My company recently bought some "Android" tablets from another company in an accelerator we are both associated with, but these tablets actually seem to be running some form of Linux that creates an Android emulator. My coworker and I are trying to do... well anything with them, but we are unable to access anything that would allow us to debug the app we're developing or gain any kind of control. We also can't seem to find any information about these things online, and the company that we bought them from doesn't really know much about them either.
Why I have come to the conclusion it is an Android emulator:
- It seems to be loaded in through Linux (I'm sure there is a proper way to say this, but I hope you understand what I mean). I say this because when the device is first powered on, I see four images of Tux. From what I've read, this means this is a quad core device. That's it though. No other output is available.
- Its feature is very similar to other emulators I've worked with (no google play store, use on-screen soft buttons, etc.)
I definitely am open to being wrong though.
Things we've tried to do to gain access:
- Simply try to interface with it the way we have done so with our other Android devices through the mini USB. The device was not recognized as even being connected by either a Mac or Windows computer.
- I tried powering down the emulator through the soft buttons. The emulator shuts down to a black screen, but the tablet is still on. The only way to do anything after this is to toggle the power switch.
- Next I tried messing around with that update button. If I held that down before powering the device on, it would boot the android emulator to the recovery screen (android mascot with it's front panel open) with the words "No Command" displayed. I can't input any commands because the device does not have any hardware buttons other than a rocking power switch and the update button used to get to this screen. Turning it off and on again after reaching this screen causes the tablet to boot normally.
- Next I tried plugging in a USB keyboard to attempt to access any kind of menu I could. I tried holding, repeatedly pressing, and all manners of button combos involving the ESC key, Shift key, F# keys, Tab key, etc. Nothing. I noticed my caps lock key wasn't even turning on when pressed, so I thought it may not even be receiving power.
- Next I plugged in a USB stick with an LED on it to see if it gets power. It does get power throughout the boot process and during normal Android use. It even recognized it as a memory source in Android.
- I then turned the USB stick into an Ubuntu bootable stick following this guide. I restarted the device with the stick plugged in. The stick flashed a few times while the four pictures of Tux are on screen, then it goes to the normal Android startup sequence.
I'm now at a loss. From what I've read, it seems to be in some form of fast boot mode, and based on my situation, it seems that I have no way of turning it off.
Is there some other way to gain some form of control?
Any chance of opening it and looking for a hard drive? Mounting that in another system might yield some results.
Here's the inside. The QR code reads out
20160104 rk3188 4.4.4 20160104.102301 1G8G Bluetooth. This leads me to believe this houses an RK3188 Rockchip which is an industrial grade ARM chip built for running Android 4.4.4, so this may not actually be an emulator... Hmm. I'm unable to remove the covering. I could potentially remove the PCB, but my coworker is a bit wary of me doing so. The breakout board on the right hold what looks to be an IR sensor accessible from the outside I didn't notice before. I haven't a clue what those two black boxes might be though.
What web site does that QR code [displayed in the first picture] lead to?
The QR code reads out
PI: JW-20151209002 Model:A10W1A-02 B11-01 Delivery Date:20160120 Country:America. Not terribly useful data unfortunately.
Presumably you tried pressing the update button again when on the recovery screen. What happened?
Things to do besides opening it up: do nmap on LAN with OS detection. Try to see of the USB acts as a USB debug port. Things to do after opening it up, besides looking for the hard drive/SSD: Look for serial and/or JTAG headers.
I tried searching for the device on the network, but I couldn't find it through either nmap or arp. I'm definitely detecting other devices on the network and can confirm their IP and MAC addresses, but I can't find this device's IP or MAC at all.
I will look into buying a USB A to USB A to test the USB debug port suggestion.
I did not see anything that screamed JTAG or serial, but those open connectors at the top or side may be the ticket. How would I confirm?
I'd also consider plugging it into a switch or using a crossover or what ever and checking to see if it gets an IP via DHCP, and if so, at what stage (ie, network boot maybe?), and then port scan it - maybe telnet or ssh or ... is open...
Unfortunately I'm not at all versed in doing any of this. Do you have a guide you could point me to?