Archos GamePad: Installing Custom Firmware (Part 2)

Let’s pick up where we left off last time, and install some custom firmware on our GamePads…

On the Arctablet website, there are 3 main options:

All good choices, but I’m opting for the third because:

Installing ALCAMJI’s JFG/microSD mod

Firstly, grab a copy of the firmware package:

You’ll need a microSD card for next bit.

As far as I can tell, it should be possible to do without. You should be able to place the firmware on the GamePad’s internal memory (via USB transfer, or whatever), and install it from there.

But I’m jiggered if I could get it work.

So take a microSD card, and make sure it’s formatted as FAT32 (under Linux, this is probably easiest using GParted). Copy root.zip to the root of the card, then insert it into your powered down GamePad. You can now boot into the ClockworkMod menu and complete the installation:

The GamePad will load the custom firmware (this ‘first boot’ may take a while), and you’ll have to go through the normal Android setup stuff. Remember to delete root.zip from the microSD card (and while you’re at it, marvel at the bigness of your effective ‘internal’ storage).

Your device is ready to use, but we can optimise further…

Fixing Random Lag

The ‘Perfect Firmware for our gamepad’ thread includes a helpful workaround for the random performance drops suffered by the GamePad when a microSD card is inserted. I’ll reproduce it in a little more detail here:

Removing Unnecessary Cruft

Since the GamePad is at heart a gaming device, I think it prudent to clear out unnecessary non-game–related software. I uninstalled the following apps:

There remain a large number of ‘system’ apps which I also consider unnecessary. Normally these can’t be removed, but since we have root access we could go wild and rip out everything… But I don’t like this because, once expunged, it can be difficult to get these apps back should we ever want them in the future (and of course, it’s easy to completely knacker your device if you delete the wrong system files).

I prefer simply to ‘disable’ these redundant apps, which prevents them from running but keeps them on disk. You can do this via the ‘Settings’ menu, i.e.:

Here’s the list of apps I recommend disabling:

Final Steps

To complete our GamePad configuration, let’s install some useful utilities:

Typically I’d also suggest installing Dolphin Browser, but this likes to run in the background (using memory) so for optimal gaming I make do with the stock browser…

And now you’re ready to use your GamePad for its true purpose: emulation. I heartily recommend the following two apps:

As a final note, here are a couple of performance figures for the above setup:

Not bad. Not bad at all.