ICS Walkman Port for the 2011 Sony Xperia Lineup

In the past, we brought you news of the ICS Walkman app port to a couple of devices and the Walkman app ported to MDPI Xperia phones running Gingerbread. With the popularity of the Walkman port growing, so too is the number of devices it is ported to. With the Gingerbread port already solidly in place, the next step was porting the music application to Ice Cream Sandwich for the same devices.

The app is available for the Sony Xperia 2011 line running ICS, including the Mini, Mini Pro, Active, and Ray, and was posted by XDA Senior Member Rizal Lovins. The application installation process is rather simple. Download the recovery-flashable update.zip and flash in a custom recovery.

There are a few issues, however. A common problem is the Sound Enhancement forces closes for some, along with a few other bugs. For Sound Enhancement issues, users are instructed to clear data. It has also been suggested by some users to disable xLoud, as it’s known to interfere with the application. Otherwise, users are reporting that it works pretty well.

To learn more, head to the original thread.

Modded Xperia S Music Player Shows Up for Other Xperia Devices

It can be said without exaggeration that the Sony Xperia S has been one of the best Android devices ever when it comes to porting its software to other Android devices. Xperia S ports are simply everywhere, and range from a few applications to, in some cases, full blown ROMs. It seems as though nearly everyone wants a piece of Xperia S software love, and devs have been more than willing to hand it out.

The Xperia S ports to everywhere saga continues as XDA Forum Member Lasan has ported the Sony Xperia S proprietary music player, called MusicXS, to a range of Xperia devices including the Mini, Mini Pro, Active and Ray. The mod, which is a recovery-flashable update.zip, will install the music player along with all the libraries required for it to run properly. Says Lasan:

work fine with SoundEnhancement and Surround Effect. May be ported completed 99%

So not only are you getting the application, but also all the fun little options it comes with. As with Sony XLoud, users will be treated a modified music experience, and since the stock Android music player still doesn’t seem to understand that people want equalizers with their music, it’s definitely worth a shot for music lovers. However, there are some things users need to know before flashing. Says Lasan:

For devices other than WT19 (walkman), remove the default music files in /system/app/SemcMusic.apk with RootExplorer or Titanium Backup
For MIUI and GingerCruzt-XS, Music and all fix include to next update

Be sure that your device meets the requirements before flashing, and of course, make sure you have a Nandroid backup handy just in case.

For additional info, hit up the original thread.

Workaround For Flash’s Low FPS on Asus Transformer

Quite possibly, one of the only annoyances that plagues the Honeycomb stock browser is its inability to properly use its full 30 fps potential on flash videos. At least, this seems to be the case for a few custom roms in certain devices like the Asus Transformer. After doing a bit of looking around, XDA member Roach2010 found something interesting regarding a file that does not get installed after updating Flash Player versions. Discuss, decided to experiment a bit with this file and found that placing it back where it belongs allows the stock browser to play any flash video at 30 fps.

So far, the results seem to be promising, but not a whole lot of people have tested this. The dev has put it in a flashable package, so please drop by the thread, download it, and leave some feedback behind. One last thing, in case you are wondering how to determine if you are indeed running at 30 fps, the dev has added a link to a YouTube video used to determine this.

The problem is that some devices somehow end up with a missing file that the Browser uses to talk to Flash Player. In my case if I clear the Browser data and reinstall the latest version of Flash Player from the market the config file does not get recreated.

You can find more information in the original thread.

Want something published in the Portal? Contact any News Writer.

BBC iPlayer for Android

XDA member ADeadlySpoon let us know about the release of the BBC iPlayer for Android devices. The player will allow streaming of BBC TV and radio content and include many of the features from the desktop version, which include series stacking, live TV, and radio streaming. The player is working on Android 2.2 and up and it´s recommended to be run on a device with a good processor, flash, and 3G -data plan- or WIFI connection to ensure a smooth viewing experience. Get it for free on the market.
Please leave feedback or report any bug found.

Originally posted by ADeadlySpoon
[APP] BBC iPlayer for Android (and iPhone/iPad)

http://www.metro.co.uk/tech/855057-b…ad-and-android

http://www.worldtvpc.com/blog/bbc-la…-ipad-android/

The BBC have released an iPlayer app free on the market, it does exactly as the mobile site for Android does, it streams programs to our phones.

It only works for Android 2.2+ because of the need for flash player.
Try it out!

Continue to the original thread.

myPlayer – Live TV / On Demand streaming updated WM/Android

XDA member FryWalker presents an updated version of myPlayer for Windows Mobile devices, with it you can have access to Live TV and On Demand content directly without using your browser. The new version 2.0 lets you choose your own media player (CorePlayer v1.3.6 is recommended) and includes features like full streaming integration, live TV channels and live international radio stations amongst many others.
Working on WM 6 and up on resolutions QVGA, VGA or WVGA.
The developer also includes a version for Android devices.

Originally posted by FryWalker
Features:
> Choose your own media player – define how each stream is played (CorePlayer v1.3.6 is recommended‡)
> Full streaming integration – browse the content as you would from any other supported device
> Live TV channels – watch the popular terrestrial channels live (ITV, Channel 4, Five, etc.)*
> SBS Australia – content from the Special Broadcasting Service**
> Extensive TV feed index – hundreds of live TV feeds from around the globe
> Live Radio stations – a selection of International broadcasts
> Custom TV / Radio stations – add your favourites

* CorePlayer is required to watch the high quality live TV channels (please use this config.xml for the best experience)

** The SBS channel requires a Flash player, the Adobe Flash Lite application is recommended

Requirements:
> A media player that supports RTSP streaming and the mpeg4 codec (CorePlayer v1.3.6 is recommended‡)
> The .NET 2.0 Compact Framework (which is bundled with Windows Mobile Professional 6.0 and above)
> An internet connection that is based within the UK (for the terrestrial TV feeds)

‡ HTC’s bundled StreamingPlayer and Windows Media Player should also work for users with faster devices (for example the HTC HD2)

Continue to the application thread.

MyPlayer Updated To V.88b For UKians

MyPlayer was one of my favorite application back in the days of Hulu support, but even without this, users can still enjoy some BBC shows. The popular Windows Mobile application has now gone Android thanks to XDA member FryWalker, and it still keeps some of the good features we all love, without the bugs we all have grown to hate.

This is a light-weight application that provides access to the BBC iPlayer service directly – eliminating the requirement for a (flash-enabled) mobile browser.
myPlayer is also available on the Windows Mobile platform
** This application requires an Internet connection based within the UK **

Features:
> Extensive BBC iPlayer integration
> Fully featured programme search
> High quality downloads for offline viewing?
> Live TV and Radio
> Browse by iPlayer category
> Automatic stream quality (3G or wifi)
> Manual stream quality by preference

The application link can be found in the MyPlayer thread.

