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Old 11-21-2010, 07:58 PM   #1
frq
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4fff n618 and variations

I have a Positivo Alfa e-reader, which is exactly the 4fff n618 as sold in Brazil. I was researching for information on this reader and found very little information here in Mobile Read (in English, anyway).

I decided to put some things I found about this reader here, as vendors around the world, firmwares, hacks, etc.

So, to start, the vendors that I found and the name of the models:

Brazil
Positivo Alfa
Firmware download (The image viewer and the mp3 player are disabled in this firmware)


Spain
NVSBL L337
Firmware (You have to be registered in this Spanish speaking forum)

Bq Avant (former Booq Avant)
Firmware


Germany
Oyo Reader (A little different, but actually the same hardware)


Italy
Devo EVReader WT


Dutchland
ProMedia E-Book Reader
Firmware


France
Icarus Sense E-Reader


Those are some of the models I found. Other variations include BenQ K60, Pandigital Novel and FNAC Reader.
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Old 11-21-2010, 08:07 PM   #2
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Specifications

These are the specifications of this reader, taken from Wikipedia:

Screen
* 6 inch (4:3)
* 800×600 (167 ppi density)
* SiPix
* 16 levels of grayscale
* touchscreen

CPU
* Samsung 2416 ARM9 400MHz

OS
* Linux 2.6.23

Memory
* 128 MB (MDDR)
* 2 GB (NAND)
* External microSD/microSDHC (up to 16 GB)

Connectivity
* Wi-Fi b/g
* microUSB high speed
* audio jack

Miscellaneous
* 1530 mAh, 3.7 V
* 240 gram
* Reading mode
* 10.000 pages (Wi-Fi off)
* 3.000 pages (Wi-Fi on)
* Stand by mode: 700 hours

The battery time is a very high estimate. The specs may vary a little from model to another (the number of buttons is different, there is space for a SIMCard, but I haven't found one with it).

The website of 4fff (Four Fou, I believe it is spoken), the manufacturer (in chinese):
http://www.4fff.com/product_detail-0-110.aspx
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Old 11-21-2010, 08:18 PM   #3
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Tips

To enter the recovery mode, in the 7 buttons models:
  • Turn the device on, while keeping the 1st and 5th buttons pressed (return + magnifier)
  • Will should see an Ubuntu logo
  • If the new / recovery firmare is int he SD Card it will begin instalation, if not, it will throw an error

To enter the touch screen calibration, in the 7 buttons models:
  • Turn the device on, while keeping the 1st and 2nd buttons pressed (return + eraser)
  • Will should see the touch screen calibration on the screen

To enter the QEngineer mode, in the 7 buttons models:
  • Turn on the device, while keeping the 1st and 7th buttons pressed (return + page forward)
  • You should see the QEngineer screen
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Old 11-21-2010, 08:30 PM   #4
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Firmwares

The firmwares presented for download are almost the same, with little variations as images, languages, dictionarys, etc.

I have seen videos of writing recognition in a chinese model, but have not seen nor read nothing about it in these firmwares.

To update or replace the device firmware you have to download an unpack the firmware of you choice and put the whole qdutil directory in the root of the SD card. Then proceed to Config > Advanced Settings > FW upgrade, of reboot the device pressing the Return and Magnifier buttons as explained in the former post.

I have started to take a look at the firmware. The file system is inside either a tar or an img file. The tar opens easily in any archiving software, such as tar in Linux or 7zip in Windows. I could only open the img file using cpio in Linux.
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Old 11-21-2010, 08:52 PM   #5
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Little Hacks

I came around Frank's Wiki, that has a good guide to gain shell access to these devices. He even got some Hello World programs running and told how to cross-compile applications for the device.

He couldn't discover the root password but he explains how to change the user/password quite simply, changing the sh script that runs during firmware update, or chaging it in the firmware package itself.

To gain shell access though, you have to connect the reader as a USBSerial device. You should take a look in his Wiki, but I can say that my Alfa, running the firmware from the l337 guys couldn't come up with the usbdebug file method.

To connect it in USBSerial mode, I had to boot the device while keeping the 6th and 7th buttons pressed (Previous Page and Next Page). Keep in mind that while the reader connected to my computer as a USB Serial device, there is no information about it in the screen: it shows the normal menu, with the sync option dialog (I chose not to sync, though).

Everything else went according to Frank's guide. He also has some good links worth the read, though some are in german and I had to use Google Translate to read.

