23 July, 2009

Twin Tact / E2831

The E2831 is a neat little touch screen dual mode (GSM/Wifi) Linux-based smart phone made by the Shanghai based manufacturer E28 Ltd. Features include Opera web browser, IPTV and SIP support, as well as bluetooth and a 1.3 MB camera. Importantly, can now be had for little more than a handful of peanuts.

A customised version was marketed in France by the Internet provider Neuf (or N9uf) Telecom as part of a quad play package that coupled mobile phone with VOIP. The Neuf software was designed to be easy to configure via the "Neufbox", Neuf's combined ADSL hub/modem/IPTV box. The VOIP identity was the same as the subscriber's GSM number. The handset can be used to watch TV via the Neuf portal. Since the Wifi connection is used to browse the net and connect to the portal (GPRS is also supported, but is expensive and slow), watching TV on the mobile is free via free hotspots. Interestingly, it also worked abroad, which means that the IP address is not used to restrict viewing geographically. TV viewing is, however, restricted to subscribers to the N9uf twin mobile service, who have to generate an ID code using their subscriber details.
Neuf has now merged with the mobile operator SFR. Or more accurately, SFR has completely swallowed N9uf. SFR was not too keen on the VOIP service. No doubt it was concerned that people would spend time and effort to hunt out free hotspots before placing their calls - something not borne out by observation! Be that as it may, SFR has stopped marketing the service and trying to "persuade" subscribers to migrate to new packages with a different price structure. They are now marketing various HTC handsets, though. The HTC handsets will have access to the forthcoming "Everyworld" portal including streamed TV. SFR has removed the web page that enables configuration files to be generated. many SFR-sponsored support forums have also disappeared.
Twin Tact's can now be picked up on Ebay.fr for around 30 to 40 euros. They may or may not be sim-locked in to the SFR operator. A real bargain for what is tantamount to a PDA with TV playing facilities as well as a cell-phone.
Finally, the so called software CD that Neuf supplies with the phone is a joke. All it does is point the user's browser to Neuf's download site, supposedly to "check for the latest version of the software". The CD itself contains no software or drivers at all. So Neuf/SFR can keep their hand on where the software goes.

Flashing the firmware
Doing anything at all outside the SFR box is really awkward on the Twin Tact firmware. SIP settings cannot be modified by the keyboard; the only way to change them is to change the update file and upload it to the phone. Either that or connect to the phone by telnet over the wifi link. I couldn't do the latter because the phone refused to work with my Freebox wifi. As for the former - finding the right drivers is a nightmare. Especially after all the files had been removed from one of the support sites.
The original E28 firmware, called Smarcore, enables multiple SIP accounts. It also leaves the IPTV module intact, but I haven't found how to enter the account to enable TV.

The procedure for flashing the firmware is set out here. However, the links to the files are not (at present) valid. The files to download and install the firmware are currently available here. Briefly, for those whose French is not up to it or in case the site disappears, the procedure is as follows:
Download the files: OMAP73x.inf, usbio.inf and E2831_080131_STUN_REL.tar.gz. Decompress the files into one directory and double click on flasher.exe. Switch off the Twin Tact, remove and replace the battery. Then (while it is still switched off) connect it to the PC with a USB cable. The software will then automatically install the new firmware. If necessary, use the Windows wizard to install the drivers first.

Links

Open Twin This is the best overall site for hackers. It includes a wiki, forum and files section. In French

Neuf's Twin portal, exactly as it appears on the screen


Download files Includes software to unlock the Twin Tact via Telnet, the Smarcore firmware, N9uf's firmware and software for organising your media.

Videos to download for Twin - no longer operating.

Forums

Neufmobile
Twin News
N9ws
Neuftalk

Blogs
Journal du Geek

13 comments:

RavanH said...

Thank you Salvador, for this extensive explanation on the Twin Tact and firmware. I have a burning question: Would the Twin phone still be usable with an SFR account after the firmware upgrade (reversal) ? And are there any more differences beside regaining the possibility to configure VOIP accounts?

Salvador Freemanson said...

Hi Ravan,
The file to return the firmware to SFR's version is on the same web site, but I haven't tried it.
Naturally you can use an SFR sim card with the Smarcore firmware, as it is unlocked. The IPTV functionality is still present, but accessing SFR's IPTV service is academec - as SFR no longer support SIP and mobile TV on wifi.
However, Orange are planning to introduce a similar service next year (early part of 2010). I saw a demo at the Orange press showcase and it looks very much like the service SFR have stopped. It will be interesting to see if it's compatible. I'll certainly try to find out.

Vasanth said...

Hi...I own the motorola A810. A phone which is manufactured by E28 inc based on same hardware...First some good news Android can be ported to your phone contact (edwardlee2002). Is the wiki page for your phone still operational because its down for maintenance or something .

Vasanth said...

Hi...I own the motorola A810. A phone which is manufactured by E28 inc based on same hardware...First some good news Android can be ported to your phone contact (edwardlee2002). Is the wiki page for your phone still operational because its down for maintenance or something .

RavanH said...

Seems Opentwin is down :(

@Vasanth - do you have a link to a how-to for Android on the E28 ?

Salvador Freemanson said...

Open Twin is indeed down!

However, the page with the files to download on it is still working, with the same address. Link in the middle of my post.
The opentwin discussion group is still active as part of Google Groups. Some of the open twin pages are still available in the google cache.

Anonymous said...

Hello Salvador, I have tried my utmost effort to unlock the fimware code of the n9uf mobile but all prove useless.Which of the simplest word or number code can i use to decode the mobile to access the networks in any country?The model is E2831.Than you.

Salvador Freemanson said...

Hello Anonymous
I don't really understand what you're looking for. When you flash the E2831 (that's the one I have too) with the original firmware, that automatically unlocks it for all networks. You don't need to enter a code.

Bob said...

Do you by any chance have the instructions on how to configure the SIP account for the phone? Mind got messed up and I can't seem to find it anywhere.

Salvador Freemanson said...

Hello Bob,
There's no particular problem to configure the SIP account. I take it you mean using the Smarcore firmware.
Quickly:
Menu, Tools and Setup, then select
WLAN
Then VOIP setting, thenh either New Profile (I think you can have up to 4 profiles) or select one of your existing profiles and click on Edit Profile. After that, it's just a case of following the onscreen instructions. Fill in the assorted fields with the details of your SIP account.
Then, click on the wifi icon to bring up the list of wifi networks. Then select one and click on the icon on the bottom left (I'm not sure what it's supposed to be a picture of) and select Edit. Scroll down and on the VOIP Server pull down menu, select the SIP profile you want to use. If you have only configured one, select that one because the default setting is None.

Anonymous said...

Salvador


Really thanks for your unlocking code of e 2831

RavanH said...

Hi, just a quick update: new file locations are

http://files.opentwin.org/tact/OMAP73x.inf
http://files.opentwin.org/tact/usbio.sys
http://files.opentwin.org/tact/E2831_080131_STUN_REL.tar.gz

Original instructions in French can be found on http://opentwin.org/wk/index.php?title=Installer_SmarCore

Use http://files.opentwin.org/tact/Neuf-1.32.3-update.exe to revert to the original Neuf version.

Jerry Gene said...

Very informative and worthy post. Thanks for the sharing such a precious updates with us.

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