December 12, 2013 By: eagleeyetom
The pre-holiday time is always good for music lovers. Not to0 long ago, we introduced the innovative music player Beat. Now, it’s good time to say hello to our good ol’ friend XDA Senior Member ssuukk and his most noteworthy application: XenoAmp. Just over a month ago this much loved music player gained the ability to control the Viper Audio equalizer. Since then, quite has changed.
A few weeks ago, AOL announced that the llama whipping era was over, and they shut down Winamp. SHOUTcast, a part of Winamp designed to stream Internet radio, shared the same fate. There are rumors flying around stating that Microsoft is planning on purchasing rights to both. But for now,Winamp and SHOUTcast are relics of history.
Previously, XenoAmp used SHOUTcast as its main Internet radio provider. But because of SHOUTcast’s demise, the new king of streaming in XenoAmp is now Dirble. Some stations still require an updated API, but ssuukk is in touch with the Dirble developers, and all necessary changes will be implemented by both parties soon.
It’s really nice to hear that XenoAmp is still under active development and in good shape, despite all of unfortunate events. The newest version of this app with Dirble support can be found in the application thread.
December 12, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
The Google Chromecast team has been rather busy in the past few days. Just yesterday, we wrote about how the Chromecast had received an OTA update to build 14651, bringing support for the new Chromecast V2 API, as well as a revised home screen and the groundwork for the forthcoming Android-to-Chromecast display mirroring. And just one day earlier, we covered how support was added for ten new apps, including a couple that deliver local content to Google’s frugal media streamer.
Wait, what? Yes, you read that correctly. While you’ve always been able to cast content from the official Android apps for Google Play Music and Movies, there was never support for casting from the webapps until today’s update. This addition now brings Google Play Music and Movies in line with the functionality we’ve already seen in Google’s own YouTube webapp, as well as the third-party Netflix app at the device’s launch.
Personally, I can’t even begin to understand why this wasn’t implemented at device launch. In fact, when I first heard the news, I had to double check to make sure I hadn’t misread something. But, I guess it’s better late than never. And for those living in the Google Play ecosystem, this is definitely a good move.
What are your thoughts on the update? Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and don’t forget to visit our Google Chromecast forum.
December 12, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
A month and a half ago alongside the release of Android 4.4 KitKat, we also covered how Google’s stock keyboard had been updated to match the visual stylings their latest OS. Unfortunately, though, many had grown quite fond of the previous blue theme. Luckily, Google has decided to update its first party keyboard once again, giving users the choice of which theme to use: white or blue.
The only major user-facing change in this updated version is the ability to choose the keyboard’s color scheme. This field is accessed through Keyboard Settings -> Advanced Settings -> Color Scheme. Selecting either white or blue changes the colors for suggestions, as well as gesture typing trails. In addition to the user selectable theme, this update also brings “bug fixes and stability improvements.”
The update bumps the keyboard to version 2.0.19133.927933a, and it comes in at a healthy 15.4 MB. This update is being launched in the form of a staged rollout, so not everyone may receive the update immediately. However, we’ve gone ahead and uploaded the APK over on DevHost for your early adopting pleasure.
Are you glad to have your Holo blue accents back? Let us know in the comments section below!
[Source: Google Play]
Google Play Store Changelog:
What’s New• Add a new advanced option to switch keyboard color scheme (white and blue)• Bug fixes and stability improvements.
December 12, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
‘Tis the season—for Google first-party app updates, that is. In the last few days, we’ve seen major updates for some of the key first party Android apps such as Google Books, Gmail, Google Translate, Androidify, and most recently, Google Maps. Now, Google has updated its Google+ Android app with a few new features and quite a bit of Holiday cheer.
The latest update brings the app up to version 4.2.4, and it adds 5 new tricks to the already feature-packed app. For starters, the search function now looks through posts, people, photos, and communities all from one search box. To that end, content discovery has also been bolstered by a revised What’s Hot screen. This update also allows you to control which circles and people are allowed to notify you.
Continuing in the tradition of the Holiday-themed Androidify update, this update also brings Holiday cheer in two new ways. First off, your device will act like a snow globe when viewing pictures. To activate this, simply open one of your pictures and shake your device. Snow will start falling in the image. Shaking the device again saves these changes. Additionally, hitting the +1 button on posts brings “something lovely.”
The update is coming in the form of a staged rollout, which should be starting soon. And to help you get in on the update a bit early, we’ve uploaded the APK over on DevHost.
Are you a fan of the new features in Google+ version 4.2.4? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below!
