August 29, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Secrecy encryption app goes open source! That and much more news is covered by Jordan when he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is the announcement of a news LG Android Wear device called the LG G Watch R and be sure the check out the article talking about an app called “I Am Groot!” That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Xposed Tuesday video for XQuietHours. Then AdamOutler talked about automating software builds with Jenkins. And later TK gave us a an Android App Review of CPU Monitor. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
Pushbullet is one of those applications that every Android lover should have installed on his or her device. This smart tool allows multiple actions like sending files through the Internet and the sending and receiving of notes, links, or lists. In the last few months, Pushbullet has grown to become one of the most highly rated applications for Android and iOS.
The application and browser extensions are constantly updated, but XDA Forum Member guzba and his team added quite a useful feature that many of you folks will undoubtedly love. Since the last update, Pushbullet can now be used to reply to text messages sent by various SMS apps! Texting with your friends has never been so easy. Once the popup appears, you can click on it and write a message that will be send from your phone. That’s a small update, but can be considered as one of the most important one in the short Pushbullet history.
Pushbullet doesn’t require any special permissions. It works with Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, so nearly every major Internet browser. Pushbullet also has a native Windows client, which adds some neat features to the app.
August 28, 2014 By: Faiz Malkani
As some of you may remember, earlier this year we spoke about Quick Control Panel by XDA Senior Member Dr.Alexander_Breen. For those who don’t recall, Quick Control Panel is a resourceful app that brings the functionality and usability of the iOS Control Center to Android devices. Quick Control Panel brings the iOS features like settings toggles and music along with an Android flavor to it in the form of a Holo design, heavy customization options, more toggling options as well as Google’s ubiquitous card-centric interface.
In the time since its initial release, Dr.Alexander_Breen has released an important update to Quick Control Panel that adds a major feature to its already strong suite of them: notifications. The latest iteration of Quick Control Panel allows you to view and manage your notifications right from the control shade, and coupled with the system-wide availability and placement of the shade, this update packs quite a punch.
Quick Control Panel is available in paid and lite version, but the developer has generously provided the full version for free to all XDA Members. Head over the Quick Control Panel thread to get started and consider buying the app to help out the developer.
Technology has put life on the fast track. Whether its travelling to multiple places or meeting multiple people, the amount of things we can fit into our schedules has increased tenfold with the advent of innovation. Sometimes, there comes a time when you need to take notes, be it an observation or a reminder or just idle thoughts. Earlier, note taking was done in diaries or on pieces of paper but that process was outed by digital note apps due to their efficiency and simplicity.
While most manufacturers have their own flavor of certain apps, Android isn’t complete without third party apps. In the spirit of providing such an alternative to apps like S Note and Google Keep, XDA Junior Member ohcrapitstim has developed Narrate, a journal and notebook app. Narrate is packed with features borne of out-of-the-box-thinking, such as markdown support, Dropbox sync, note statistics and Google Now integration, all complemented by an appealing Material Design-esque interface. All of this results in an easy to use notepad app that is also quite innovative and aesthetically appealing.
Head over to the Narrate application thread to get started with a unique flavor of note taking, a worthy alternative to the popular note taking apps out there.
August 28, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Is your Android device running slow? Is your Android device overheating? Are you a power user who wants to squeeze every morsel of power out of your device and optimize every cycle? Well, one of the best ways to answer these questions is to monitor your CPU and understand what’s using your devices clock cycles. Then you can decide if this action is appropriate or not.
XDA Forum Member cygnus.uvdb offers up a simple application that gives you a window into what items are using your processors power. In this video XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews CPU Monitor. TK shows off the application and gives his thoughts, so check out this app review.
August 28, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Many users don’t see any particular reason to change out the stock firmware for AOSP-derived offerings. OEMs for the most part are now taking things much more seriously, and their firmwares are pretty much usable unlike a few years ago. Some of you might remember how “fluid” Eclair was on some devices, which illustrates the past problem with skinned ROM performance.
A pre-rooted stock ROM is still a good choice for many users, as it offers all the device-specific features along with the power-user friendly goodies of root. While copying the requisite files to make a ROM pre-rooted is easy as pie, extracting the stock image isn’t. If you want to extract a firmware for Sony device, you need to use a Flashtool and lots of time waiting for the output. Those of you who want to have a pre-rooted stock ROM made in just few simple moves should try the tool written by XDA Senior Member zxz0O0. PRFCreator is a Windows-only tool that creates a pre-rooted stock image in just few clicks. The output file can be flashed right away onto your device.
To get the flashable.zip you need to have three elements: a working FTF file with a firmware to your phone (you can create it yourself with Flashtool), a SuperSU package, and a dual boot package. You can get them from the resources provided in the thread.
You don’t have to wait for someone to root a stock firmware for you. Do it yourself, since it’s very easy. Get the app from the PRGCreator thread and give your Sony device a pre-rooted stock ROM.
August 27, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
If talking about the most interesting projects in the last few years, we must mention the powerful and versatile Xposed Framework. This tool is the foundation that allows us to implement hooks into existing code using the app_process binary. In short, Xposed helps us by letting us fix various bugs, add new features, and perform various other tasks on any rooted firmware with Xposed installed–without the need to dive into Smali modifications.
