Google Could be Planning to Launch “Nexus TV” Early 2014

So far, Google’s attempts to conquer the living room have been a bit of a mixed bag. Despite some rather ambitious goals set by former CEO Eric Schmidt and showing quite a lot of potential, Google TV has largely failed to take off. Similarly, the beautifully crafted Nexus Q never even made it to consumers’ hands outside of those who attended I/O 2012 and the lucky few who preordered and then received their devices for free. On the other hand, the highly regarded Google Chromecast has more than demonstrated that there is still space for another content distributor in the livingroom. In fact, Time Magazine recently named it the #1 gadget of 2013.

Now, rumors state that Google may be planning to release a “Nexus TV” as early as the first half of next year. Rather than an actual TV, the Nexus TV is rumored to be a set-top box, similar in form to what we’ve already seen in various Google TV devices. The rumors also state that the device may feature a Kinect-like motion sensor and a touchpad-based remote control. It’s also not unreasonable to speculate that this device may also be controllable by your Android-powered smartphone.

Perhaps most interestingly, the rumors also point to non-traditional content delivery. By that, I mean that rather than trying to bring traditional content providers on board, the device will instead focus on online content. This is markedly different from the existing Google TV, which relies heavily on live broadcast TV.

What are your thoughts on the rumored Nexus TV? Do you think Google has what it takes to make a dent in the world of smart TVs, Rokus, Apple TVs, and other set-top boxes? What “killer features” would you need in order to purchase one yourself? Personally, I’d be happy with a great UI, a full-fledged browser with plugin support, and a great Netflix app. Feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

[Source: The Information | Via The Verge]

Device Review: Microsoft Surface Pro 2

2013-11-07 09.51.44

There I was, lined up in the queue of the local electronics store, waiting to collect my Microsoft Surface Pro 2 from the seemingly tired and overworked store attendant behind the counter. I glanced over at the section of the store where all the Surfaces were lined up for display, thinking to myself about whether I’ve made the right decision or not. It definitely wasn’t easy, that’s for sure.

For quite some time now, I’ve found myself in a pickle, not knowing whether to get a fully-fledged ultrabook for university, or continue using a somewhat lackluster Android tablet to do all the heavy lifting while out and about. So when Microsoft reminded us on the 23rd of September that there was something in between, namely their Surface products, I thought, why not?

First Impressions

“Oh, this is pretty light”

I had the same thought pop up in my mind when I picked up the Surface Pro 2 in-store for the first time, but I just couldn’t help but notice it again. Contrary to what many people have led me to believe, the device is surprisingly lighter than what I had originally thought. Weighing in at around 900 grams (2 pounds), it really wasn’t that much heavier than my friend’s iPad 3 (650 g; 1.44 lb), and it was lighter than the 11-inch Macbook Air (1.09 kg; 2.38 lb). This to me, is absolutely fine and justified, as the Surface Pro 2 is both/neither a tablet and a laptop, and it wouldn’t be fair to judge its worth in comparison with either form factors.

With the Surface Pro 2 in my hands, it didn’t take me long to truly appreciate its hardware and design. Measuring in at 275 x 173 x13 mm (10.81 x 6.81 x 0.51 inches), its stylish and sleek chassis is made of dark, brushed magnesium which Microsoft terms as VaporMg. It not only feels premium and cool to the touch, but also feels remarkably sturdy and robust, not giving in the slightest when I tried to twisted each end of the tablet in opposite directions.

Hardware

“A USB port? Oh yeah!”

In addition to the magnesium chassis I noticed during my first impressions, I was also quite glad that Microsoft included the all-important USB 3.0 port to the left hand side of the Surface Pro 2, along with a microSD card slot on the right hand side with support for up to 64 GB. The device’s left side is also home to the standard 3.5 mm headphone jack and the volume buttons, while the micro HDMI port and magnetic charging port are located on the device’s right. I must say, depending on which angle the Surface Pro 2 is at, it can be quite tricky to place the magnetic charger in the charging port. The device has a 5 MP camera on the rear and a 3.5 MP front camera. They’re passable, but not great, so I wouldn’t recommend taking photos with them unless it’s a dire necessity.

Microsoft has also touted the new and improved kickstand, an iconic feature on the Surface products. Answering the anguished calls of 1st generation Surface owners who found it difficult to comfortably view the device on their laps or lower surfaces, Microsoft now allows the kickstand to expand to a second, more reclined angle. Furthermore, the kickstand is thin yet stable, and makes a satisfying and comforting ‘click when you close it.

In addition to the 128 GB version with 4 GB of RAM which I chose, the device is also available in a 64 GB variety with 4 GB of RAM, as well as 256 GB and 512 GB configurations with 8 GB of RAM. It’s advisable for those interested in the device to think carefully about the amount of storage you would like, as the system partition eats up around 30 GB of the space straight out of the box.

Screen

The Surface Pro 2’s screen is absolutely gorgeous. The 10.6 inch full-HD IPS LCD displays colors beautifully. And since the screen is optically-bonded, there’s minimal space between the glass and the touch screen, reducing glare and increasing touch sensitivity. Watching movies with friends also shouldn’t be a problem, as the screen retains its brightness and contrast from every side and at almost every angle. The screen has 208 ppi. This results in relatively crisp text, although not quite as crisp on our modern 1080p smartphones.

But what’s a beautiful screen when it’s scratched or damaged? The good thing is, a singular piece of Corning Gorilla Glass 2 covers the entire front area of the Surface Pro 2, so you can expect greater resistance and endurance for what is arguably one of the most important parts of the device. Despite this however, I still decided to cover the front with a screen protector for that extra layer of protection and some added peace of mind. As with all screens, the screen of the Surface Pro is prone to smudges and fingerprints, but when the screen brightness is high, it’s hard to notice them.

2013-11-07 09.31.02

The screen also uses Wacom active digitizer technology, which provides extremely high pressure sensitivity when you’re using the included pen or stylus. This means the Surface Pro 2 is fantastic for artists who are looking for a device that doubles as a high-quality drawing pad. I’m also thankful that the screen has palm rejection, which means that you can comfortably write with the included pen as you would normally would, without having to worry about any screen interference from the rest of your hand. I found this to be particularly useful when quickly jotting down notes on the Surface Pro 2 when there wasn’t a keyboard around.

Keyboard

“Yeah… it’s not bad”

In all honesty, a Surface wouldn’t be a Surface without the optional keyboard cover. So I was disappointed that it wasn’t included with the tablet as a singular package, and even more so when I found out that it was going to cost me an additional $150 AU for the Type Cover 2. The alternative would have been the Touch Cover 2, which was only $10 cheaper.

The Type Cover 2 keyboard attaches to the bottom of the Surface Pro 2 via magnetic pins, and latches on strongly—strong enough to lift the device from the keyboard. I like how incredibly thin the keyboard is, being 1.5 mm, which reduces overall weight and clunkiness. Despite the thinness, it retains decent travel, making typing for long periods a decent, if not pleasant, experience. Typing in the dark also isn’t a problem, as this time round, Microsoft added backlit keys to the Type Cover.

Besides the actual keys of this accessory, the keyboard is made of a felt-like material that is soft and comfortable to the touch. One of the downsides of this construction is that even the touchpad is of the same material, making mouse navigation rather cumbersome due to the increased friction and grip. Furthermore, I’ve found it very difficult to actually press the left and right felt pads that serve as left and right clicks because of their non-existent travel. Another gripe of mine is that the touchpad is very narrow, which coupled with the very little differentiation between the pad and the actual keyboard material, further hinders a comfortable mouse navigation experience. I’m well aware that I can simply use the touch screen to navigate, but I don’t want to stretch my arm towards the screen and hold it in the air for a prolonged period of time while simply browsing the web. But then again, that’s just me.

The keyboard also acts as a cover for the screen, hence the name Type/Touch Cover, by folding upwards towards the screen. The felt-like material is adequate enough to guard the screen from the accidental bump or knock, but it definitely won’t hold against anything forceful. Additionally, because of this form factor, you don’t have to carry around two separate parts around. Rather, you can simply have it all as one piece. Reading in the Microsoft Surface forum on XDA, however, there have been concerns raised regarding the screen getting scratched by the keyboard, either by the actual keys, or because there was something was wedged in between such as a spec of sand or other hard material.

Software

Having the Surface Pro 2 replace both my Android tablet and home laptop PC that ran Windows 7, the transition was quite a jarring experience. No doubt, the biggest change for me was the axing of the Start menu, which was replaced by the ‘Metro’ interface of Windows 8.1. At first, I was doubtful about whether I would take kindly and settle in comfortably with the new interface since I’ve been using Android and Windows 7 for a very long time. I then came to realize that Windows 8.1 is actually quite similar to aspects of both operating systems.

PC users will most definitely be familiar with the Desktop ‘app’ on Windows 8.1, retaining that wholesome desktop PC experience minus the Start menu. In fact, besides the missing Start menu, there really isn’t anything else different from the desktop of Windows 7. Similarly, parallels can be drawn between Metro UI’s Live Tiles and Android’s widgets, both of which constantly and conveniently provide live updates and feeds right on the home screen. Additionally, Live Tiles are highly customizable, even more so than most Android widgets, allowing you to resize, recolor, and move them according to how you like. Users of the Galaxy Note series will be familiar with Windows 8.1’s feature of splitting the screen into two resizable portions, both running different applications at the same time. There is also a ‘Charms bar,’ which slides out from the right of the screen to provide handy shortcuts such as to settings and search.

Windows 8.1 running both the Desktop and News application in split-screen mode

Windows 8.1 running both the Desktop and News application in split-screen mode.

However, there are still a couple of gripes I have, one being the very nature of Metro UI. It’s fantastic for touch oriented devices like the Surface Pro 2, where navigation is as simple as a swipe and a tap, but when you’re using the device with a mouse, and especially with the touchpad, navigating the horizontal interface can be confusing. You have to either drag the bar at the bottom left or right with the mouse, or scroll up or down, which doesn’t quite make sense. Another thing is the very notable lack of apps, exemplified further when migrating from Android. But then again, you get the ability to run desktop X86 programs in return, which I guess is a fair exchange. Despite this, it should be noted that there are plenty of desktop applications that are still not optimized for the Surface Pro 2, resulting in tiny and misaligned interfaces (Photoshop), and small or fuzzy fonts (Google Chrome).

Update: I’ve been made aware that you can also navigate the Metro UI by simply moving the mouse to the either edge of the screen, or by scrolling vertically on the touchpad. Apologies for the misrepresentation.

Performance

Among the more acclaimed features of the Surface Pro 2 is its powerful 4th-Gen (Haswell) Intel Core i5 processor. A dual-core CPU clocking in at 1.6 Ghz, the device can expand this to 2.6 Ghz with Turbo Boost. But more importantly, it significantly increases the battery life compared to the original Surface Pro. The previous model would last no more than 5 hours at the most. But with the new CPU, the Surface Pro 2 lasts up to 6 and a half to 7 hours, depending on the power settings.

With the i5 processor, 4 GB of RAM, and Intel HD Graphics 4400 on the inside, the Surface Pro 2 didn’t stutter or lag one bit when handling my medium to fairly-heavy usage. Multitasking resource-intensive desktop applications such as Photoshop, AVG, and Mozilla Firefox, while having multiple background applications running such as Dropbox, Box, and Evernote did not pose a challenge at all. This shows that the device can easily handle any mainstream workload. Streaming 1080p videos on YouTube was handled just as easily, a rare occurrence on my previous laptop. You can see more detailed performance tests conducted by CNET below.

Final Thoughts (for now)

I’ve heard plenty of times from commentators that the Surface Pro 2 is a good device, but there are better laptops out there, and there are better tablets out there. Sure, if that’s how you want to see it, that’s absolutely fine. But you may have noticed that I have not once referred to the Surface Pro 2 as either a tablet or a PC. Why? Because it’s neither, and it shouldn’t be compared and judged as such. You can’t rip off the screen of a laptop and use it as a tablet. Rather, it’s in it’s own class of devices, among the likes of the Sony Vaio Tap 11 and the Dell Venue 11 Pro, and to an extent, hybrids in other form factors such as the Lenovo Yoga and Sony Vaio Duo. These are all devices that are highly capable of serving as a PC, as well as providing similar convenience and portability as a tablet.

This unique form factor, in combination with the device’s superior build quality and exceptional performance, are all very compelling factors to choose the Surface Pro 2. Throughout my first week of owning the device, it has served me and my needs well, and has surpassed my expectations for a device that many have unfairly judged negatively in comparison to devices of other categories.

Of course, the device, as well as its category, is still young, and it still has quite a distance to travel, as seen with the gripes I’ve experienced. Hopefully in the future, Microsoft will shave off a couple of millimeters from the device’s thickness, introduce better designed keyboards (especially considering the prices you’ll be paying for them), and increase the battery life—all of which I’m sure will come in time.

But nevertheless, in its current state, the Surface Pro 2 is a fine and highly capable device that’s slowly and steadily proving that it’s here to stay.

What are your thoughts on the Surface Pro 2? Share them in the comments below, as well as in the Microsoft Surface XDA forum. If you’re interested in development on the device as well as on Windows 8, be sure to check out the Windows 8 development forum.

Online Nandroid Backup 8.22 Brings Host of Improvements

A little under a year ago, we talked about Online Nandroid Backup version 6. At the time, the tool did as its name implies and allowed users to make online backups. No, these aren’t “online” in the sense of cloud data storage. Rather, they’re “online” in that the backup is performed while your device is online, rather than in recovery.

Naturally, Online Nandroid Backup is quite useful since you don’t have to disable your phone in order to keep your backups up to date. And if you’ve ever performed a Nandroid backup on a device with a lot of data, you know exactly how long it can take. So what exactly does Online Nandroid Backup backup? Glad you asked.

  • mmcblk0_start (for Acer devices)
  • boot
  • recovery
  • wimax (for Samsung devices)
  • appslog (for HTC and Sony (Ericsson) devices)
  • system
  • data
  • cache
  • datadata (for Samsung devices)
  • efs (for Samsung devices)
  • preload (for Samsung devices)
  • .cust_backup (for Huawei devices)
  • flexrom (for Acer devices)
  • custpack (for Alcatel devices)
  • mobile_info (for Alcatel devices)
  • boot (for HP Touchpad)
  • .android_secure
  • sd-ext

In the time since our last posting, XDA Recognized Developer ameer1234567890 has brought the useful tool up to version 8.22. One of the biggest new features of onandroid (pronounced “oh-nandroid,” not “on-android”) is added support for TWRP recovery, the exclusion of Google Music cache files, a plethora of bugfixes, and the ability to backup the /emmc partition on Mediatek devices.

We all know the importance of having an up-to-date backup, but many of us are simply too busy to backup often. Now, you have no excuse. Head over to the utility thread to get started.

TWRP 2.4 Adds Impressive New Feature Set

Regardless of what the US Government and the PAC behemoth CTIA would have you believe, choice is a good thing in the wireless industry. And when it comes to having choices for different types of software you want to run on your devices, it is a great thing. TWRP (TeamWin Recovery Project) is one of those options for recovery on many different types of devices, with over 80 being officially supported at this time.

TeamWin has been very supportive of the community, from providing instructions on how to build TWRP for devices they don’t officially support, to actively participating in online and forum discussions assisting users with the usage and porting of TWRP. Their source code is completely open source and doesn’t require that you purchase an app in order to utilize the OpenRecovery scripting functionality, unlike other options available.

As of late, they have been hard at work adding various features that add value and continue to set TWRP apart from the other recoveries. Version 2.4.0.0 brings with it new features like using libtar instead of busybox’s tar implementation for better backup options, exFAT sdcard support, decryption of Samsung TouchWiz encrypted devices, updated ADB sideload functionality, and much more. You can view their site for a full list of supported devices or visit some of the device-specific threads below:

If you spot an official TWRP thread that we’ve left out, please let us know, and we’ll promptly add it in!

Untethered webOS Port Arrives on the Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 is Google’s flagship 7 inch tablet. It represents both the ideals behind the Android Open Source Project and the commitment to quality hardware we have come to expect from Google’s Nexus line of devices. Being on the forefront of the open source realm, it comes as no surprise that the device has seen a tremendous amount of development and modification. The device has seen ports and ROM’s of every type, from Ubuntu to Jelly Bean. The latest groundbreaking piece of software for the Nexus 7 has arrived in the form of an untethered (meaning no PC connection is required to boot and run the firmware) port of HP’s webOS.

webOS suffered an untimely demise when HP decided to axe the TouchPad, but it still lives thanks to a dedicated and enthusiastic community of users who strongly believe in it. XDA Senior Member noahk423 brought the Nexus 7 port to our attention via this post in our forums. It would appear that @webosports and the Open webOS crew have released the build to the public. While previous work in this field ran little risk, the older builds were barely functional alphas that required a steady PC connection (also known as a ‘tethered installation’). The newest alpha build, a modification of the Galaxy Nexus build, requires a PC to boot, but runs on its own after that. Additionally, hardware acceleration has not been fully realized, meaning there is still plenty of work to be done.

The main point of attraction for webOS fanatics is the user interface. Maybe soon Nexus 7 owners will be able to use it as a daily driver. With all the advancements in porting and building new ROMs for the Nexus 7, it stands to reason that webOS would make its way to the device. Who knows? Perhaps the next release of the port will be compatible with the Nexus 7 Multi-Boot we reported on a couple weeks ago. Keep your eyes on the Portal for more information!

Native Ubuntu on ASUS Transformer TF700 Getting Improvements

When it comes to running Linux on Android devices, the simplest method is by using chroot. It basically allows users to run Linux in a virtual box of sorts over top of Android. However, some developers have begun experimenting with replacing Android altogether. Great strides have been made in doing so on the ASUS Transformer TF700.

XDA Forum Member rabits has been working on running Ubuntu on the TF700. Not as chroot, either, but as the real deal. It’s currently on release version 0.6.2 and users who install it will get Ubuntu 12.10. Here are some of the feature highlights:

Dualboot with Android CleanRom 2.7.2 – Initrd now support dualbooting linux (from any sdcard or usb device) and Android with wifi.
Test Linux boot – Temporary boot image for AndroidRoot bootloader. After reboot you get your android back.
Graphical boot – You can login by ubuntu user in graphical mode.
Keyboard remapping – Special keys is replaced to default (Esc, F1-12, Ins, Print, Break, Del, Home->Alt, Search->Meta4) by evdev keymap.
Touchpad 2 fingers scrolling – Move 2 fingers up-down to scrolling. 2 finger tap – is mouse 3rd button.
WiFi – You can connect to internet or lan through wifi
OpenGL ES – 3D and games (eduke32, Jagged Alliance 2) and nice browsing by Chromium
Audio and Video up to 1080p – Use nvgstplayer to HW decoding FullHD video
nvgstplayer –sas=”audioconvert ! pulsesink” -i – Fullscreen mode
nvgstplayer –svs=”nvxvimagesink” –sas=”audioconvert ! pulsesink” -i – Window mode

To help keep users apprised of development progress, rabits has a working list of things that have been implemented and things that still need work. It’s about half done, and users can get a real Linux experience without too much difficulty. Of course, there are some issues, such as Unity having problems and some driver issues.

To learn more and keep tabs on development, check out the development thread or the discussion thread.

Samsung Wave Gets CM10.1 Nightly, SlimBean & Tsunami Android 4.2.1 ROMs

Our developer community at XDA is known for making operating systems work on devices they weren’t intended for, and Samsung’s Wave series of devices is no exception. Originally shipped running Samsung’s Bada OS for mid-range smartphones, the series first saw an Android port in 2011, got its first AOKP Jelly Bean ROM in June, and got CM 10 ports for both Wave and Wave II just over a month back. In the latest developments for Samsung Wave, XDA Senior Member hero355 has released not one or two, but three popular Android 4.2.1-based ROMs for the device: CM 10.1 nightly, Slim Bean, and Tsunami.

At the moment, the port is in early alpha stage, and several important features necessary to make it a daily driver such as modem, GPS, microphone, and some sensors aren’t functioning. Though WiFi, sound, accelerometer, camera, SD card, and app installation works. You can even overclock the processor to 1.2 GHz.

Want to give Android 4.2.1 a shot on your Samsung Wave? Head over to the forum thread for detailed instructions and download links.

XDA’s Top Stories from 2012! – XDA Developer TV

2012 is rapidly coming to a close, and if the Mayan’s are to be believed, so is the end of all time. Just in time, XDA News Corespondent Jordan talks about the top stories from 2012, and the end of 2011. Some of the stories mentioned are regarding making calls using MagicJack on an Android phone and Adobe Flash on Jelly Bean devices.

Additionally, Jordan talks about the Top XDA Developer TV videos of 2012. From XDA Developer TV Producer Erica’s Gorilla Glass video to azrienoch’s explanation of Why We Root? Plus a bunch of videos from XDA Elite Recognized Developer and XDA Developer TV Producer AdamOutler. Pull up a chair and check out this video.

(more…)

Screen Standby, Now with Sprinkles

Not too long ago, we covered an app here on the Portal called Screen Standby. The app allows you to turn off your screen while streaming over HDMI or MHL without putting your device to sleep or killing the stream to your TV. This has a very significant effect on battery and screen life since it is essentially not on while running. Well it seems that XDA Forum Member nkahoang was not happy with the app, so he did what any good dev would normally do: He updated it and added a load of new features to what was an already awesome app.

The new version of Screen Standby offers a few new perks such as a non-root method, which essentially means that you will be able to use this even if you’re not rooted. Other perks now include the ability to turn your device, with the screen off, into a wireless touchpad. So, if you were thinking of a good use for that device that you have had sitting in your drawer since you upgraded, this is a perfect time to take it out. We have seen a few other apps capable of turning your device into a WiFi or Bluetooth input device for your computer, but they all require your screen to be on for them to work. Last but not least, if you shake your device, you can either turn your screen off or put it in dim mode—the lowest possible brightness.

So, if you were a user of this app before, be sure to check it out now and all of its added functionality. As always, please report any bugs or issues you may run into.

This is originally for HTC One X, however, I have ported it to the Galaxy Nexus and now it could work on all devices! (Galaxy S3 / Moto Razr / etc).

You can find more information in the original thread.

Team Win Recovery Project Updated to 2.3

The last time we brought you news about TWRP, it was to announce that TWRP 2.2.2 had been released. It had fixed a lot of bugs from the initial release of TWRP 2.2 and added a few new features. Very recently, TWRP has been updated again to version 2.3.

There were a whole bunch of awesome improvements with TWRP 2.2 and a lot of unique and brand new features as well. TWRP 2.3 promises no less. The official change log includes:

Rebased onto AOSP Jelly Bean source code
Rewrote backup, restore, wipe, and mount code in C++ classes for easier maintenance going forward
NOTE: backups from prior versions of TWRP are still compatible with 2.3
ADB sideload functionality from AOSP is included in 2.3, see this link for more info
Re-wrote fix permissions entirely in C++ and runs in a few seconds instead of a few minutes (thanks to bigbiff)
Improvements to zip finding in OpenRecoveryScript (should be a lot fewer GooManager automation issues)
Faster boot times
Added charging indicator while in recovery (only updates once every 60 seconds)

Additionally, XDA Recognized Developer Dees_Troy has reported that there is now support for spaces in backup names. Before, if you added a space to the name of a backup, it would not restore. Now users can use whatever naming convention they want.

One of the biggest changes, though, is all of the TWRP being rewritten in C++ and its move to recovery API 3 instead of API 2. With the code rewrite, it will allow TWRP to update more quickly and with more stability. With the API 3 change, it means that some flashable zip files may stop working because the developer needs to update the update-binary. If you don’t want to wait for the developer, or the developer has ceased working on the project, you can find one to use on TWRP’s official website. To install the latest TWRP, you can use the Goomanager application. Simply open the application, hit menu, and install open recovery.

If you want to check out the latest TWRP recovery for your device, check one of the links below.

webOS: The Little Mobile OS That Could

Many grew up with The Little Engine That Could, a tale about the power of optimism and hard work. The goal is to spread hope through the metaphor of a little blue engine that defied all odds despite what others say. To keep motivated, the little engine chants, “I think I can; I think I can; I think I can.”

Open Source: a philosophy, or pragmatic methodology that promotes free redistribution and access to an end product’s design and implementation details.

From it’s beginnings with the Palm Pre in 2009, webOS has always been a unique animal in the mobile device market. Using the metaphor of cards that could be flung off the screen to terminate tasks, its approach to multitasking was unique at a time when iOS couldn’t / wouldn’t do it. The Palm Pre itself was actually a pretty nice device at the time, but like everything else Palm did, they bungled webOS and it never really took off. In April 2010, HP acquired the OS. After numerous, half-hearted attempts to take the OS forward, including the release of the HP TouchPad to compete in the expanding tablet market, they finally announced that they would halt device production and webOS development in August 2011. This lead to speculation that webOS would be killed off or sold to the highest bidder.

XDA exists so that like-minded developers can come and share their work and knowledge, as well as learn from others. We encourage open source development because that’s how true innovation happens. And without open source development, our favorite OS Android would not be where it is today. So when HP announced late last year that webOS would be open sourced rather than killed, the development community leaped at the news.

Except for a tidbit earlier this year about an HTC Evo 3D running a very dirty port of webOS, all has been mostly quiet on the Open webOS front. But now word is leaking out from the webOS-Ports team that webOS is being ported to the Galaxy Nexus. They have provided a video showing the device booted up with webOS and WiFi working, but it is quite obvious that hardware acceleration is drastically needed before this is actually usable—not to mention all of the phone functions, etc.

What makes this extremely interesting is that we are seeing the epitome of open source development. We have software—in this case a mobile OS—that the manufacturer no longer wishes to or is capable of supporting and improving. Then, you have a group of developers who see the potential of said software. And after a lot of hard (often thankless) work, we have the makings of another alternative for the mobile community. This is the crux of what makes XDA what it is. We look forward to seeing where this project goes.

TWRP 2.2.2 Update Brings Several Improvements and Bug Fixes

Team Win Recovery Project was recently updated to bring several improvements and bug fixes to the popular custom recovery. For those unfamiliar, TWRP is a custom recovery with an impressive touch-based GUI that packs quite a punch and makes recovery operations a flash, no pun intended.

TWRP is officially available for dozens of Android devices, and is quickly becoming the custom recovery solution of choice for many enthusiasts. It is an open source project and utilizes the open source Open Recovery Script, which Team Win created.

This is the third update to TWRP in the recent months, after 2.1 and 2.2 that we previously featured. According to the official changelog, the changes made in this 2.2.2 update include:

  • Significantly improved sd-ext handling (ext partitions on sdcards)
  • Changes to kinetic scrolling in file selectors
  • Fixed a problem with using periods in backup names
  • Fixed problems in XML layouts with mounting system and USB storage
  • Fixed a problem with unmounting a partition before formatting during restore
  • Add Jelly Bean decrypt support
  • Updated 320×480 theme to match others (thanks to Llewelyn)
  • Improve “symlinking” of /data/media to either /sdcard or /emmc
  • Added sanitizing of device IDs for invalid characters (thanks to bigbiff)
  • Fixed free space calculation when switching backup devices on /data/media devices
  • Fixed a problem with using OpenRecoveryScript to create a backup without providing a backup name

Want to grab TWRP 2.2.2 for your device? Head over to the appropriate forum thread link below for your device:

You can also install TWRP 2.2.2 directly to your device using GooManager or download it from the TWRP website, where it may be available for more devices than listed above.

DroidMote Brings Remote Control Functionality To Your Device

If you’ve ever wanted to be able to take control of either your PC or another Android device from your phone or tablet, this app may be something worth looking into. DroidMote by XDA Senior Member zulu99 is an app that will allow you to do just that. In the developers own words:

“DroidMote is not only a remote mouse, a remote keyboard, a remote gamepad and a remote multi touch touchpad, but it is something more. In fact, with the Gamepad2Touch feature allows you to use all the applications and games that were developed to support only devices with touch screen. Imagine you want remote control a game, designed for touch screen devices on your large TV Full HD, with DroidMote you can.”

The application is composed of two parts: a client for the device you will be using as the remote controller and a server for the device(s) to be controlled. The device on which you are installing the server will require root access. Once the app is installed and both devices are connected to the same local network, you are all set. Compatible with all Android devices and PCs running either Windows or Linux, this is an incredibly versatile application.

The application thread contains a wealth of information pertaining to the app itself and how to set up everything to meet your needs, including details of remapping the keys and games that are compatible with its “real gamepad” emulation feature.

If this appeals to you, check it out by visiting the application thread.