Onyx T68 6.8″ Android eReader Update Borks Google Play

Onyx T68 6.8" Android eReader Update Borks Google Play e-Reading Hardware e-Reading Software Onyx has rolled out a new update for their larger ereader, the T68 Lynx, the week before last. There's been no formal announcement of the update, but a fellow Android ereader devotee tipped me to the news.

The T68 Lynx sports a 6.8" Pearl E-ink screen and runs Android 4.0 on a 1GHz CPU. It was originally released in June and has been updated a couple times since then. The new update can be installed from the T68; it can be found in the about menu under the settings menu.

I've installed the update and after testing it I would strongly urge you not to touch it. The update adds a number of features (as well as a fix for the touchscreen) but not all of the changes are improvements.

Also, I have encountered a serious problem.

Google Play is no longer accessible. Every time I try to open it, it either closes right away or freezes and then closes. According to the changelog, the update is supposed to add a way to manage your Google account (there was no option for this before), and I suspect that something was inadvertently broken instead.

This issue is particularly troubling because I just put my T68 Lynx through a factory reset. I don't have any apps at all, and now I can't install them. I am currently waiting on ArtaTech, one of Onyx's partners, to tell me how to fix this.

Update: After performing a couple factory resets, the problems have been resolved. ( For some weird reason I had to do it twice; the first reset didn't fix the issue.)

***

When it comes to the rest of the update, it's a mixed bag of useful improvements and changes that hurt more than they help. The official changelog is at the end of the post, and while I can't say that I tested all of it both my source and I noted several changes.

My source reports that his touchscreen now performs better; I never experienced the issues reported by some so I can't comment. The update adds several apps, including a sketchpad app called Onyx Scribbler and Drive and News apps from Midiapolis.

The update is also supposed to have added improved TTS, but since a recent factory update has deleted the Ivona folder I have no way to test it. There's also supposed to be a better option for Google accounts, but I (still) can't find anything which looks remotely like what I would expect on Android.

I can say that I've noticed that the icons in the menu bar have been rearranged; the option for the frontlight has been moved to the last position, and as a result I now have to press the more button before I can select it and adjust the frontlight. That was dumb; I need the frontlight more than I need the settings menu. (Also, the minimum setting is still too bright.)

But never mind the annoyances; after playing around with the T68 I have discovered that Onyx has also updated OReader, the stock reading app. I can't tell you whether the changes were made in this update or an earlier update which I missed, but I have noticed that the design of the app has changed - and not for the better.

The stock reading app used to default to a full screen mode with nothing at the top and only a minimalist progress bar at the bottom, but now screen real estate is wasted on a status bar at the top and bottom of the screen. And I can't find a way to make them go away, dammit. (To be clear, I used to have the option.)

But on the plus side, OReader is now considerably faster than it was when I reviewed the T68 Lynx in June. it now turns the page nearly as fast as the Paperwhite or the Aura HD. In June it was much slower.

I'm also seeing different options for fonts and other settings. For example, there is a slider bar for bold which I'm pretty sure wasn't there before. There's a similar slider bar for adjusting the contrast, but I can't see that it is having any effect.

***

All in all, I am really disappointed in this update.

It adds almost nothing which benefits me, while at the same time it ruined the reading app. That last isn't such a big deal, given that I can install 3rd-party reading apps, but it's frustrating nonetheless.

Changelog:

  • Improved touchscreen
  • Improved TTS
  • Improved google account management
  • Improved search field suggestions
  • Mediapolist drive and News Apps adds

Thanks, jafmaw!

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

16 Comments

  1. Mango2 November, 2014

    I had the same issue with Google Play. Another factory reset (sigh) fixed it.

    Reply
  2. jafmaw2 November, 2014

    Nate,

    I am wondering if maybe the factory reset is what really borked your T68.

    Both Google Play Store and OReader work fine on my updated T68. (I didn’t think to check OReader – thanks for the review!)

    No problems with updating existing apps or installing a new one.
    No problems making OReader go completely full-screen. (I must admit I like the extra configurability options and speed that OReader now has.)

    The Google Account options in the Onyx Settings app look like stock Android account options (you can individually update the various Google products such as apps, contacts, docs, etc.)