1. Shake your device to add snow to your photos. Many of you enjoyed last week’s#AutoAwesome snow (http://goo.gl/913KlK), so we’re adding another way to let it snow this holiday season. Just open one of your photos, shake your device, and snow will start falling. Shake again to save. (http://youtu.be/YWRa6Cz6m_M)
2. Search across more stuff, from a single box. Now you can search for posts, people, photos and communities — all from one place. So the next time you’re looking for something specific, just tap ‘Search’ and type what you want.
3. Control who can buzz your phone, without missing notifications from others. If you only want certain people to be able to buzz your phone (like family), simply adjust your “Who can notify me” settings. Notifications from others will now appear in “Everything else,” so you can read them whenever it’s convenient.
4. Explore content by category. Now when you visit the What’s Hot stream, you’ll be able to “go deeper” on a number of different categories — from Music and Science to Sports and Photography.
5. Spread the love this holiday season. Now when you +1 posts in the stream, you’ll see something lovely.
Update: We’ve uploaded the file over on DevHost. Thanks to everyone who PMed me a link to the APK.
December 12, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
As of late, Google’s been pumping out first party Android app updates like nobody’s business. We’ve seen updates to Google Books, Gmail, Google Translate, and Androidify. Now, the company is rolling out an update for Google Maps bringing it up to version 7.5 (from 7.4), and it packs many new features such as Gmail integration for various types of reservations.
Similar to the integration that was recently added to Google Search, the Gmail integration in maps is able to query your Gmail for information relevant to certain topics. In the case of Maps, this functionality is used to read into reservations for restaurants, hotels, and airfare. The information is then shown when viewing a place related to your reservations. There is not yet an official changelog, so it is entirely possible that there are other changes that have not yet been discovered.
The update is being delivered in the form of a staged rollout, so your device will likely receive the update in the next few days. However, we’ve gone ahead and mirrored the update with our friends at DevHost. To get in on the action early, download the appropriate APK matching your Android version below:
Once you’ve installed the update, be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below!
December 12, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
‘Tis the seasons for making apps. A certain someone has a list of all the children who have been good and all the children how have been bad, and he can maintain this list even while shilling for a sugared water company. However, I personally can’t keep lists this well, so if someone asks me for a list of apps I’m using, it’s based on my poor memory.
XDA Forum Member onyxbits offers a simple app that allows you to create a list of your apps, and will even include Google Play Store links. In this video, XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews List My Apps. TK shows off the application and gives his thoughts, so check out this app review.
December 12, 2013 By: Samantha
One very practical feature introduced alongside Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is support for expandable status bar notifications. This allows for more information to be displayed by expanding the relevant notification. So if you want to check a recent email, preview a screenshot, or change the song you’re listening to, you can do so by simply expanding the notification.
But despite this great convenience, there are also small annoyances that aren’t necessarily deal-breakers, but can get on people’s nerves. One of them is the inability to have all notifications expanded by default, as Google did not provide the choice to do so. On the contrary, only the first notification is expanded, and more often than not, it’s not the notification that you want to view.
Thankfully, XDA Forum Member UgglyNoodle developed a handy Xposed module that remedies this little issue. Once installed and activated, the module will allow for all expandable notifications to be shown in expanded mode by default when you slide down the status bar. It should be emphasised that the module does not expand notifications that cannot be expanded normally. The module does not come with a ‘settings’ interface, but rather hums away in the background as soon as you activate it and reboot your device.
If you’ve found yourself a little annoyed at this issue, you may want to check out the original thread for more information and download.
December 11, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Google’s on a roll, delivering updates to a few of its first party apps and updated Android versions to its current Nexus fleet. Now, they’re continuing this barrage with a massive update to Gmail 4.7, which brings quite a few desperately needed features.
First and foremost, this update brings full file attachment support. No longer are you forced to use workaround such as sending from a file manager in order to attach a file of any format. Furthermore, you can now download compressed archives such as ZIP and TAR files, again without any workaround or third party app. While most casual users primarily use the attachment feature to send pictures and video, this is a legitimately useful feature for any power user—and one that most of us have been craving for years.
Next up, the application now supports the new system-wide printing functionality that we detailed in our Android 4.4 KitKat overview. And since it works with Google Cloud Print, you can print to any printer that you have connected to Google Cloud Print anywhere in the world.
Gmail 4.7 also brings a nifty vacation responder, similar to what has been present in third-party email clients such as Outlook for quite some time. The option is found in your settings menu, underneath your signature. Once inside, you can specify start and end dates, as well as the subject and message of the auto response. You can also configure Gmail to only send the auto response to those in your contact list.
Finally, the application offers improved performance on low memory devices. This falls in line with Project Svelte, which as we’ve mentioned in the past, allows Android to run well on lower memory devices.
To get started, make your way over to the Google Play Store listing. As with most updates, this comes in the form of a staged rollout. In other words, your device may or may not be updated automatically for quite some time. But for those who want to get in on the action, we’ve gone ahead and mirrored the APK over on DevHost.
Are you a fan of these new changes? I’ve been waiting for native ZIP downloading for years, and I’ve been waiting for first party printing through Gmail for almost as long. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
December 11, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Just two days ago, we wrote about how Android 4.4.2 was rolling out to the most recent Nexus devices. This was only four days after the Android 4.4.1 roll out. And earlier today, we took a quick look at what changed from 4.4 to 4.4.2. Now, we’re glad to report that the Android 4.4.2 source code has made its way over to the AOSP, and factory restore images are now available for the Google Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, Nexus 7 (2013), and Nexus 10.
Ever since Android 4.4.1 was released, we were wondering when the factory images would see the light of day. Thankfully, that day is today. And while users have been able sideload the incremental OTAs manually using adb sideload, it’s great to also have the freedom to perform a clean install, directly to the most recent version—either through flash-all.bat or by manually flashing the images directly through fastboot.
Google didn’t only provide us with new factory images for all the currently supported Nexus devices. They also released the full source code to Android 4.4.2. With this, your favorite aftermarket developers can start merging the new commits over from Google’s repos into their own builds.
End users looking to download the factory restore images can do so by heading over to the Nexus Device Factory Images page. Developers looking to start building with the new Adnroid 4.4.2 code can do so by browsing the 4.4.2_r1 source code directly on Google’s Git.
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December 11, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
It’s no secret that despite their previous successes in both the mobile and traditional computing spaces, Microsoft’s market performance as of late has been lackluster. And while sales for all of their platforms are currently suffering to a degree, it’s really only Windows Phone and Windows RT that are in serious trouble. Why have these two OSes struggled to gain any sort of traction? Part of this is due to the confusion of simply offering too many different versions. But that’s not the only reason. Though they generally offer optimized performance and a great user experience, industry adoption on either seems to be stagnant. Why? The answer is simple. Google’s Android.
To see why Google poses such a threat to Microsoft’s attempts to regain its former smartphone glory, let’s look back at why Android became so successful in the first place. In a world dictated by OEM profit margins, it’s hard to argue with “free.” I use free in quotation marks for two reasons: First, in order to access the Google Play Store in official capacity, you need Google’s seal of approval. And in order to get this, you quickly have to venture outside the realm of the increasingly few open source first party Android apps. Second, thanks to industry litigation, some of the major OEMs have to pay royalties to Microsoft when building atop the Android platform. But regardless of these issues, “free” is still better than paid licensing.
But if you think Android only became successful because of it’s ”free,” you’re wrong. Let’s take a look back at the history of Android. When it first launched, the smartphone landscape was quite different. Back then, Apple’s iOS offered some legitimate innovation in the form of new UI paradigms that were, at least to a certain degree, well ahead of the competition. Back then, many outside of the “draconian” Apple ecosystem wanted a viable alternative to Apple’s growing stranglehold on the market. Sure Windows Mobile existed, as did BlackBerry and Palm, but none of those captivated consumers like the iPhone.
Now let’s take a look at what Microsoft is contemplating. A story published earlier today over on The Verge detailed a potential path for Microsoft to help it better compete with Android. According to the story, Microsoft OS Chief Terry Myerson is considering removing licensing fees for Windows Phone and Windows RT, in the hopes of recuperating these losses with ads and subscription revenue. Clearly, Google dominates the market both in mobile ads and online services, and much of this is undoubtedly spurred on by the exponential growth of Android. Having free versions of Windows would (in theory) put Windows devices into more hands. And once it’s in more hands, people will naturally use Microsoft services.
However, the market today has changed, and it has changed dramatically. There are currently plenty of options in the mobile marketplace. Sure, Android is the only alternative to Apple iOS that has actually gained any significant traction, but the fact remains that other touch-friendly options do exist—and many of these options are legitimately free, no quotation marks. Thus, it’s no longer “good enough” to simply be free. Rather, any OS that hopes to stake its claim in the mobile OS pie has to offer something special—be it apps, groundbreaking features, or incredible user friendliness.
