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Old September 30th, 2012, 05:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Sad Tablet Locked down for China

Hi,

I bought this tablet on-line locally while in China on business last week. Overall really pleased with it but some problems which make me think it might be locked down for use in China. Tempted to install a vanilla version of Ice Cream Sandwich over the top but surely that's too easy (and I don't know how to do it!) ? Please can anyone help?

Device:
Onda V712 Dual Core Dual Camera 7 inch 1280*800 IPS HD Touch Screen HDMI WIFI 16GB

Problems:
Can't access Facebook online (error 404) or via Android App (login doesn't reach facebook servers). Other sites giving 404 are Youtube and Google.

Can't download from Google Play Store (-101 on commencing download), have to use a Chinese equivalent (AnZhi) which takes ages to download apps which take seconds on my Samsung Galaxy Ace mobile and doesn't have some UK apps like the new BBC Media player for using the iPlayer.

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Old October 1st, 2012, 08:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I've chosen to leave this Chinese tablet thread in the Lounge, because it's an interesting and possibly sinister development for Android devices in China.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottF View Post
Hi,

I bought this tablet on-line locally while in China on business last week. Overall really pleased with it but some problems which make me think it might be locked down for use in China. Tempted to install a vanilla version of Ice Cream Sandwich over the top but surely that's too easy (and I don't know how to do it!) ? Please can anyone help?

Device:
Onda V712 Dual Core Dual Camera 7 inch 1280*800 IPS HD Touch Screen HDMI WIFI 16GB

Problems:
Can't access Facebook online (error 404) or via Android App (login doesn't reach facebook servers). Other sites giving 404 are Youtube and Google.
So you're not in China now?

This sounds nasty. I'm thinking this tablet has been hobbled in some way to make sure you can't get to those sites at all. Possibly the hosts file has been modified to include Facebook, Youtube, Google, etc, or it's hard-coded to go through a Chinese proxy. And there's probably no way to change it, without rooting and changing the ROM. This is something I've never come accross before, but it's quite conceivable we might see more of this.

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Originally Posted by ScottF View Post
Can't download from Google Play Store (-101 on commencing download), have to use a Chinese equivalent (AnZhi) which takes ages to download apps which take seconds on my Samsung Galaxy Ace mobile and doesn't have some UK apps like the new BBC Media player for using the iPlayer.
I think you do have a problem here. Because often there is little or no information available about hacking and modifying these Chinese devices.
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Old October 1st, 2012, 11:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi,

Yes I'm back in the UK. The good news is I've made progress on the Google Play Shop, I had to enable 2 step authentication on my Gmail account and use the code sent by text message to authenticate and authorise the device. Have now got my UK apps (iPlayer, Sky Cloud, Chrome Browser etc) all working.

So the last problem is that I can't access either Youtube or Facebook, either through the native Android browser, chrome, or the android apps. (404 through the browser or timeout through the app.)

Is there somewhere in the file system I cam look for blacklisted sites or apps?

Otherwise great tablet, only 70.
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Old October 1st, 2012, 05:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottF View Post
Hi,

Yes I'm back in the UK. The good news is I've made progress on the Google Play Shop, I had to enable 2 step authentication on my Gmail account and use the code sent by text message to authenticate and authorise the device. Have now got my UK apps (iPlayer, Sky Cloud, Chrome Browser etc) all working.

So the last problem is that I can't access either Youtube or Facebook, either through the native Android browser, chrome, or the android apps. (404 through the browser or timeout through the app.)

Is there somewhere in the file system I cam look for blacklisted sites or apps?

Otherwise great tablet, only 70.
If no browsers can access FB, YouTube, etc. while apps such as iPlayer are working OK. I'd suggest that the tablet's hosts file is the culprit. It's been changed so you can't access sites deemed undesirable in China. There's some hosts file editors on Google Play. But the tablet has to be rooted.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.treb.hosts&hl=en

I know that many PCs in China are hobbled so they can't access FB etc, by modifying the hosts file or with third-party censoring software. that's in addition to the GFW censoring. It seems this might be starting to happen with Android devices sold here now.
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Old October 3rd, 2012, 02:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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So the plot thickens.

Did a complete factory reset, even to the Chinese language display! Reset to English and:

Via the Android browser
- a Google search for FB or YT returns a 404!
- directly keying www.FB/YT.com into the address bar returns a 404

Via Google Chrome
- a Google search for FB or YT will find them, but clicking on the link hangs
- directly keying www.FB/YT.com into the address bar returns a 404

Downloading the Android apps via the Google play store
- YT downloads, installs and works!!
- FB download says it's downloading but just hangs as if it can't find the file

Downloading the FB Android app via the Chinese AnZhi app
- FB downloads but the login fails "Sorry login failed to reach Facebook servers."