BBC iPlayer Updated

If you´ve been following development of BBC iPlayer, this major update will be of your liking. XDA member FryWalker incorporated the option to watch all the latest Soccer highlights from World Cup. The dev also added an option to keep the device awake while downloading. CorePlayer v1.3.6 is recommended as default player.
As in previous versions, QVGA, VGA or WVGA are supported on devices running WM6 and up.
An Android version is available too.

Originally posted by FryWalker
A light-weight application that provides access to BBC iPlayer, Four On Demand, Five On Demand, MSN Video and SBS directly – eliminating the requirement for a (flash-enabled) mobile browser.

Requires a QVGA, VGA or WVGA device running Windows Mobile Professional (Pocket PC) 6.0 or higher
myPlayer is also available on the Android platform

Updates:
v1.520

  • Fixed BBC iPlayer live TV streams
  • Added option to keep device awake whilst downloading
  • Fixed a bug relating to stream player preferences
  • All radio content should now be downloaded as mp3
  • TV and radio searches are now segregated.

You can find more information in the application thread.

myPlayer – BBC iPlayer / Hulu / 5OD / MSN / SBS

For those who want to have access to BBC player among others without using flash player, this is a good option to watch videos and content. Member FryWalker presents his updated latest version: 1.280.

Originally posted by FryWalker
A light-weight application that provides access to BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Four On Demand, Five On Demand, MSN Video and SBS directly – eliminating the requirement for a (flash-enabled) mobile browser.

Requires a QVGA, VGA or WVGA device running Windows Mobile Professional (Pocket PC) 6.0 or higher.
Features:
> Choose your own media player – define how each stream is played (CorePlayer v1.3.6 is recommended‡)
> Full iPlayer integration – browse the Mobile content as you would from any other supported device (including the search feature)
> Browse BBC iPlayer by category (Comedy, Drama, Entertainment, Films, etc.)
> Download high quality BBC iPlayer episodes to your device for offline viewing
> Hulu – watch a selection of your favourite US shows (Family Guy, Scrubs, etc.)
> Watch all the latest football highlights from around Europe
> Five On Demand – catch up with the latest content from Channel Five
> MSN Video – a further selection of streaming content to watch
> SBS Australia – content from the Special Broadcasting Service*
> Live TV channels – watch the popular terrestrial channels live (BBC1, ESPN, Sky News, etc.)
> Extensive TV feed index – hundreds of live TV feeds from around the globe
> Live Radio stations – a selection of BBC broadcasts
> Custom TV / Radio stations – add your favourites
> Search History – tracks the most recent searches for easy access

* The SBS channel requires a Flash player, the Adobe Flash Lite application is recommended

Requirements:
> A media player that supports RTSP streaming and the mpeg4 codec (CorePlayer v1.3.6 is recommended‡)
> The .NET 2.0 Compact Framework (which is bundled with Windows Mobile Professional 6.0 and above)
> An internet connection that is UK based (or a connection via the myPlayer server)

‡ HTC’s bundled StreamingPlayer and Windows Media Player should also work for users with faster devices (for example the HTC HD2)

*** Whilst streaming video this application will use a considerable amount of bandwidth – please ensure you use it via an unlimited data policy ***

User feedback is always appreciated and should help to improve the usability of future releases.

All of the content streamed via this application is copyright of the BBC, Hulu, Channel Five, MSN and SBS respectively.

Disclaimer: you should only watch the BBC iPlayer content if you are owner of a TV licence within the UK.

Latest version: 1.280

For help regarding installation and use of the application please consult the dedicated myPlayer Support page.

Updates:
v1.280
> Added Four on Demand channel to Catch Up view
> GPRS data usage warning is now displayed
> Various other minor bug fixes

Continue to thread

New ROM upgrade WM6.1 21127 v2.0 for Universal

Member thingonaspring made an important upgrade to his WM6.1_21127 v2.0 ROM for Universal

A lot has changed for this version, that’s why it’s jumped a bit to v2.0.

The kitchen’s been rebuilt extensively to support bepe’s platformrebuilder. The new kitchen adds the following handy features :-

– includes a proper XIP kitchen that re-cooks the XIP section on each build, allowing for more flexibility in the rom layout, if you’re into that kind of thing.
– relocation code is much improved, meaning modules are now stripped of useless sections and better allocated to WM6.1’s available virtual memory slots. Smaller, faster, better.
– suports newer “EXT” type kitchen addons, just place them in EXT folder and build.
– can support WM6.5. Which is nice.
– support for XPR compression as well as the Unis default LZX. XPR is a lot quicker to decompress, so it’s especially handy on 64mb machines that swap stuff in and out of pagepool a lot. It doesn’t compress as well as LZX though, that’s why the roms look bigger. XPR compresion was adapted from TPC’s Kaiser kitchen, so props to him.
– when building a rom with the kitchen you will now make 2 choices, memory size and compression type. After that the kitchen builds automatically up to the usual encoding app.

Changes for v2.0 :-
– both 64 and 128 roms use XPR compression – much faster than Uni’s default LZX
– all modular exe/dll/cpl/mui/tfx/plg components have useless sections stripped thanks to bepe’s platformrebuilder. This saves ram, virtual memory and other resources
– mp3dmod and msdmo dlls included to allow support for apps that use them (pocketplayer and google’s youtube app, probably others too).
– AKU bug fixed to make Market work properly (thanks responderman)
– Drivers completely rebuilt. I had no choice, PlatformRebuilder crashed while building the old driverset as most of the modules were pre-stripped. I’ve also made an attempt to fix some audio choppiness in A2DP, but it’s difficult to test as my A2DP headset is very bad at A2DP. Handsfree is definitely working fine.
– Smaller wince.nls used to save ROM+RAM
– Yet more unused files and modules removed.
– Opera Mini 5 added. This version runs native, unlike previous java-based opera minis. It’s a very fast browser with low memory footprint (about 6mb with a single tab).
– yet more memory freed up for 64mb users

64mb versiom has 4.0mb Pagepool. 33 Mb free RAM on clean boot with 200+contacts and appointments synced)
128mb version has pagepooling disabled
Flash Disk enabled
Extended ROM enabled

Removed :-
– Windows Media Player (TCPMP integrated to replace WMP)
– Office OneNote
– Customer Satisfaction (SQM)
– FirmwareUpdate
– Catalog
– Entertainment (games)
– Transcriber
– Getting started
– Bootsplash/welcome images
– MP3 ringtones not supported.
HTC’s ringtone extension takes up a lot of space in ROM and it’s very slow to load. Convert ringtones to wav instead

Included :-
– Opera Mini 5 native WM version
– TCPMP 0.72 recomp3 fully integrated to replace Windows Media. Suports WMA/WMV/FLV/FLAC/OGG/DIVX/MP3……. Uses hybrid plugins from 0.72 and 0.81 for best performance
– PocketNotepad
– PocketRAR
– AdobePDF Reader 2.5
– No2Chem’s USB to PC usb mass storage driver
– No2Chem’s neuPowerCpl replaces backlight settings, power control panel and adds some nice options.
Note that it won’t display advanced usage stats (batt temp etc) as no neuBattery driver exists for uni.
– Dutty’s SDHC driver package (tested with 2/4/8/16gb)
– PimBackup
– JWright’s Network Plugin (mount windows shared drives over wifi/activesync)
– TaskManager 3.1
– TotalCommander 2.5.1
– Windows Live 10.7
– Remote Desktop Client
– Office Mobile
– PNG/GIF graphics optimised for size where possible.

This rom has no bootsplash screens, so you will see a black screen on boot, followed by a white screen.
Tap the white screen to begin using the device on 1st boot.

Drivers, XIP section, registry, pagepool and filesystem have all been optimised for speed and RAM.

Every single EXE, DLL, MUI, CPL and plugin has been made into a module – with the exception of .NET libs (can’t be modular) and one or two specific DLLs/EXEs that will not execute in modular form. Again this saves memory an 64mb machines and speeds up access to executables.

Continue to ROM thread

6.1

Microsoft Expansion: Subverting Android One App at a Time

When it comes to operating systems, the name “Microsoft” is bound to ring in everyone’s ears. They deserve that recognition, given that they have been a major player in desktop computing since the early days of GUIs. While their advancements in the PC world are arguably some of the fundamental pillars of all software experiences we have today, the famous Windows offering wasn’t brought without a story reminiscent of imperial conquers. The tactics that brought Microsoft to the spotlight so many years ago were fierce then, and Microsoft still knows how to play.

When it comes to mobile operating systems, Microsoft had a good start with its original Windows offerings for what we’d now consider primitive smartphones. XDA’s birth and initial steps were largely dependent on adding extras to PDA’s (PDA… XDA… see the resemblance?) and the Windows smartphones of back then played a large part in forging a base for the community. Today we still have busy Windows Phone forums. Microsoft’s early advantage might have diminished, but it’s certainly not gone.

What might seem alarming to some, however, are the recent advances that Microsoft has made to try to regather that lost presence: some are apparent, some subtle, and some are wicked smart. Last quarter, Lumia phones actually outsold their year-before’s numbers by 28% and this is without a strong flagship in their line-up. This is not that surprising when you consider the smartphone focus shift towards the mid-range and emerging markets. While their Windows Phone revenue is still down, the Nokia termination of last year might have had a big part in this.

Microsoft might not be making huge strides in hardware or operating systems, but their scheme has turned into something a little more sneaky – not to say subversive. We can’t know what goes on at their HQ, but it is clear that they are exploiting the openness of other tech giants to expand their brands and services with several offerings over the past year. And this all seems perfectly coordinated on many fronts.

Microsoft had began expanding their app presence on other platforms while also strengthening their Windows Phone feature set. Cortana, their mobile voice assistant, has received pretty favorable reviews from both users and critics during its very early steps, for example. As far as their services go, they are very strong: revenue for their commercial cloud grew %116. Office subscriptions also went up from 3.5 million to 9.2 million in a year, but their revenue dropped as well.

With the latest software entrepreneuring of Microsoft, there seems to be a pattern: a lot of investment. While their numbers, adoption rates and practical evolution is there, the money is still bleeding away in some divisions. Not in a bad way, though, and certainly not in a Bing way. It is clear, however, that their presence in competing operating systems is growing. They had big consumer apps release lately, including a couple of lockscreens such as Picturesque (which also shows almost insulting signs of Microsoft service propaganda) that became rather popular among tech blogs (for reasons I can’t understand). But the meat of Microsoft’s plate is their serious services, and they made sure to show up to the ball too. What’s more, the previously mentioned Cortana is also coming to Android to take a shot at Google Now’s voice assisting crown.

Microsoft’s Office services hit Android this year, bringing forth a huge repertoire of productivity tools for those that want to transition from desktops to tablets in a flash. While Google’s document editing services are strong, Microsoft’s expertise in the field gained them the marketing push needed to become a presence in Android. Outlook made it to Android early in 2015 but not without controversy, as the application quickly got under fire for apparent vulnerabilities that rendered it unusable for enterprise. The fact that Microsoft could store credentials and other sensible data in the cloud in such a way made some wary, especially with Bill Gates’ Personal Agent project approaching reality.

But there’s more to Microsoft’s investments and incursion into Android: earlier this year it was commented that Microsoft would partake in a partnership with Cyanogen, beginning with a funding round of up to $70 million. This would have fueled rogue Cyanogen’s war against Google, and further destabilize the search giant’s control over its own platform – except that (perhaps luckily) the plan didn’t go through like it was reported it would, but deals are still not completely discarded and future Cyanogen devices could actually see Microsoft software.

Microsoft software pre-installed on Android sounds like a blasphemy, but it is actually a reality. If you still don’t believe Microsoft’s incursion into Android is at full force. the reports on the Galaxy S6 coming with Microsoft bloatware might change your mind. This is a smart move, given that the S6’s revolutionary approach to the old iterative releases of the S-line has sparked quite the demand, with pre-orders far outpacing previous years for Samsung. This could give Microsoft an extra bit of marketing given that this phone is in line to be one of the best-selling devices of this year – and perhaps of all time.

Microsoft’s platform agnosticism is also seen with their Microsoft Band wearable, and there’s been rumors of a Microsoft smartwatch for a while too. Given the incredible smartwatch line-up that is coming soon, as well as the strengthening of wearables as a whole, it wouldn’t be unimaginable to think that the rumors shouldn’t have stopped with the Band, for if wearables grow further Microsoft will be sure to take their piece of the cake. And given all of these attempts to exploit Android’s popularity to strengthen their own service ecosystem, it makes sense to expect such a product to be Android-ready.

So we’ve got an expansion of their Drive services, Office for Android offerings, more enterprise solutions aimed at Android tablets, a bunch of smaller apps with an emphasis on Microsoft service propaganda, possible relationships with Google’s newfound software rival and actual relationships with big OEMs. All of this on a framework of heavy investment with seemingly no neat profit, in an expansion plan for both hardware and software. Xiaomi, for example, is also ”helping” Microsoft test software to convert Android devices to Windows phones. While this is currently an experimental approach, the repercussions of finalized and available implementations could be enormous if done right.

What is the end-game of all of this? We don’t know, but the imperialistic expansion of Microsoft is not just smart, but also a very careful subversion disguised as typical corporate symbiosis. This all ties in too neatly into their upcoming Windows 10 release, which aims to provide a mainstream-ready platform that unifies gaming, media consumption, enterprise and regular computing into a single Microsoft-branded ecosystem. With the service adoption that these tactics bring them, as well as the recognition, marketing, and growth that come with them, one would think Microsoft is playing a good card game at setting up what could be one of the most massive software releases of all time.

There is a lot to discuss here, and we will address the different links between all of these tactics as well as their current and possible developments in a set of future articles circumventing Microsoft’s Android game. Expect to hear more about these topics soon, but for now we will leave you pondering as to what all of this could mean for the future of Android and personal computing as a whole.

 

Do you think Microsoft is playing a bigger game than what meets the eye? Discuss in the comments!

Lollipop Update Status: Who’s In, Who’s Out

Lollipop was probably one of the most awaited iterations Android has seen. While I remember everyone being crazy about KitKat and how it promised to finally optimize Android to the level we deserved, Lollipop’s enticing redesign sparked even more intense furor in enthusiasts. Developers too saw a great deal of novelty that would allow them to explore new possibilities, while users could thrive in the new options that the newer applications could explore – and it would all be wrapped in pretty Material Design language, that would result in a consistent, appealing and unobtrusive user experience. All of it was promising, and we were all left looking forward to having not just the pretty UI, but under-the-hood changes that would allow for a better app ecosystem from our developers as well. It all looked perfect, a little bit too perfect if you ask me.

The problem was that all of these changes were too much for most developers to push out in time. The thousands of new APIs, the innovative features, and the new design guidelines meant a lot of work for the engineers working for OEMs. And now we see the results of that complexity. Many companies vowed to provide quick updates: some like Motorola did so way before Lollipop, once they pushed out their almost-pure KitKat for their Moto G and Moto X devices in record time. Others simply promised deadlines that proved very hard to meet. And then for some markets it didn’t matter much if they did all of it in time, because carriers always get in the way.

So the official Android version distribution report that Google put out last month tells the story in simple terms, with the most efficient visual (on the right) cue you can have to understand just how little impact Lollipop had on the common Joe’s handset: Lollipop is not even there. This means that by the time this report came out, close to a couple of months after Lollipop was featured in the Nexus 9, less than 0.1% of the android user base was running Lollipop. The graph does show us some hope, though, given that the previous update to 4.4 is now on around 39.7% of Android handsets. But history is not always something to go by, not when the current adoption rates are so slow. Luckily, after all the waves of updates that we’ve been slowing receiving that number was pushed to 1.6% in yesterday’s report, while KitKat stayed strong at 39.7%. But this is 3 months after the original release. So what has taken OEMs this long, and what happened in-between?

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the Lollipop updates status of well-known manufacturers, to see who beat who in this race, and who kept up with their promises.

HTC

HTC had a noble promise for all of their users: they told the world that their M7 and M8 devices would both support Lollipop within 90 days of their November 3rd announcement. This mark meant a lot of time for users to speculate and impatiently await the update. Sense 6 would be brought up to speed with the cutting-edge software of devices like the Nexus 6, but not much was told about its optimizations and functionality. As the days went by, the Lollipop deadline was inching closer and closer and much digital ink was spilled on this tension, but luckily HTC was quite transparent about the process with a simple tracker of the updating progress. Soon enough, the Google Play Edition variants saw Lollipop for those stock-lovers. Other regions like the UK saw it released less than a week ago, and yesterday roll-out began in India. But North American carrier variants were told to wait as some complications have delayed the process.

Motorola

Following their one-off tradition of fast upgrades with the KitKat cycle, Motorola promised a quick update for Lollipop as well. They gave us a catalog of the devices that would be getting it and this showed they’d be the ones with the most devices in line for candy. While this list of 9 devices was an ambitious task, it didn’t prove to be an easy one. The first soak test OTA was captured for the Moto X 2014 before the official system-wide OTA rollout for Nexus devices, though, so in this regard Motorola beat even Google itself in their own game. On November 12th Motorola had already began rolling out Lollipop for their latest phones in the US, with Pure Edition owners being the first of the bunch. But Moto devices were no exception to slow Lollipop rollout phases – first and second generation Moto G’s got updates in India and Brazil (arguably two of the biggest markets for the budget phone), but the rest of the world saw a delay. They tried to explain why in a blog post, stating that it is a complicated process and that they wanted to ensure a quality upgrade.

Samsung

In an interesting turn of events, Samsung was actually very fast in their updating process. We actually received reports of the updating process, as well as previews. Samsung teased lollipop as early as October 21st, and we also got full blown-out previews of the test builds in action around the same time. But what was definitely a surprise – and one full of goodies for XDA users – was that there were numerous Lollipop test build leaks that one could flash on their devices, and they were surprisingly stable and we analyzed their performance at the time. Eventually reports said that Lollipop would be available by January. But users in Poland had already seen the Lollipop update for the S5, and Spain saw it shortly after. By January 5th, the rollout was reportedly complete in a number of countries and all of Europe. The S4 GPE saw Lollipop early as well, and the Note 3 had its official OTA delivered in Russia less than a week ago. As for the beloved Galaxy Note 4, that one is not coming out soon, supposedly due to the changes needed to be worked upon the Gear VR functionality. This last bit is a sad note on an otherwise excellent procedure, as the latest and greatest Samsung has put out has to wait further than other older, weaker devices. But cheerful news came today, as we learned typically-slow Verizon began the update procedure for their S5 variant.

LG

This company was also one of the bunch that jumped on the Lollipop Announcement wagon right before it set off. The G3’s Lollipop update was revealed in October 27th. On November 9th there were reports that the G3 would get Lollipop that same month, and on that same day we covered the leak of the 5.0 update courtesy of XDA Senior Member timmytim. The Polish G3 saw Lollipop in this time frame as well. Now, if LG would have stuck to that route plan, they would have beat Google at their own game in their own turf just like Motorola did. But for some reason, this was not the case. South Korean users got the treat early as expected, given they are LG’s own home territory. While the G3 reportedly saw Lollipop in Europe on December 15th, American users were left out of the update procedure and in the end, the general consensus pointed towards disappointment and frustration for those in the US. The LG G2 saw no Lollipop love either, despite fans getting screenshots and videos of the update on that phone as early as October. Luckily, LG Mobile USA tweeted last week that the G3 would be seeing Lollipop very soon. Let’s see how that goes.

Sony

Sony is typically considered a very reserved company, and because of this they haven’t seen nearly as much buzz and controversy on the rollout as other manufacturers have. But an interesting turn of events for the Japanese giant is that they were adopting not one, but two Lollipop build models for their phones. Sony announced rather early that they’d be bringing Lollipop to their entire series of Xperia Z flagship devices, including the January 2013 Xperia Z, on the first months of 2015. On November 7th we heard about beta tests for the Z1, Z2 and Z3 under Swedish carrier 3’s users, and we had also learned about Sony’s effort to bring AOSP to Xperia devices through Sony Developer World. In January we got some more details about the Lollipop update procedure and release plans, as Sony had mentioned at CES of this year that the update would come in February of 2015. Sony’s helpful developer relationships mean great collaboration with XDA, and they even instruct you on how to build your own Xperia Lollipop if you so choose, which is handy if you are one of those that don’t want the Xperia UI on their phones and want to contribute towards a better custom ROM community.  It’s either that or the misaligned buttons that the Sony Lollipop update supposedly features, which we still haven’t gotten either.

Other devices

We only covered the biggest and latest devices from the main OEMs out there, but obviously every (good) manufacturer has it in its best interest to bring Lollipop to their latest phones and their upcoming devices. Devices like OnePlus One has now entered testing, for example. But what you should strongly consider if your device hasn’t gotten Lollipop and will not get Lollipop (either any time soon or at all), is looking at your device’s sub-forum here on XDA and looking in the Development pages for Custom ROMs you can install yourself. While they typically aren’t as polished as an OEM official firmware build, they can breathe some life back onto your devices. ROMs like CyanogenMod 12 are being widely ported to many handsets from all manufacturers, so for that alone it is worth a look. I personally did this with my oldest functional phone and it was resurrected.

Who won?

I wouldn’t say there’s a clear winner here. Most manufacturers have faced struggles getting their candy out into the world, and understandably so. While it might be easy to sit and pout ranting about how this or that phone didn’t get Lollipop, the biggest players seem to be having a real effort this time towards supporting devices. The S4, for example, was barely in-line for an update and it got a very nice ROM that seemingly fixed all the TouchWiz performance nuisances. And Motorola had the ambitious plan of supporting close to ten devices for a single update rollout. Others like HTC only had a couple that they adamantly promised would put out and they only succeeded partially, as their biggest market was left without the goods. Meanwhile, LG also failed in the same territory. Sony stayed humble and didn’t necessarily over-promise, which is good, but their build doesn’t leave high hopes either.

All in all, it has been a hard season for those who want to stay updated, and the statistics are a crystal clear reflection of all the stories we just recapped for each manufacturer. Lollipop is definitely a great update with some much-needed improvements, but the fact that Google itself released it in such a buggy state that had to be repeatedly addressed with updates meant that developers had extra work put towards fixing or mitigating many of the problems that weren’t fixed in the original build. So while it is frustrating that Lollipop has had such a slow roll-out, it is justified as such a big update came with inevitably big problems. But the wait is worth it, and those that taste this Lollipop are sure to find out just how sweet Android can get.

 

Did you get Android 5.0 running on your device yet? Tell us in the comments!

ITaaS – Identity Theft as a Service with FileThis

It’s not often I look at a product or service and say “I really really hope this isn’t real, and it’s an elaborate fake“. Alas, this day has come. It’s time for a look at something which cropped up on my radar today, namely a service called FileThis. I won’t do them the search-engine-ranking honor of providing a direct link to their site, but a quick search will find them, and their app on the Play Store and iTunes store.

With the increasingly-moronic “cloud” ecosystem of endless venture-capital funded start-ups, all trying to make your life easier (while getting their grubby mits on your data), why single out FileThis? Quite simply – they must be in the running for either the most naive and stupid product of the decade (I feel confident in saying this only half- way through the decade!), or they have pulled off one of the best “fake” product launches I’ve ever seen, as a parody to raise attention to a cause. In either case, they deserve some attention! I mean, isn’t that the goal of every start-up?

What is it?

FileThis aims to make your life easier by helping people to become organised. They do this by retrieving your bank statements, insurance certificates, credit card bills, investments details and bills, and storing them in the cloud for you. It’s effectively a web scraper (to quote the PC World review of it, from 7th January). Except this is not like any other web scraper. It’s a web scraper which you provide the login information for your bank accounts and credit cards to. In fact, FileThis claims to support “over 400″ different sources of paperwork, which they can retrieve and hold for you.

So What?

The only problem with gathering all these bank and credit card statements, insurance policy documents, and other bills (such as contract phone bills, and subscription satellite or cable), is that you’ve now just created a single point of failure. You’ve given all your passwords to a private company. But who are they? Why should you trust them? Would you hand over your bank statements to that man who stands outside the subway station on your way to work? Would you give your health insurance documentation (which could easily include details of claims and similar) to the disheveled beggar with the guitar outside Starbucks? I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t do either. At risk of this appearing irrelevant, let’s take a look at who FileThis really is. Going from their website, a whois check on their domain name doesn’t reveal much. It confirms the domain is registered by a “Loyal Bassett”, of “FileThis.com”. Keep this name in mind, we’ll return later. There’s no physical address given, and the site is hosted on Amazon’s infrastructure. The real world equivalent of this is most probably “no fixed abode”.

Let’s recap – a company of no clear abode is asking you to trust them with your bank statements and other financial information, as well as the login details for these websites! Does this sound a good idea?

Digging a Deeper Hole

With the above revelation, I took things a bit further – they have an EMV SSL certificate, which means their corporate existence was verified by the certificate authority which issued the certificate. Sadly, this means little in the days where new companies can be formed and closed at the drop of a hat, and the signing of a few forms. Eventually, I stopped trying to find more about where they were based, and looked more at how they were funded.

It turns out FileThis isn’t just any old company, but a private company, which currently has debt-financed itself to the tune of $1.4 million. That’s quite a lot… Would you give out your credit card bills and bank statements to someone who was in a million dollars’ worth of debt? I wouldn’t. Not even if I trusted them! While there’s nothing to indicate that FileThis have any criminal intentions (nor is there anything to indicate the contrary), you wouldn’t do it in person. I wouldn’t give my best friend a bank statement, if he was even $1000 in debt…

In the process of investigating their funding, I came across their filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which at least confirmed they had a physical presence and existence. But it wasn’t exactly forthcoming. Interestingly, their website shows their management team. None of them are the above-named “Loyal Bassett” who appears to own their internet domain. Having looked through their brief biographies, it’s clear they have set up shop with:

It’s almost like the start of the traditional bad joke – three of the least likely people to protect your private data, are asking you to hand over your online banking passwords. And the programmer, coming from Adobe, will obviously never make any mistakesever… Especially not security ones

Other Problems?

Something else that is worth considering is that using a service like FileThis is really not a good idea. You’re liable for any transactions that are carried out using your bank login credentials. It’s also often against the terms and conditions to give your login details to anyone else. While not an expert in US banking, it’s clear from my very quick research that, for transactions made via online banking, you are responsible for them, if your credentials were used. Similarly, fraud prevention liability guarantees (such as that by Bank of America), state specifically “don’t share personal or account information with anyone.”

By giving login credentials to your bank, you’re exposing yourself to immense risk of identity theft. Anyone gaining access to your cloud storage would have access to all your statements, policies, and personal documents. Would you upload your bank statements to Dropbox (and again), or Evernote (again) or Box? Because that’s what they’re suggesting. Alternatively, you can store your files with them… Them, with only one person claiming any kind of computing qualification. Who appears to juggle security along with his other 2 main tasks. Is that enough to protect your data?

Encryption???

FileThis claim, like most services do, that they employ encryption of your data. Indeed, they actually give some technical details. But from reading through their website, it suddenly becomes much more clear that your data doesn’t seem to be nearly as well-protected as they claim. There’s no mention made at all about encryption when looking at their claims of supporting Box or Dropbox. Both of whom (as mentioned above), have somewhat less than stellar security pasts, Dropbox in particular! FileThis supports syncing with Personal (and Personal seems to use encryption to store your data), but as with most cloud-based products that claim to offer encryption, the web server is able to show your data in the browser, meaning the keys are available to the provider. And, unsurprisingly, given the situation for Dropbox and Box, the Google Drive integration doesn’t encrypt your data.

Besides, while they claim to store data on their systems, they offer their own cloud storage too; (jack of all trades, master of none, springs to mind here)! Anyway, given you can access your data via their website, they are in possession of the encryption keys necessary to decrypt it and view it. Which means if they lose the keys, or if those are stolen, or their service is compromised, an “identity theft 101″ package is all there, and ready for you.

In their terms and conditions, FileThis state that

Protecting your documents and your account passwords and user names is very important to us. We make every effort to ensure that these are secure against unauthorized access and disclosure using a variety of authentication, encryption and security processes and procedures. However, in the Internet Age, there is no 100% guarantee of such security and you understand this and agree that the Service is provided “AS-IS” and without warranty or guarantee.

As a measure of the confidence that FileThis has in its security precautions, all FileThis officers use our service just the way you will.

If using FileThis is a prerequisite to working for them, I can certainly say that their own employee’s confidence in their own product is foolhardily high. The code isn’t open source, so it can’t be audited for flaws. This service is a huge target – if you get a password, you win the ultimate identity theft jackpot – someone’s literal, entire identity, including all the documents you would need to apply for ID and credit in their name, or even to authenticate to their bank as themselves. Just think – when your bank asks for past transaction information for security, anyone with access to your statements can do this! Including your “cloud” statements.

Talking Twaddle

Sadly though, FileThis also talk twaddle, to try to confuse their users with technobabble. They say on their security page that

The credentials to your FileThis account, and to all your account connections are encrypted from the moment they are entered. On our servers and in our database, your credentials are encrypted utilizing AES 256-bit encryption, which is the highest encryption standard available today. Bottom line: even if a hacker could get access to your credentials on our servers (they cannot), it would be impossible for them to read any of the data.

OK, let’s take that at face value, and presume their security is good! The problem is that their service accesses your credentials, in order to log into those sites, and retrieve your data. Anyone breaking into their servers would have access to the decrypted contents, as they would have access to the requests being made to the remote systems (the banks and other companies). Since they can check for new documents when you are not online and logged in, they do not require your password in order to access your account data, meaning they hold the keys to decrypt the data in their database. Your data is encrypted there, using a key which is held within their infrastructure. That’s simply not nearly as secure as they suggest!

If someone gets in, they’ll get your account passwords, and be able to find out which accounts you sync with. While if you sync your data externally, it might not be held on their systems, they still get access to it “in transit” (where an attacker could ex-filtrate these files by carrying out a second access to the files directly, rather than passing them on to the cloud storage service you use). You are therefore entirely reliant upon their one guy, with 3 things to do, being a security expert. I’m sorry, I don’t know him personally, but I don’t believe for one moment he’s good enough at that. We all make mistakes. Him included. And I guarantee he’s made a mistake here, even if that mistake is simply in working for this company.

Is it a Hoax?

I really, honestly, wish this was a hoax by someone from the information security scene, to prove a point, and make fun of peoples’ blind and stupid trust in “the cloud”. But from all the digging I’ve done, I cannot find anything to indicate this is the case. They appear to have gone through with making a working product, with an app on the Android and Apple stores (the latter having relatively stringent approval processes which test functionality). While this idea still seems so stupid I must leave the disclaimer this may still be an elaborate hoax or honeypot, to steal people’s identities (hey, who says being audacious doesn’t work? Just ask them for their details, then you can’t be accused of stealing them!)

But there’s more!

As much as I do hate to sound like an Apple product launch keynote, there really is more! It turns out, upon reading the terms and conditions of the service,

For purposes of these Terms of Use and solely to provide the Account Information to you as part of the Service, you grant FileThis a limited power of attorney, and appoint FileThis as your attorney-in-fact and agent, to access third party sites, retrieve and use your Account Information with the full power and authority to do and perform each thing necessary in connection with such activities, as you could do in person. You understand that the Service is not sponsored or endorsed by any third parties accessible through the Service.

So there you go! You’ve just appointed a power of attorney over your finances! Did you realize you could grant someone a power of attorney through a click-wrap agreement? Nope; neither did I! Oh well, from this wording I see here, this is effectively a full power of attorney. If they wanted to take all your money, and send it to themselves, you’ve just agreed they can have “that full power and authority” to use your account information to do so. While I don’t believe for a moment that this (hilariously stupid) power of attorney agreement would stand up to even the least technically inclined of judges, it’s still rather shocking that people have signed up for this service and use it!

What if I’m a Business?

fileitpro

FileThis aren’t just trying to target the naive and less technologically inclined consumer. Oh no, for they are also trying to target financial professionals. Their “Pro” service is just as idiotic, but to a new level, since (in theory) your financial advisor or accountant, or tax advisor, is now fair game, encouraged to use FileThis to store their customers’ data. I don’t know about you, but if I can tell you for sure that if I used an accountant (hint, just do your finances yourself, it’s not difficult! Just learn a bit about finance), and they used this service to store my data in some “cloud”, that would be the end of the business relationship. And I’d report them for professional misconduct and negligence in handling personal data.

People go to financial professionals on account of their professionalism. Not of their ability to sign up for (and deposit your private statements) into a cloud based “FileThis Pro” service. If ever there was a data mine to attack, this is it… The data held within these accountants’ accounts (not computer scientists, unlikely to pick a good password) would be people who had enough money to be worth stealing the identity of.

The whole concept of FileThis (and FileThis Pro, for the incompetent “professional” who wants to put their clients at tremendous risk) flies in the face of events of late, where criminals and other nasty people gain access to the accounts of other people on “cloud storage” and steal their files. And it doesn’t matter how it’s done – once your bank statements or credit card/utility bills are stolen, your identity is as good as gone. It doesn’t matter who is to blame – your credit will most likely be ruined, and you’ll have some rough years ahead of you, trying to recover. If someone’s data found its way onto a torrent, it would be around, effectively forever more. It doesn’t matter who is to blame, you will suffer the inconvenience. To even suggest a professional might use a service like this is so unbelievably audacious that I initially felt this was confirmation FileThis was a hoax. But alas, perhaps people really are that stupid as to use it.

Rounding Off

I started this wishing it was a hoax, and I finish it wishing it was a hoax. I’m not sure it really is – there are definitely people out there using this! And it’s (in my opinion) probably the most stupid thing I have ever seen done on the internet. And I mean that, as someone who remembers when the internet was browsed using a text-only browser, and chat meant dialing into a BBS server. And where “file sharing” meant writing a file onto a tape, rewinding it, and carrying it to their house, to have a drink while waiting on it to load up… Only to jam.

If you have used FileThis, I urge you to delete your account with them, and delete your data. Then send them an email, to ensure they really did remove it all. Then go to every account provider you used, and reset your passwords. Then sign onto a credit monitoring system, and keep an eye to ensure nothing strange happens. Then go to your cloud storage accounts, and delete any files it stored there. Then purge them out of any undelete feature or history. The fact is, you won’t be able to get rid of them – they keep backups. So now cross your fingers, pray, and hope for the best for the next few months (and that they do delete backups eventually). This is 2015. You wouldn’t trust a man sitting in the street with your identity and financial life, and nor should you trust some random company, appearing out of nowhere, which claims to look after your data.

Dear internet, please think about this for a minute, and let’s go back to the old days where we were a bit more skeptical of everything. I’m skeptical this service is even real, given just how bad an idea it is. If it’s for real, I just sincerely hope it fails sooner than later, so less peoples’ lives are ruined when their identities are stolen. All your bank statements, credit cards, store cards, utility bills, and insurance documents in one place? Am I going insane – do people really think that’s a good thing to store online, in the cloud? Sadly, today, it seems they do. And that’s just asking for trouble!

Seriously though… How do you know this company is legit? A flashy website? A few well-worded webpages in a quick-to-make WordPress blog? A fancy SSL certificate available to anyone that registers a company? The fact they sent out a press release or two (which anyone can do)? Criminals are not exactly going to call their service “identitytheftasaservice.com” – they would pick something more believable, like FileThis. Stay safe out there, folks. The internet is full of dangerous people, who don’t have your best intentions at heart. And who would like to get you to sign over power of attorney to them.

What do you think about this? Is it a hoax, or is it real? Would you use it? Do you know anyone who’s used it? Share your thoughts below.

Source: FileThis via AndroidPolice (who seem to think it’s a good idea and portray it relatively positively in their article…. go figure!)

Not Retired: Five Things to Do with Your Veteran Devices

XDA is full of power-users and developers. And both groups, which often intersect, usually love new hardware. Some of us crave the extra possibilities and functionality that a shiny brand-new phone might bring to the table. Whenever I buy a new phone, people often comment on how “my old phone was fine”, and that I really didn’t need a new one. And they aren’t necessarily wrong, either! I don’t buy too many phones as I simply lack the cash (typically upgrade every year), but when I see a good deal I take it, and as it happens to be my last two deals were done while I still had functional hardware, even if a bit old.

While casual users don’t understand the affinity some of us have towards exploring new devices and sitting on first row seats to witness technological advancement, they are right to point out that some people, myself included, don’t necessarily need a new device every year. Upgrades are getting more and more marginal with every flagship cycle, and each year the gap between a mid-range phone and the latest flagship shortens in specifications and widens in price. But that won’t stop the more tech-inclined from shelling out a few hundred for a nicer user experience. And considering that Android is a source entertainment, hobby and work for many of us, I think that upgrades are somewhat justified – just like a new expensive golf club or set of construction tools could be. If anything, our purchases have a further-reaching effect on our daily routines, given that smartphones and the internet are deeply integrated into people’s lives nowadays.

But when that (or those) magical time(s) of the year of Smartphone Christmas hit our doorstep, what do we do with our old devices? Do we simply forget about them, and leave them in a drawer somewhere collecting dust? Our casual user friends and family  would justifiably rant at us (or ask us if they can have it, a question I’ve been asked often). They are right in doing so, because we’d be wasting an expensive and, most importantly, powerful and useful electronic that has no real reason to sign out of duty just yet. While your new phone might be able to do everything your old phone can and more, there’s now the benefit of not having to obsessively worry about a call not reaching a flat-lining phone, or hesitate to play that session of intense gaming, or the like. Basically, battery-conscious, self-imposed constraints disappear entirely. And even then, there are some useful possibilities without the need to actively use the old smartphone for actual or typical smartphone uses.

In light of our discussion post about cool things you can do with your Android devices, let’s take a quick look at some of the best uses our users have suggested as well as some other things one can do.

 

Wi-fi Router or Hotspot

A good use for an old smartphone is using it as a Wi-Fi hotspot. While this is a great feature that is sometimes blocked on some phones or carrier plans, there are plenty of guides here on XDA to unlock the functionality on just about any phone and any carrier. And virtually all popular custom ROMs have the option available for you to use.

As many of you know, a wi-fi hotspot lets you use your data connection as a virtual wi-fi network that any device with a wi-fi modem can use. This is great for those of you who are on the move a lot and need to use internet on your laptops or tablets in a pinch. Additionally, I personally find it extremely useful whenever my internet service decides to die on me momentarily. Finally, many developing countries have broadband that is either too expensive or has an nonexistent infrastructure. If you fall under any of these categories, you can probably find cheap data-only plans, and in some countries you can get rather cheap “unilimited” data-only plans and SIM cards.

Some of our users have listed some nice uses for such a scheme. You can do many things without having to worry about your main wi-fi connection (and possibly data, if your main phone is on a different carrier) taking any hits. But given the fact that 3G and 4G aren’t quite as reliable as wi-fi and that speed can unexpectedly be throttled, it’s best reserved for downloading stuff you’ll use later, like torrents or XDA custom ROMs. Nevertheless, the possibilities are virtually endless here.

You can also use your phone as a wi-fi router for your house! Through wi-fi tethering, you can use your phone as a hotspot without the compulsory enabling that some carriers charge you for. But you can also use it as a switch to connect wireless devices to each other, in what is known as a dirty LAN (local area network), and to extend your wi-fi. With this you can share files, play multiplayer games, stream video, and more. There are apps and ROMs that enable you to use your phone as a router or repeater but these can vary from phone to phone. One alternative suggested by XDA user klauser is popular app fqrouter. Here’s a quick guide if you have trouble setting it up.

 

Home Controller

If you buy new phones often you might also have a few other electronic devices laying around your house. Universal remote controls work for IR based devices, and sometimes bluetooth. But if you’ve got an old Android device, you can use it for either one or both (depending on your model).

Some popular Galaxy devices like the S4, S5, and Note 3, as well as some LG devices and a variety from other manufacturers have built-in IR sensors that can be used to control many of your appliances and electronics like Stereo systems, television sets, or kitchen tools. There’s plenty of wonderful applications for doing so, but most built-in or free solutions focus or are limited to TV control. While expensive, the best solution I’ve found for an unified IR remote is Smart IR Remote. It will cover virtually every kind of device and has support for thousands of different models from hundreds of brands. It is definitely a worthy investment.