Ultimately, the mere fact that Microsoft is even considering such a dramatic shift in their business model makes it absolutely clear that they are targeting Google smack dab in the middle of their crosshairs. Whether this succeeds, and even whether this comes to fruition, is yet to be seen. As it stands, it’s hard to define just what Windows RT brings to the table that cannot be accomplished by other tablet-friendly OSes such as Android and even Microsoft’s own Windows 8.1. However, perhaps the picture is a bit rosier for Windows Phone, as it now is starting to gain much more third party developer attention. One thing is clear, though: The mobile OS wars are about to get a whole lot more exciting.
Is it too little too late, or do you think Microsoft can actually fight
fire free with free? Is Microsoft just mad that they got Scroogled? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The storage capacity in our mobile devices is growing bigger and bigger every day. The amount of files that are stored on SD cards, either internal and external, is quite significant. Music, movies, photos, and other documents are often difficult to track.
This is why we need an application to tag our files. Thankfully, we have Fearch by XDA Recognized Developer lithid-cm,a file manager that gives users the option to tag their files. This app also recognizes file type and places your files into one of five categories (Documents, Downloads, Pictures, Sounds, and Videos). Files can be easily sorted by name or size, so it’s really easy to delete unnecessarily large files.
The app features a really nice user interface, which makes file management an enjoyable experience. It supports themes, but only the dark one is available in the free version of the app. All of you who want this application in pink should consider supporting the developer.
Fearch is very interesting app with neat design and lots of handy features. If you want to try it, make your way to the application thread and give it a shot!
[Big thanks to XDA Senior Member herna for the tip!]
December 11, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Earlier today when we looked at the Google Play Books 3.1.17 update, we briefly mentioned how Google’s first party app updates often feel like Christmas a bit early thanks to all the new features that they inevitably bring. Now, Google is actually bringing us some more Holiday cheer thanks to a Holiday-themed update to the Androidify app. And not content with only updating one of their first party apps, they’ve also released a substantial feature update to their Translate app.
You may remember Androidify from when it was first released a couple of years ago. While the app was an interesting novelty back then, most of us quickly forgot about it as time went on. Now, Google has revamped the app with an upgraded UI and additional Holiday-themed content.
In addition to the Androidify app, Google also increased the functionality of its Translate Android app. This was not done with a direct application update. Rather, this was done by increasing the number of languages that Google Translate itself supports. As such, the changes are available in the mobile app, as well as through the webapp. The update adds support for nine new languages: Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Somali, Zulu, Mongolian, Nepali, Punjabi, and Maori.
Changelog for Androidify:
- Improved UI
- Added new holiday outfits
Google Translate Language Addition Info:
Spotlight on our new languagesIn Africa, we’re adding Somali, Zulu, and the 3 major languages of Nigeria.
- Hausa (Harshen Hausa), spoken in Nigeria and neighboring countries with 35 million native speakers
- Igbo (Asụsụ Igbo) spoken in Nigeria with 25 million native speakers
- Yoruba (èdè Yorùbá) spoken in Nigeria and neighboring countries with 28 million native speakers
- Somali (Af-Soomaali) spoken in Somalia and other countries around the Horn of Africa with 17 million native speakers
- Zulu (isiZulu) spoken in South Africa and other south-western African countries with 10 million native speakersThroughout Asia, we’re launching languages spoken in Mongolia and South Asia.
- Mongolian (Монгол хэл), official language in Mongolia and also spoken in parts of China with 6 million native speakers
- Nepali (नेपाली), spoken in Nepal and India with 17 million native speakers
- Punjabi language (ਪੰਜਾਬੀ) (Gurmukhi script), spoken in India and Pakistan with 100 million native speakersThanks to the volunteer effort of passionate native speakers in New Zealand, we’re adding the language of the Maori people.
- Maori (Te Reo Māori), spoken in New Zealand with 160 thousand speakers
December 11, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
The Google Nexus 5 has only been out a short while. Our friend Jordan has reviewed it and even went so far as to show us how to root the device. During that time, the software developers at Google were coding so hard and so fast that the keyboard vending machines at Google started running dry.
Their efforts have been praised on the Internet. The Android 4.4.1 update fixed a lot of peoples problems, but Google didn’t stop there. They also released Android 4.4.2 KitKat. In today’s video, XDA Developer TV Producer takes a good hard look at these updates and compares them to the original Android 4.4 KitKat release. So give yourself a break and check out this video!
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