Applying the Right ROM
Last summer I bought a couple of tablets from China through eBay, and you might have read me raving about one of them. The Talk9x from Cube has Apple-like build quality (tho' no GPS and the camera isn't great, but it has slots for microSD and SIM).
Most surprising to me is that the manufacturer followed up with several OTA (over the air) updates to the firmware. Normally, once a tablet ships, the manufacturer is too concerned with the next model to bother maintaining the old one. Last October, another firmware update arrived, and I installed it. When the tablet rebooted, it ended up displaying the dead Android robot logo, saying "No program." This meant it could not find the code to boot the tablet.
Since then I spent time on and off trying to revive the tablet. Nothing worked. It didn't help that the instructions are wrong for how to access recovery mode. (I had to press Vol+ instead of Enter, and Vol- instead of Vol+.) I tried all kinds of things, like...
- Recovering from the built-in image (it did not seem to exist any more)
- Recovering through ADB (couldn't get the tablet to connect to the computer)
- Recovering from an image on the external microSD card ("install failed")
I ever resorted to letting the battery drain entirely -- you know, just in case. Every few weeks, I'd take another stab at the problem.
In the meantime, I got another 9.8" tablet from China through eBay, a dual-boot model that does Android 5.1 and Windows 10 on its Intel CPU. But the build quality wasn't as nice, and I just couldn't consider giving away the beautiful but bricked Cube.
Last week I made another determined effort. I googled the topic and open nearly a dozen Web pages in the tabs of my Pale Moon browser. That tablet is a popular tablet! There are lots of custom ROMs written for it.
It was from one of the pages I researched that I learned something: just because a ROM is written for the Talk 9x, doesn't mean it will work. So I downloaded three of them: the original ROM from the vendor, its latest ROM, and a custom ROM. I copied them onto the microSD card, and went into recovery mode.
I tried the original ROM, and install failed. I am guessing this might have been the one I had tried a few months earlier. Then I tried another ROM from the memory card. It worked!
I was pretty pumped.
Here is how to put the Cube Talk 9x into recovery mode:
- Switch off the device by pressing the Power button.
- Hold down Volume Up and Power button for about 10 seconds. Release held keys when you see the Android Robot.
- To enter the Recovery Mode, hold down the Power key for a short while.
And here is a list of a lot of ROMs for this tablet, both from the manufacturer and ones that are customized:
Caution: If you install a new ROM, it will wipe out everything on your tablet.