (Facetime over 3G)and 3G UnRestrictor 5 (you decide if an app uses 3G)
5. Five Icon Dock (5 instead of 4 icons on the dock)
6. Gridlock (Place your icons anywhere)
7. iKeyWi (customise your keyboard - i like my extra 5th row with numbers)
8. noOTA badge (remove that reminder badge from your settings if you don't want iOS 5.1)
9. Zephyr (powerful customised gestures)
10. Winterboard and Dreamboard(customise themes, ringtones etc)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dual simcard capability for iPhone 4: Unique iPhone battery case from 2phone



Many business travelers often need to be contactable on 2 mobile numbers: 1 local number for their business clients and another personal number for family and friends. Until now, this means having 2 phones and the constant need to make sure that contacts are transferred from one phone to another, or having to forward messages from one phone to another.

The 2phone dual sim case is a very neat solution that is offered by a website linked to the well-known iPhone accessory maker, the QYG group. This iPhone case not only protects the iPhone, but also has its own full size simcard slot that allows the iPhone to operate a second mobile line SIMULTANEOUSLY. And i mean complete voice and text messaging functionality for the second simcard.


The iPhone is able to run two mobile lines simultaneously with the 2phone case.


The 2phone app is where voice calls and messaging can be made using the 2nd simcard. The settings for the 2nd line is also accessed from this menu. The menu interface has been thoughtfully designed to have the same outlook as the iPhone's call app.

The 2phone case also has its own separate 800mAh battery that can serve as an emergency battery charger for the iPhone. The catch is that this accessory requires the phone to be jailbroken because the 2phone cydia app is required in order to install the 2phone voice call and text app.


2phone case comes with an internal replaceable battery and extra simcard slot for a 2nd line. It also has a free simcard tray pin and mini simcard adaptor that neatly sits within the case.

During testing with my iPhone 4 running iOS 5.0.1 (jailbroken with redsnow), I found that the voice and text messaging capability works smoothly as advertised. The ringtone for the second line can be set differently from the main line so that you can immediately identify whether an incoming call or sms is coming through the main or second line.


2phone settings allows the user to set a different ring/text tone for the 2nd simcard.

However, I found that there is added battery drain on the iPhone due to having 2 lines operating at the same time. With my usage profile (with about 50-100mb of data usage per day, checking email throughout the day, making about 5-10 calls and 5-10 sms per day), I found that I could be low on battery by the evening. The added battery capacity of 800mAh also proves to be insufficient at times as it will only charge the iPhone if it has more than 50% of charge remaining. In practice, this means that it will only charge about 10-20% of the iPhone.

Battery issues aside, I found that the added convenience (and in my case, necessity whenever I am overseas) of having 2 lines on my iPhone turns out to be a game-changer. I can now easily buy a local simcard while overseas for making local calls while retaining the use of my own simcard for any calls from home. I can now use both at the same time without worrying about missing calls or sms from either line. Since the 2phone app is able to access the iPhone contact book, there is also no need to maintain two separate contact lists on separate phones. The build quality of the case is good and does not add much weight or bulkiness to the iPhone. It is similar in size to the Mophie Juice Pack Air but slightly lighter at 59 grams.


iPhone 4 with 2phone case.

The 2phone is available in Singapore for about S$99. The international model is FM-01A.



The 2phone packaging is basic but provides the key specifications at the rear.


The specifications are clearly shown.

The 2phone official website can be found here. I bought mine at Sim Lim Square.

Update 1:

This is what an incoming call would look like using the 2phone and a second simcard: