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Latest Features▼ Android

SwiftKey and Google Keyboard: Ever Heard of User Privacy?

unnamedA few days ago, I wrote an article here discussing some changes in Google Play Store permissions handling, and how these changes may have adverse privacy risks for users. The comments on that article indicated an overwhelming amount of concern from readers as to the permissions being used by applications, with many looking to use App Ops or XPrivacy to protect themselves.

Today, I’m going to take a slight detour and look at the permissions needed by two popular apps: Google’s first party keyboard, and SwiftKey. Both of these are keyboard applications, and both are available for download for free on the Play Store . . . READ ON »

Protecting Your Privacy: App Ops, Privacy Guard, and XPrivacy

After yesterday’s article about Google’s recent changes to the Play Store that post a number of privacy concerns for users, today we are going to look at the three most popular options for users to protect their own privacy on their Android devices. First though, let’s take a look at how they work, and what they are for.

Why Should I Care?

Since the start, Android has had a permissions system, to allow users to control what apps are able to do on their device. When an application is installed, the user is prompted to agree to the permissions that an app requires. The . . . READ ON »

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Latest Android Platform Stats Show KitKat up to 13.6%, Honeycomb Gone, Gingerdeath Continues

gingerdeathAt the start of every month, just like clockwork, Google releases updated Android Platform Stats that show the latest state of fragmentation in the Android ecosystem. This information is of course quite important to developers looking to better target their application development efforts.

When we last left off one month ago, we were seeing some rather positive  trends. Android 4.4.x KitKat was up to 8.5% from 5.3% the month before, resulting in a 60% relative growth. Unfortunately, Android 2.x was still hanging strong at 17.2% of devices last month. Also of note, that red-headed step child Honeycomb had been hanging in at 0.1% for several . . . READ ON »

[OTAs Captured] Android 4.4.3 Rolling Out to Google Play Editions, Kernel Source Available for HTC GPe Devices!

Today will undoubtedly be remembered the day of Android 4.4.3–at least among us die hard Android fans. Immediately following yesterday’s official release, we’ve seen quite a bit of Android 4.4.3-related activity. Early this morning, we saw the Android 4.4.3 OTA make its way over to the WiFi-only variant of the Google Nexus 7 (2013). Just a few hours later, we talked about all of the changes made in 4.4.3. Not too long after, Motorola began updating its “Moto” devices to 4.4.3. And finally, Google began rolling out the 4.4.3 incremental OTA to the flagship Nexus 5.

Now, we’ve . . . READ ON »

Next Version of Android to Bring Even More Root Headaches

About a week and a half ago, we took a look at a few recent AOSP merges initially spotted by XDA Senior Recognized Developer Chainfire that severely impact root app developers due to changes in SELinux, default runtime compiler, and the requirement of PIE (Position-Independent Executable) for non-statically built executables. These changes compounded previous headaches caused by commits that prevent SU from executing files stored on the /data partition. Luckily, potential workarounds for the above changes were quickly publicized by Chainfire when he updated his How to SU guide.

Now, the breakage continues, as new AOSP commits are poised to make life more difficult for root app . . . READ ON »

[APK] Google Issues Updates to Chrome, Goggles, Docs, Sheets, Device Manager, and Books

Just a few hours ago, we talked about how Google issued a major update to its Google Camera app. This update, which brought the app up to version 2.2, added two new panorama modes, 16:9 capture, and self-timer support. While this app update itself offered a great increase in functionality, it fell a bit short from what we’ve come to expect from Google Update Wednesdays. But although it is already Thursday in most parts of the world (including XDA HQ here on the US Eastern Seaboard), it’s still Wednesday evening over in Google land, and as such, we’ve got more Update . . . READ ON »

Apple Holding iOS Users Hostage with iMessage Flaw

We all have our own unique tastes. We favor certain styles of music, prefer certain foods, and enjoy making decisions about what products to buy. Because of this, something that we as consumers unanimously value is the freedom of choice. In the world of mobile devices, this freedom can be manifest in several ways: choice of installed applications, choice of wallpaper, choice of storage capacity, and above all, choice of device. Actually, we can go ahead and scratch that last one for iOS users looking to switch to Android.

