Android on Acer Iconia W500P Tab

Hello Folks,
today I would like to share some interesting facts about Android on a Acer Iconia Tab W500P. I happen to have access to such a Tab today. On this Tab there is Windows 7 installed by default. Hmm, and Windows 7 is not a operation system optimized for touch input, in my opinion.

So I did a little research on how to get Android running on this tab.

The Iconia Tab is based on the following hardware:
– a AMD Dual-Core Processor C-60,
– has 2GB RAM :),
– a 32GB SSD harddisk,
– a 10,1″ LED LCD screen
– WiFi 802.11 b/g/n ๐Ÿ™‚
– Bluetooth 3.0 + HS

Congratuations ... Android running on Acer Iconia Tab

Congratuations … Android running on Acer Iconia Tab

Quite a nice piece of hardware, but not very usable with Windows.

Since it is not my own Tab, I cannot format the hard disk and install Android, therefor I am using a Live distribution. I knew there is a port of Andorid to the x86 platform (http://www.android-x86.org)

I downloaded the latest version they offer in the download section (Android 4.2 20130228) as iso file to my Linux laptop.
Link to the iso: https://android-x86.googlecode.com/files/android-x86-4.2-20130228.iso

Then I install unetbootin on my laptop, a tool to create bootable USB Sticks from a given iso image file: sudo apt-get install unetbootin

The USB stick I am using is a 8GB Stick I had at hand. I reformatted it to FAT32 and plugged it into my Linux laptop. Then I started unetbootin, selected the downloaded Android ISO file and the USB drive as target.

Copy Android ISO to USB drive

Copy Android ISO to USB drive

Next, I had the problem: How to boot the Iconia W500 Tab from an USB stick?? Since the Tab came without the optional docking station, with included keyboard, I used my wireless Keyboard of my stationary PC.
In order to access the BIOS of the Iconia to change the boot sequence do the following:

  • Switch of the Tab
  • Wait some seconds
  • attach a USB keyboard (you need the F2 button!)
  • Press the Power switch and the Windows Button at the same time (Info found here)
  • While booting you should see a white cursor blinking on the top left corner. NOW press F2 on the plugged in keyboard and you get access to the BIOS.
  • Change here the boot sequence so that the Tab can boot from USB Mass storage devices
  • Plug in the USB stick with the prepared Android installation
  • reboot the Iconia Tab and select Android Live in the displayed boot manager
  • wait for the Android to boot up ๐Ÿ™‚

Here you go … now you have to set up the Andorid system as on every phone.

! Keep the USB Keyboard plugged in during setup, otherwise you don’t have a possibility to enter characters and numbers

Change keyboard settings to get on screen keyboard

Change keyboard settings to get on screen keyboard

Once the Android system is up, switch to Settings and find “Language & Input”. Select the Keyboard option and switch off the physical keyboard in order to get the Android internal on screen keyboard shown when entering text to fields ๐Ÿ™‚

Congratulations, now you have a really touch optimized operation system running on your Acer Iconia Tab W500P ๐Ÿ™‚

System overview

System overview

 

System specifications

System specifications

Ok, now that Android is running, I gave several apps a try. The two cameras (front & rear) work out of the box. See two images here:

Iconia Tab W500P with Android Rear Cam

Iconia Tab W500P with Android Rear Cam

Iconia Tab W500P with Android Front Cam

Iconia Tab W500P with Android Front Cam

Bluetooth doesn’t seem to work, at least I was not able to activate it directly in the system menu … GPS obviously also doesn’t, since no GPS receiver is installed in the Tab.

Another problem seems to be, the display cannot be switch to standby as it is common on other Android tabs, to save battery.

The available buttons are mapped:

  • Sound: works as expected: Volume up and down
  • Windows key: no function
  • Power button: switch of the Tab, as expected (asks for confirmation)
  • Look button: switch of the Android display rotation

I hope that was useful for someone, I had fun playing around with it.

Cheers
norbert

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18 thoughts on “Android on Acer Iconia W500P Tab

  1. Thank you for your ideas, it was a great help for me. Only with your help i was able to try out that device. It opened a new view to the things for me.

    • Hello there,
      I used unetbootin to create a bootable USB flash drive. unetbootin is also available for Windows (http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/). Basically you can follow the describtion in my post to generate a bootable USB flash drive containing Android. It doesn’t matter if you are using unetbootin on Linux or on Windows. The software on the Iconia Tab is not altered if you are using this described Live Android system, since Android is installed on the external USB flash drive. No need to install Linux ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Hi! Your tech blog interested me. I have this acer iconia and itยดs mine. What do you suggest if i want to download it directly in the tablet instead of a usb key. Will it works also? Thanks

    • Hi there,
      that is an interessting idea. Basically, I have two options for such a scenario in mind: 1) Setup a dual boot system, so you can select during boot time either to start Windows or Android. 2) Erase Windows and only install Android.
      Since the hardware seems not to be very different from any other normal Laptop or PC, both approaches seem to me possible.
      BUT: since not all buttons and functions seem to work as expected under Android, I think this is highly experimental. If you would like to try it, I would recomment a dual boot system, in case anything does not work as expected, you can still use the Iconia with Windows. Just have a look on some of the How tos for setting up a Window/Linux dual boot system for normal Laptops/PCs should provide the necessary advice. If you like to share your results, I am also curious ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Thank you for your advice! I alreafy erase Windows from m’y iconia and only install androรฏd. And it works properly! I installed it in fat32. I am very happy with it!!! Thanks

  3. Hello All
    How do you erase Windows from the Aconia and install Android ?

    What are the Steps ? i would love to do the same on my Aconia W500 but i think the instructions on this post refers to a Bootable USB drive only

    • Sorry, I haven’t had a look into a permanent installation of android on the Iconia W500P Tab because I got it from some friend for some days. I just wanted to know if it is possible to run Android on it, which functions work and which don’t and how it performs.

  4. it is awesome !

    the windows button is operating and it brings you to the “Home” page. almost everything works just as expected except the Bluetooth which is still not turning ON but not a big deal for me.

  5. I’ve also installed Android on w500 but I have a problem. Every time you restart the physical keyboard is activated. The switch is set to on by defaul at reboot.

    And then every time you turn on the tablet you have to go into settings and turn off the physical keyboard to see the software keyboard on the screen.

    How did you solve this problem?

    Greetings

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  7. Hi, I have an Iconia W511 with win8.1; I follow the guide step by step but I have a problem (with many file iso and img that I tried): when a select android live or android installation, nothing works; It give me a black screen with a white cursor on the left top of the screen. What I can resolve ? Tks

    • Hello Claudio,
      I am very sorry but I cannot help you with that, since I had this tablet only for a few days, lent by a good friend of mine.

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