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder2 November, 2014

      So the changes to OReader really are new? Thanks for the confirmation; I wasn’t sure.

      As for the borked Google Play, the earlier update might have been the cause but a reset is not supposed to break things like that.

      Where do you see the Google accounts page, exactly? The only page I can see is a generic page which lets me configure an Exchange email account, a generic email account, or the two new apps that came with the update.

      Please let me know where you see the Google accounts page. I might be able to use that to fix the Google Play issue.

      Reply
      1. jafmaw2 November, 2014

        heh – I agree that a reset should not break things, but since it clearly zapped your Ivona folder, I figured who knows what else might have been broken.

        To get to the Google accounts (assuming that this is what you are looking for):
        1. Open the Onyx Settins app (from the menu bar)
        2. Tap the Extension icon (in the left panel)
        3. Tap Accounts settings (in the right panel)
        4. There is a ‘ADD ACCOUNT’ command on the right, and a listing of already-configured accounts below.
        I have 3 listed, all with my gmail address. The first is the actual google account; the others are for google-connected accounts like Dropbox and Evernote. Tap the google account and a listing of available sync options are listed (app data, calendar, docs, drive, people details)
        5. Tapping the ‘ADD ACCOUNT’ displays a list of available account types to create, including Google.
        6. Tapping ‘Google’ walks you through adding either an existing or new account.

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder2 November, 2014

          “Tapping the ‘ADD ACCOUNT’ displays a list of available account types to create, including Google.”

          I’ve got that menu but I’m not seeing any option for Google.

          Okay, I am truly borked.

          Reply
    2. CamilleBC15 November, 2014

      Nope, it’s not the factory reset that botched Google Playstore.

      It’s the Google Playstore bug after the update that forced Nate and I (and many other users) to factory reset our T68 Boox Lynx. I had to do it twice as well, as the first time didn’t change anything for me.

      Thanks for warning me Nate, I was quite frustated when the first reset didn’t change the broken Playstore !

      Reply
      1. Nate Hoffelder15 November, 2014

        Actually, I did two resets before the update. The first was so I could lend the T68, and the second was after it came back from the loan borked by the first reset. Then I updated, discovered it was still borked, and reset again.

        Reply
        1. CamilleBC15 November, 2014

          Yes sorry, I realised my mistake after I actualle posted my comment. ^^

          Reply
  3. TheGreatFilter2 November, 2014

    I suppose you can install an alternative launcher. I know you can on the Nook. It might not offer access to features like a light-slider though.

    Reply
  4. Rosa3 November, 2014

    After a recent update to my m96 from ArtaTech, Google Play stopped working as well. However, a factory reset fixed that. Maybe you could try doing another reset on your Lynx.

    As for the full screen mode in Oreader … well it is there somewhere. I know I assigned a double tap in the top area of the screen to toggle it and it hides the system bar. Before doing that you also need to configure how the full screen mode should look like.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder3 November, 2014

      I already tried a factory reset after the update, as suggested by ArtaTech. I still don’t have Google Play.

      “As for the full screen mode in Oreader”

      My working theory is that this is another part of the software which was borked.

      Reply
      1. Nate Hoffelder3 November, 2014

        Now this is weird.

        At the suggestion of ArtaTech, I have reset my T68 for yet another time. Now it works.

        Why and how factory reset fixed what it broke, I can’t tell you.

        Reply
        1. Rosa3 November, 2014

          Onyx software (I had 2 readers) always left me with many “huh?” moments…

          Reply
  5. Adam Kaczmarek - Arta Tech3 November, 2014

    Nate,

    We are investigating your problem, but factory reset should work.

    It’s not “Mediapolist” it is Midiapolis. Like Midiapolis.com.

    We have annouced the update on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onyxboox

    Reply
  6. […] T68 Lynx, including a web browser, note-taking app, and both of the Mediopolis apps that the Lynx got in an update this week as well as the more than adequate reading app […]

    Reply
  7. Adam Kaczmarek - Arta Tech8 November, 2014

    Still wrong Nate, It is NOT “Mediapolis” it is “Midiapolis” 🙂

    Reply

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