Archive for April, 2012

Inboxpad A8388 Android tablet unboxing

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

I recently ordered an Inboxpad A8388 10.1″ Android tablet from a Chinese export/import vendor.  These are grey market resales of a tablet designed around the original Pixel Qi sunlight-readable screen.  A limited number of these tablets are available, since they never went into mass production due to project cancellation.  Still, they are the only somewhat-available tablets with a PQ screen.  So I bought one and it arrived today.

The tablet came in working order.  On one side, it has a power button (which is somewhat flakey, neither powering on nor shutting down the tablet reliably), volume up and down buttons, and a slide switch for the backlight.  Along the next side are two ports, one for a MicroSD card (which you insert upside-down, with the contacts upright and inward), and the other for a SIM card (which you also insert upside-down, with the contacts up and inward).  But there’s no cellular radio (nor GPS) inside these units, so the SIM card slot is unused.  On another side is a MicroUSB socket.  On a fourth side are a power input port (12V, 2A, with a flakey connector that constantly needs re-seating) and a 3.5″ 4-section headphone jack.  It has a Home button centered Apple-style below the screen.  It also has touchable spots near the Home button for the classic Android Menu and Back functions.   It came with a US-style 110v power adapter and a headphone with a single pushbutton control (that seems to have no function).

It’s based on a Samsung S5PV210 ARM Cortex-A8, 1 GHz system-on-chip (SOC).

So far I have not reloaded the firmware inside it.  It was able to see a 4gb MicroSD card once I rebooted it.  I’m hoping to copy the existing flash partitions out, before trying to reflash them.
There are other tablets with the same SOC (HP TouchPad, Kobe Kyros 7015 and 7024, Dropad A8HD, CorePad 7, Ashiou A816, and many other, more generic tablets).  I don’t know if CyanogenMod is yet reliably running on any of them.  There was an early port to the Kobe Kyros 7015 with a lot of misc problems.

The power button is flakey, it’s hard to tell whether it has been noticed by the device, which is unfortunate because holding it down sometimes means something different from just pressing it.  I’ve been able to get the tablet to shut down (with “adb reboot”) and to boot back up.  When not booted, if you plug the power adapter into it, it briefly shows a screen with a battery image that shows the % charged.  I was once able to get it to do something interesting during booting, with a USB cable connected to a host Linux machine; I think I held the volume-down key (next to the power key) while pressing the power key to boot, leading to a screen with a picture of a USB plug and a message in Chinese that included the words “USB”, “PC”, and “PC”.