Then you can also use it as a bluetooth controller for the same kind of devices, and more! If you want, you can also use the phone as a media streaming device connected to speakers, like XDA user ddrager does. A good application recommended is InControl, which ties into our next point: If you are one of those who love automation, you can also use it as a control for all of your house automation needs. There’s plenty of apps for house automation. To save you some trouble as to which you should check out, I’ll redirect you to our XDA TV comparison of home automation apps by XDA Developer TV Producer TK.

If you are daring enough, you can also make your own automation scripts through Tasker. The benefit of this is that with a plugin such as auto-voice, and the always-listening functionality of Google Now while charged, you can have your old plugged-in device function as a voice assistant that you can order to turn your house appliances and lights on or off! This can turn your home into an actual “smart house” to some extent, like the kind you saw on TV growing up, or the ones that are currently being marketed for extra hundreds of thousands of dollars – much cheaper alternative, don’t you think? If you need help with the basics of Tasker, head over to this guide by XDA Senior Member brandall.

 

Security Cameras and House Monitors

Your smartphone can save your life! Or itself, from potential robbers. While this is a little bit more complex to set up than some other uses, it is one that can potentially save you a lot of money in the long run. Security camera network systems can be very expensive, both those sold for commercial and for private use cases.

Not only can you make IP cameras with your old phone, but they can also act as noise/sound detectors. This way, you can use your Android phones to monitor anything from your valuable safebox to your valuable children… and if you don’t have any other phones, I guess they can monitor human children too.

You won’t need much, and there are many guides out there to help you on setting this up as it can be a complicated process for some people. Realistically, all you’ll need is the phone, the charging cable and a wi-fi network. The software you will download varies in price, but there’s many free alternatives if you search for them. Applications like IP Camera are free and allow you to stream to any browser or VLC Player, and provides a constant feed. You don’t need actual internet connection, mind you, just a wi-fi network. There’s also a paid SECuRET SpyCam app that features automatic dropbox uploading, and acts on motion triggers to take pictures or videos. If it detects anything, you can be notified through email or twitter as well.

If you want to check out a guide on how to configure apps like these you can use this one courtesy of howtogeek. Having tried this myself in the past, if you are anything like me I can tell you that the hardest part is not the software set-up but the hardware mounting, but that could just be me having poor handyman skills! XDA Senior Member jherbold and Maddbomber83 have suggested a variety of applications to make your security network a pleasant reality, including Synchronize Ultimate for cloud syncing your recordings, Motion Detector Pro to take footage of your house invaders, NoiseSensor which has a self-explanatory name, and a couple of IP Camera alternatives:  IP Webcam for free and tinyCam Monitor if you feel like spending some money.

 

Getting rid of it

How is that a use?! It’s actually a great use! You might not want to do anything with it, either because you can’t be bothered or just don’t feel a need to do so. And you don’t want people to nag at you do you? Just because it is older it doesn’t make it worthless! If you’ve got a desirable flagship, it’ll still hold some value a year later, and depending on the condition you could get a good deal for it on the internet. Then you can use your newfound money to help you buy more Android phones! There are many forums and websites for device trading out there, and we at XDA used to have a Marketplace forum ourselves. But now we have an official Marketplace in the form of our affiliation with Swappa, which is a great way to buy and sell mobile devices like your old phone and tablets. Being an XDA user, you can even sign in with your XDA account’s username and password! And you can advertise your sale on your XDA signature, too.

Swappa has been around for many years and has built a great reputation and legacy with astonishingly positive feedback towards customer service. The staff is very involved with transactions and there are strict rules to ensure safe trades without scams or deceit. Finding what you want is easy, and selling your veteran Android trooper is very easy to do – and the prices are more competitive than in other less formal, less secure and less known websites (particularly trade forums like craiglist – you don’t want to buy a convincing chinese clone!).

But you don’t have to sell it, either. You can also donate it to a non-profit to make someone’s life a little easier. In this day and age, globalization is a priority for developing countries that in many cases are just too far behind the rest of the world when it comes to technology. Being from one of these countries myself, I definitely see the impact that a lack of access to technology and the tools it provides can have on the less fortunate. There are many non-profits that deserve recognition, but some of the most trusted charities include Hope Phone and InterConnection. You can also donate them to your own city’s churches or veteran associations, like the american Cellphones for Soldiers foundation.

Finally, you might have friends and family willing to trade for it, or you can give it to them as a friendly donation. I’ve handed previous phones to friends and family in the past and I personally find this a nice option if you want to get someone into Android, convert them from their iPhone, or just make their life a little easier. I’ve had some people become total Android fanatics this way, now they are so deep into it that when we catch up they make sure to include the latest mods and ROMs they’ve flashed!

Networkless Android

This one is a given to many people, but like previously mentioned, not being tied to battery constraints is a big deal. Many of our users at our discussion agreed that not having to worry about having the veteran phone see the end of the day meant that they could exploit it for entertainment or productivity without hesitation.

Retired Androids make great music players, especially since there’s no standby additional drain from networks, and possibly no need for bluetooth connections or wi-fi – which means the time it lasts without seeing use is increased and the background drain is close to nullified. With an Android device as a music player this way you can get up to 50 hours of music playback. If you use it for just this bit, you’ll see massive amounts of free space for you to dump your favorite collections into.

Then for developers and power-users, older phones can be great platforms to develop for or to test ROMs and apps on. I personally keep an S3 around, and despite being close to 3 generations old, the device still kicks strong and the developer community at XDA made sure to give it some candy love in the form of great Lollipop ROMs that breathed new life into the device. It might not be my daily driver anymore, but having yet another Lollipop device is fun and it ties in nicely with the other use cases you can find, given that it is further optimized in performance and battery. Then, if you are a developer eager to test your skills or support legacy devices, an old device can be a great addition to your Android repertoire.

Then there are all sorts of other little uses that you can give it. A portable handheld gaming console, with virtually all old home consoles able to be emulated on almost every decently powerful Android device. You’ve got a great repertoire of games and you can game away as much as you want and store as many as you wish without worrying about the rest. You can use it as an e-reader for your books, or a media streamer to your chromecast to effectively make your TV a permanent “smart TV” of sorts.

Finally, you can just have it as a backup device for whenever you need to go to a concert, have a party at a rough side of town, managed to crack your flagship’s screen or… well, given this is XDA, who hasn’t encountered a tedious (but mostly solvable) bootloop or softbrick that they didn’t feel like fixing right away? That or you managed to flash your device into literal paperweight… in which case, hey, you’ve got a new use for a dead device!

Endless Options

While we’ve listed a few uses for your dead phone – some technical, some easy and intuitive, some humanitarian, some profitable – you know this is Android and you know how open the possibilities are for the OS. If you want to find out what the rest of our users that weren’t featured here suggested, head over to our discussion and maybe you’ll learn about something new to do with something old.

As for me, I’ll keep my devices to follow their ROM development (because hey, that’s cool), as back-up phones and for whenever I need two phones at a time.

How does your old Android tie into your daily life and how do you pull it off? Tell us in the comments!