Not too long ago, former Lifehacker Editor-in-Chief Adam Pash decided to make the jump from . . . READ ON »

Could the Nexus Program Come to a Halt This Year in Favor of Android Silver?

There are a few things that we as Android geeks look forward to every year. One of these things is undoubtedly the unveiling of new Google Nexus devices. And who’s to blame us? After all, with a Nexus device, you’re generally getting top notch hardware (with the exception of their cameras) at a bargain basement price. But beyond that, you’re also getting the promise of expedient Android version updates to keep up with newer generations of devices—well unless you’re rocking a Galaxy Nexus.

You may recall that over the past two weeks, we’ve seen a few hints at the names . . . READ ON »

Opera and Nokia Populating the Nokia Android App Store without Developer Permission

The Nokia X is quite a unique “Android” device. And when we refer to the X as such, it’s only in the loosest definition of the term. This is because the X packs such a heavily skinned UI that you’d never be able to detect its distantly removed AOSP underpinnings at first glance.

Naturally since Nokia is now officially owned by Microsoft, the Nokia X lacks access to Google Play and related Google services. Instead, the device relies on various Microsoft and Nokia services such as Nokia’s Android App Store. This app store is run by Opera, which in turn has its own Android app store.

So . . . READ ON »

Researchers at Columbia University Bring iOS Apps to Android

Up until a couple of device generations ago, Apple’s iOS held a distinct advantage over Android with regards to both application quality and quantity. But recently, Android apps have caught up, and in many ways surpassed what’s available or even possible on iOS. Much of this is due to Android now commanding the vast majority of smartphone market share, which in turn piques third party developer interest. However, a good deal is due to Android giving third party developers significantly more freedom than what is allowed by iOS.

Despite the increase in application quality and quantity, it’s not uncommon for a some relatively significant programs to be platform-specific. . . . READ ON »

[Updated APKs] Google Play Services 4.4 Brings Street View API, Activity Recognition, Game Services Update, Wallet Fragments, and More

Update: Many thanks once again to XDA Portal Supporter MihirGosai, who has sent in the APKs for all the screen size variants of Google Play Services 4.4. They can be found at the bottom of this post.

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Today, we’ve seen a spattering of first-party Android application updates. We first were given a nice update to the Google Camera application, which restored the ability to take still snapshots while recording video. We then saw several minor application updates to Wallet, Search, YouTube, Docs, Sheets, and Cloud Print. Now capping off today’s Google Update Wednesday, we have an update to Google Play Services 4.4

For those who . . . READ ON »

[APK] Google Wallet, Search, YouTube, Docs, Sheets, and Cloud Print Receive Minor Updates [Update: Drive Too!]

Update: It looks like Google Drive also received a minor update to version 1.3.144.25 (up from last week’s 1.3.144.17). We’ve gone ahead and mirrored it at the bottom of this post. Many thanks to XDA Portal Supporter MihirGosai for the heads up and APK!

Well folks, we’ve got ourselves yet another Google Update Wednesday! Earlier today, Google issued a fairly substantial update to its recently released Google Camera app, which brought back the ability to take image snapshots while recording video. And yesterday, we received a fantastic update to Google Maps 8. Now, we’ve got our hands on five more application updates . . . READ ON »

[Updated APKs] Google Maps 8 Brings Lane Guidance, Offline Maps Management, Location Filters, Uber Support, and Improved Public Transit

Update: We’ve added a mirror for the API17 (Android 4.2+) version in addition to the API18 (4.3+) version initially posted.

Update 2: Thanks again to Senior Member MihirGosai for providing us with the last APK for Android 4.0+ (API14).

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What in the world!? Two first party Google application updates on a day other than Wednesday within the span of one week? Last Friday, we saw a major update to Google Drive that removed its built-in editing capabilities in favor of integration with the newly released Docs and Sheets apps. Now, the Google Maps team has just released a . . . READ ON »

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