That's it for today. I will keep messing around with it, and may post more info here. If someone has the same device and would like to talk about it, ask questions, shred some light or just chat, it will be nice.

And pardon me for the lousy English

Cheers!
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Old 11-23-2010, 05:00 PM   #6
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thank you !!!!
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Old 11-23-2010, 05:01 PM   #7
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There is quite a bit of info in our wiki on the N618.

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Old 11-23-2010, 08:45 PM   #8
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Hi, DaleDe.

I only found one page: http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/N618

It does not seem to be the same device.

In Hanvon website, as well as the wiki, they say it is a Vizplex display, with Windows CE. The Hanvon website also says it is a different processor: an intel celeron.
http://usa.hanvon.com/products/ebook_n618.html

Today, Thalia released the source code for the Linux kernel and U-boot for Oyo, and Frank's at it:
http://www.fwma.de/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=OYO.BuildKernel
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Old 11-23-2010, 09:44 PM   #9
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Sorry the oyo is a different device. It is in the wiki as well under binder. If you searched for oyo you could find it. It is also in the ebook comparison matrix in the wiki.
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Old 11-24-2010, 01:42 AM   #10
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The Hanvon N618 is absolutely not the same device as the 4fff n618... And it looks like the Oyo is a different device as well (but, as the OP already said, it could be: "A little different, but actually the same hardware"...) If the screen + motherboard + processor are the same, but the external casing is different, is it a different device or not?
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Old 11-24-2010, 08:03 AM   #11
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I believe they are the same. I had my doubts: i have the Positivo Alfa, which is exactly the 4fff's N618, as the NVSBL L337, the Promedia E-Reader and the Bq Avant: same external case, same 7 buttons, etc.

Then I found Frank's Wiki about the Oyo, and as you can see he lists the Avant and Promedia as the same devices:
http://www.fwma.de/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Main.OYO#toc24

Since Sipix and Benq are controlled by AUO, it is probably a Benq / Qisda project, using Sipix screen and other AUO technologies. So, I believe all the models are indeed the same, with little differences as the positioning or number of the buttons and presence or not of 3G, according the retail seller's choice and desire.

I was wondering if I should update the Wiki, and if so, should I complement the Oyo's page or write a new one?
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Old 11-24-2010, 01:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frq View Post
I believe they are the same. I had my doubts: i have the Positivo Alfa, which is exactly the 4fff's N618, as the NVSBL L337, the Promedia E-Reader and the Bq Avant: same external case, same 7 buttons, etc.

Then I found Frank's Wiki about the Oyo, and as you can see he lists the Avant and Promedia as the same devices:
http://www.fwma.de/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Main.OYO#toc24

Since Sipix and Benq are controlled by AUO, it is probably a Benq / Qisda project, using Sipix screen and other AUO technologies. So, I believe all the models are indeed the same, with little differences as the positioning or number of the buttons and presence or not of 3G, according the retail seller's choice and desire.

I was wondering if I should update the Wiki, and if so, should I complement the Oyo's page or write a new one?
Your choice but I would recommend pointing between the two pages. If the firmware is different or the user interface is different that is reason to have a new page. If it is a clone then I usually build a separate page describing the differences and then add the other page as a reference. If you don't know how to do that just contact me.

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Old 11-25-2010, 01:10 PM   #13
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Hello, DaleDe. I created the article. It would be nice if could check to see if it is ok.

http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/4fff_n618

Last edited by frq; 11-25-2010 at 01:11 PM. Reason: Forgot to put the link
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Old 11-27-2010, 11:01 AM   #14
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Looks fine. good start.
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Old 11-28-2010, 01:54 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frq View Post
Today, Thalia released the source code for the Linux kernel and U-boot for Oyo, and Frank's at it:
http://www.fwma.de/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=OYO.BuildKernel
Some parts are missing though. Most important the driver for the sipix display exists only as precompiled blob in the kernel source. But we are on it and are pestering Thalia to find the missing stuff too.

Just for completenes sake: the kernel source seems to be made for all models. There is a switch where every one of them is listed (ie. Oyo, Binder but also Booq Avant, BenQ, Positive Alfa). So it seems the base system is the same for all of them - only the UI applications seems quite different from model to model.

There seem to be two different display controllers in use. The Oyo uses a AUO-K1900 but there are also parts of a driver for the AUO-K1901 in there.
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