Downloaded Hosts Editor as suggested which says "No Hosts Entries to Show"

I'm stumped, but in reality the only thing I have not been able to do one way or another is access Facebook.
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Old October 3rd, 2012, 10:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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This is a very interesting problem. So it definitely seems this tablet is crippled in some way to prevent it working with sites deemed undesirable by the Chinese Government, even though it's obviously not been used in the PRC. One suggestion is to load a custom ROM, but I don't think that's possible with this device, like with so many of these Chinese tablets.

I've brought this to the attention of other guides and mods, see what they can suggest and for their information in case they come across this. Although I'm pretty much the authority for off-brand Chinese Androids here.
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Old October 4th, 2012, 03:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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SORTED!!!

Thanks to a combination of your advice and a post on another forum.

I had to root the tablet and delete the contents of the \system\etc\hosts file and voila, everything opened up! The very strange thing was that I actually bought 2 tablets, one for each of my kids and one hosts file contained only a single carriage return, while the other had hundreds of entries for google, youtube, facebook, twitter, flickr, you name it. Anyway, job done and now have a couple of really cool tablets for only 70 each and two happy teenagers!

Solution in a bit more detail:

Using ES File Explorer (or any apps that can access root directory, e.g. Root Explorer)
1. Go to Settings > Tick the "Up to Root" to enable Root Directory browsing
2. Scroll down, enable "Root Explorer", "Mount File System"
3. Browse to \\system\etc open the "hosts" file with any text editor
4. Delete all entries and save the file

Once you've tested reverse actions one and two, job done.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 01:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hey a big thank you Scott, for posting back what you found.

Happy you got it sorted, and your tablet is now in the free world. I mentioned that it had to be rooted before you could use hosts file editor. I bet Amnesty International was in the hosts file as well.

This is something I'm going to have to keep in mind now, was we frequently get questions about tablets and phones from the PRC,
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Old November 5th, 2012, 10:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Fixed mine too. Used solid Explorer and File manager Hd to get to hosts file and deleted host file entries.Had hundreds of google sites blocked.
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Old July 29th, 2013, 09:13 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hi, I am facing problem of cannot download the Facebook apps although my china tablet is rooted and I had followed the steps by ScottF. However, I still manage to use log in my Fb using Browser. =) Another thing is that I can't fully assess to all the apps that I had downloaded from Redacted For example like Grays Anatomy 2011 and Dorlan's Medical Dictionary, the apps can be installed but can't be used. Is there any solution to solve these problems?
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Old July 29th, 2013, 10:28 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grcc View Post
Hi, I am facing problem of cannot download the Facebook apps although my china tablet is rooted and I had followed the steps by ScottF.
What's actually happening when you try and download the FB app? Are you getting an error or something? Are you downloading it from Play?

Quote:
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However, I still manage to use log in my Fb using Browser. =) Another thing is that I can't fully assess to all the apps that I had downloaded from Redacted. For example like Grays Anatomy 2011 and Dorlan's Medical Dictionary, the apps can be installed but can't be used. Is there any solution to solve these problems?
I know what that app is, but we can't help you with that on here as software piracy is illegal, and discussion of illegal activities is against forum rules.
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Old July 29th, 2013, 10:52 AM   #12 (permalink)
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^^Ditto

Grcc, we can't help you if you're using apps like that I'm afraid.
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Old July 30th, 2013, 06:42 AM   #13 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=mikedt;6021062]What's actually happening when you try and download the FB app? Are you getting an error or something? Are you downloading it from Play?

Yes, I try download it from Play, but failed directly during installation without notifying any error occurred.
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Old July 30th, 2013, 06:44 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I know what that app is, but we can't help you with that on here as software piracy is illegal, and discussion of illegal activities is against forum rules.[/QUOTE]

Thanks for remind
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Old July 30th, 2013, 05:05 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikedt View Post
that's in addition to the GFW censoring. It seems this might be starting to happen with Android devices sold here now.
That's what I was about to bring up.. OP downloading Orbot and using Orweb might be your most best option, if not the only option.

I have a guide to putting it on Opera too, I'll edit my post and put it on here too.

Using the Tor Network on your Android

Saw you resolved it. Perhaps other people who can't root these Chinese devices can follow my guide.

It shows you how to use Tor on android devices, I was told citizens of China use it to bypass GFW. I don't know that for sure since I don't know very many people from China and have never been there myself.
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