Flashing the Yuandao N10 (Window N10) Android tablet

Yuandao N10 (original firmware)

The Window N10/Yuandao N10 is an Android 2.3.1 tablet manufactured in Shenzhen, China, and sold domestically and in the Asian-Pacific region. I picked one up in Beijing for 990 yuan, or about US$135. It’s a pretty good unit, though support for it in English is pretty spotty. This article will explain how to upgrade the firmware on the N10, but the same process could apply to several of Yuandao’s other tablets.

Huawei EC122 USB 3G Modem

Why upgrade? To use this, for one.

Why upgrade? To get a cleaner interface and better hardware support, for two reasons. For example, I wanted to use a Huawei EC122 3G USB dongle to access the Internet with my tablet. The dongle was supposed to be compatible with the N10, but it didn’t work at all. After a week of research, I finally realized flashing the tablet was the quickest solution. The firmware that came installed could not “see” the Huawei dongle.

It’s an easy task to upgrade the firmware on these units, but deciphering the Chinese instructions may put some people off the task. So, here is my version.

On the software side, you need one Windows application, RKBatch Tool, and a new firmware image file. RKBatch Tool 1.4 is available here and here. The first link includes drivers for Windows 7 and 64-bit computers. Yuandao keeps its firmware image files here. Don’t let the Chinese deter you. Just look for “N10” and the most recent firmware file. Be sure the file is the right one for your unit. There are several versions of the N10, each with its own firmware images. At this writing, the most recent image is N10-2.3-20111012-ZZ. You will need to unzip it for RKBatch Tool to install it.

On the hardware side, you need a Windows computer running 2000, XP or Vista. Drivers for these PCs are already on the tablet. Windows 7 and 64-bit systems may not recognize the tablet, so you can follow this link (given above) to get those drivers. You’ll also need the USB cable that came with the tablet, or one similar to it (mini-USB to standard USB).

Start with the tablet powered off. Plug the USB cable into your computer, but not into the tablet yet. While holding down the M button on the tablet (marked on the back side), insert the USB cable into the tablet’s USB port — not the OTG port). Wait for your PC to respond. It should recognize the tablet and prompt for a driver installation. Those drivers are on the tablet itself, unless you downloaded others to your hard drive.

N10 after flashing

The N10 with new firmware

Open RKBatch Tool. At the bottom, one of the numbered rectangles representing devices should be green. That means it sees the tablet and can upgrade the firmware. Click on the browse button at top and locate your unzipped firmware file. Then click the Upgrade button at the bottom. Wait about 5 minutes for the process to finish. If it’s successful, RKBatch will confirm the task is done and the tablet will reboot on its own. Tell Windows to unmount the USB devices, and disconnect the cable.

NOTE: Be sure the tablet has a full charge on the battery, or is plugged into the AC adapter. Don’t disconnect the cable until the tablet reboots. Otherwise, you may end up with a paperweight.

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