Kali Linux on Cherry Mobile Alpha Morph tablet-laptop hybrid

Finally got it to work, albeit some issues.

The Cherry Mobile Alpha Morph is a Windows 8.1 tablet-laptop hybrid. When I found out that it got a price-drop to almost half of its release SRP, I decided to grab one originally for the purpose of running Clash of Clans bot on it.

Then came the idea of installing Kali Linux on it so that I can get my hands on pentesting. I successfully managed to dual boot Kali Linux and Windows 8.1 on the Cherry Mobile Alpha Morph, however it isn’t an easy ride as there were limited discussions regarding it around the web as per my research.

I used Rufus to make a bootable USB from the 32bit version of the Kali Linux distro.

Disabled secure boot, silent boot, fast boot, and some other settings on the BIOS which I cannot remember exactly because I had done a lot tinkering to make this work, but still cannot get the the tablet to boot using the live USB; even if it was set as first boot device, although it works on a non-UEFI laptop (just to confirm that the bootable USB is working).

I installed rEFInd, thinking that it may help but it doesnt detect the Linux usb. But this did the trick:

  • Placed a bootia32.efi file on /EFI/BOOT/ folder in the live usb.
  • Placed the grub.conf file on /boot/grub/grub.cfg so that you can easily use Grub2 and select graphical install for Kali Linux then proceed on installing the distro as normal. Be sure that you already created a partition for this install so that you can still retain your Windows system.

*I will upload the files on next update*

The grub.cfg file is needed so that you dont have to type anything and can easily proceed on the installation. I chose graphical install in my case for ease.

With these files, the bootable usb is now detected by rEFInd, and I guess there will be no need to install rEFInd for those who wants to install Kali on their Alpha Morph tablet as this makes the live usb to finally work.

Kali Linux on the Cherry Mobile Alpha Morph is working fine, I tried some of the tools like detecting hidden AP’s, or hacking into WPA, although with some other issues:

  • the built-in wireless card (WiFi) is not working. Not much of a biggie, I will be using a USB wlan card (with monitor mode, of course) hooked up with the OTG cable to the tablet most of the time, and this is working out of the box btw.
  • the battery indicator is not working. It keeps on showing “estimating….” and acpi shows nothing, jut like the battery isn’t calibrated or detected at all. I am still looking for a fix to this but I am getting nowhere near. Installed a GNOME extension to show battery percentage but it shows at 100% all the time, if checked by booting into Windows 8.1, the battery status shows accurate info.
  • touchscreen isn’t working. I would love to have the touchscreen working with options on having an on-screen keyboard as this tablet isn’t really “lap-top-able” with the keyboard dock.
  • no sound, even doing the un-muting fix doesnt helps. It still shows no soundcard detected.
  • the front-camera led indicator is always on.
  • sd card slot isn’t working, but there is a fix. I found a fix on the same case with the Asus T100, tried it and can confirm that it works with the Alpha Morph Kali install.

I will update this post for progress.

Here’s a quick run-down of the Alpha Morph, might be useful for others’ devices with somehow similar specifications:

  • 10-inch HD IPS display @ 1280 x 720 resolution
  • 1.33GHz Intel Z3735D quad-core processor
  • Intel HD Graphics – Gen 7
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB ROM
  • with up to 64GB microSD support
  • 2MP front and rear camera
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n
  • USB OTG ready
  • 8,000mAh battery
  • Windows 8.1 OS

*update: I don’t plan to fix these issues anymore. I realized that the device does the job I wanted, and for the price of it, I shouldn’t complain more.

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