Monday, April 8, 2013

Rooting Allview Speed City

I was looking for a budget tablet with decent hardware (except for the screen which is crappy) so I settled on the Allview Speed City. This tablet is similar to the Chinese Onda 701 with the small difference that the Speed City does not have Volume Up/Down hardware buttons. The same hardware may be marketed and sold under other names in various countries, so check the specs before attempting to root it.

The tablet is running a custom ROM based on Android 4.1.1 that includes some bloatware (like an antivirus) next to the standard apps. Fortunately, it has a recovery ROM that lets you install zip files, so, it doesn't appear to be fully locked.

So, as any power user, I wanted to root the tablet and be the master of the software installed. Problem is - there was no known root available when I bought it.

Note: before proceeding make sure you understand the risks of rooting, and also be advised that you may lose your warranty.

Rooting instructions for the impacient

So without much ado, to root the tablet, you will need to follow these steps:
  1. Download the root + google apps package: (if the link is no longer valid drop a comment and I will re-upload it)
  2. Unzip the archive downloaded above ( to an external SD card in the root of that card. You will get two files:  factory_update_param.aml and
  3. Plug in the SD card into the tablet (the procedure requires an external SD card; internal storage doesn't work).
  4. Turn off the tablet
  5. Turn on the tablet in recovery mode. You do this by holding the HOME button and the POWER button pressed until you will see a big green android on the screen. You can release the buttons now. (the screen looks like the following image - sorry for the quality)
  6. Once the update is complete, the tablet will reboot automatically and you will get a message "Updating system apps". Once it's finished, you are rooted (if Superuser is not installed, you can install it from the market).
  7. Profit! :)

 The emergency ROM

All Android devices have a recovery ROM that allows you to unbrick your device if tragedy strikes. For the Allview Speed City you can enter in the Recovery ROM by holding the HOME and POWER buttons pressed at startup. You will be presented with something like this:

Since unlike the Onda 701 you do not have hardware keys for Volume Up/Down, you'll need to use the HOME button as DOWN ARROW and the POWER button as ENTER.

Other than that, the Recovery ROM is pretty functional.

Extra resources: Visit this link to learn more about rooting this tablet and alternate firmwares for it:
Also, special thanks to the members of the XDA community who made this possible.