Thursday, July 15, 2010

Getting the best out of your Eken M001 android tablet

The learning curve continues

At this point, the very best performance configuration for the Eken M001 (and no-name OEM versions) is ECOTOX v1.1.1 firmware and an sdcard partitioned to include a linux swap partition (along with the usual FAT32 partition) and swapping enabled. Using the "Home++" alternate Android UI included with ECOTOX also seems to help speed things up.

To create a swap partiton on my sdcard, I used my android phone booted in Amon_RA Recovery v1.7.0.1. As ECOTOX is a rooted Android system, you're able to edit the "" to change the swap device from the default /dev/block/mmcblk0p2 if you need to. In my case changing it to mmcblk0p1 was all that was needed. I used the "Root Explorer" app to do the editing.

Once you re-boot you find you now have 195MB of available memory.

The effect is amazing! Where moving from the browser to the Home screen on stock firmware might take up to 10 seconds, with swapping enabled it takes barely one second. If you have an M001 you would do yourself a favour to get. ECOTOX v1.1.1 installed and set up a swap file.

The first thing anyone should do with one of these tablets is go into Menu > Settings and recalibrate the touchpanel. Do not use your finger! Use something with a very precise point like a knitting needle or stylus. Nail those crosshairs right in the centre. This gives you some hope of being able to use your fingers for most things. I've also found that for typing it is better to use a couple of stylus-like objects to ensure better accuracy and less re-work. I use two halves of a broken knitting needle for typing. Just the right length and comfortable to hold. They work great.

Although the Android market is included in all the recent firmwares for the M001, it remains a hassle to get it to actually work. It will function normally in every way, except it won't actually download what you choose. That is very annoying. So instead, I use my Android phone to get the apps, then back them up using Appmonster Pro. I then email the *.apk files to a gmail account associated with my M001. To receive the APKs you have to use the browser and login to Gmail as the included Gmail app isn't able to download such attachments.

The summary is that ECOTOX and Home++ and the ability to swap, combined with a properly calibrated touchpanel, transform the M001 into something reasonably responsive for daily use. It's almost a netbook for so cheap who cares. If your expectations are low, then the M001 will pleasantly surprise you.

Looking at the screen, it seems to like ECOTOX v1.1.1 presents a sharper, clearer display than the other firmware. I may be completely wrong there, but to me it looks better than the others. My eyes aren't as good as they used to be and I can read text more easily on this system.

The ECOTOX information and links to the firmware are at The site has a few "issues" with the hosting provider, so it can be flakey at times. Keep refreshing the page and it should be OK, if annoying.


  1. Have you had any look at the new eken epads, like the m004 etc?

  2. Hi Fran

    No. I'd like to see the higher spec devices, but this is the one I bought. I got this one to see how bad it could be....and it's actually not too bad at all. When the high-spec Android tablets come out, with Android v2.2, then I'll have a serious look at buying one of those.

  3. Is the Eken M001 the same tablet as this one?

    It's got a VIA VT8505 300MHz CPU + 128MB RAM + 1GB storage.

    Having read your blog I wonder if I'd manage to boost it the way you have.

  4. Ps. I've just bought one of the above machines. It's also called MID M70003. Is it any good? Like an Eken M001 or even worse? :)

  5. Hi Larbov

    Since i wrote this, I've had a chance to use the new drivers from the "official" Eken M001 firmware v1.9 with the ECOTOX v1.3.1 custom firmware and the combination is pretty good. Combined with a 96MB linux swap partition on my Class 6 SDHC card and using Home++ as the default user interface, the M001 is about as good as it is going to get, I think. It's still a 300MHz (really...) device with very limited RAM. I've run logcats on it via adb when its stock or custom...and the system is constantly killing apps as it hits a low-memory condition. At 128MB, there is very little space for anything, really. Painfully obvious in the system log. :-)

  6. Steve...I'm an Android convert...running a Samsung S...but I think you might be able to help me with an "ancient" "Eken" M001...1.6 which desperately needs a heart (read FW) transplant.

    What's my best option for communicating with possible?

    pfranc bruce