The two developers standing behind this project, XDA Senior Recognized Developer rovo89 and XDA Recognized Contributor Tungstwenty, included a simple debugging tool that helps developers fix their modules. But even Xposed Framework itself can be improved by an Xposed Framework module. One such modules was created by XDA Senior Member defim, and it adds a timestamp to Xposed logs in order to make them more reader-friendly. Logs with date and time often come handy for developers who are trying to find out what and when something goes wrong with their code. And if you’re developing an Xposed module, you certainly want to know when things go wrong so you can fix it before you share it with the community.
We must note that there is a bit of controversy surrounding this module. The module itself was (understandably and appropriately) removed from the official Xposed Repo because it violates Xposed policy of not hooking into Xposed itself. However, this isn’t to say that you can’t sideload and install it manually. As such, the module is available in the thread, but please use it at your own risk and be aware that since it hooks into Xposed Framework itself, there may be unexpected results.
Despite the controversy, you may find this module very useful in the development of other Xposed modules. You can find it by visiting the HitchXposedLog Xposed Framework module thread.
As some of you may remember, a while back we spoke about Secrecy, an effective file encryption app that allows you to secure files of your choosing, lest your phone get into the wrong hands or some tech-savvy friend gets snoopy. One qualm in particular that we had with Secrecy was that due to the app being closed source, there was no way for users to verify the file encryption and ensure that their files were truly secure, making them doubt the authenticity of the application and the security it promised.
However, XDA Senior Member Doplgangr, the developer of Secrecy understood the looming issue at hand, and to ensure users that their files were secure, and went ahead and open-sourced the app. This step was vital, given that private files and information was being entrusted to the app, and with the source code made public, users can ensure that the application lives up to its promise of security and AES256 encryption.
August 27, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Although Google has somewhat gotten out of the habit of their previously unrelenting Update Wednesday sessions, the middle of the week is still prime time for first party Android application updates. Today, we have been graced by not one, but two updates. And surprisingly, one of the two is for an app that hasn’t received a formal app update in… well… ever.
The first update, which actually started making its way out to devices yesterday afternoon, is for Google News and Weather. For those who don’t remember, this application has essentially remained unchanged ever since the Android 2.x days. Although over the years it received a minor color scheme update, its core functionality has been unchanged since its inception.
Now, Google News and Weather version 2 (up from 1.3) has made its debut in the Google Play Store, and it brings essentially an entirely new user experience. For starters, there’s now a slide-out “hamburger menu” available from any screen, which lets you shift between news categories. Sliding left and right still takes you through the categories, though there’s no longer a tabbed indicator up top. There’s also a new main screen, complete with top stories and a better weather indicator. The app also gives a new information screen when opened the first time to show you all of the new features. Finally, the UI itself has been fully updated to make use of the now nearly ubiquitous Material Design-styled colors that Google’s first party Android apps are starting to follow.
In addition to the massive Google News and Weather update, we have a minor update to Google Maps. Coming in at version 8.3.1 (up from 8.2.0), this is primarily a bugfix update from what we can see.
The Google News and Weather update is available for all supported devices straight on Google Play, but for some reason it doesn’t appear to be available in all regions and for all devices. As such, we’ve gone ahead and mirrored both APKs on our Google Drive for your early access, sideloading pleasure:
[Many thanks to XDA Portal Supporter MihirGosai for the APKs and info!]
August 27, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Many members of the XDA community come to learn and begin in the exciting world of software development. Once you’ve gone through the development process and written your software, you need to ensure that maintenance does not cause additional problems and the results are always completely reproducible. This is where a build automation system comes in to play. Jenkins is one such software which allows you to keep a hands-off approach to building and releasing your software.
In this episode of XDA Developer TV, AdamOutler talks about Jenkins. Jenkins is a build automation software which runs on Linux and Mac, as well as Windows with some effort. Jenkins can be triggered by Git or Subversion commit hooks on each commit and will allow a developer or project manager to know the build status of the software in real-time. Jenkins can be used to build Android Apps, Kernels, Android systems, and just about every other type of software out there. But it doesn’t just stop there. AdamOutler shows you his Jenkins system and gives examples of alternate uses such as generating HTML from TODO comments, creating documentation websites, managing complex releases and more. So check this video out.
August 26, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
If you’ve ever entered a password on your mobile device, you’ve surely noticed that password input fields normally hide the inputted characters by showing dots rather than the characters themselves. This is great to prevent casual snooping, but it also results in possible mistakes. Most of us also are well aware of how several consecutive mistakes may lead to account restrictions. So if you’re not in a public area, why not spare yourself of the inconveniences with a handy Xposed Framework module.
If you don’t care about privacy that much, you can use a module created by XDA Senior Member defim. This simple modification removes the dots and replaces them with actual characters. In doing so, it becomes much easier for you to enter the correct password without getting locked out of your account.
This modification, as is the case with every Xposed Framework module does, requires your device to be rooted and have Xposed Framework installed. You must also enable the module in the Xposed Installer.
We strongly recommend you to use this module wisely. Entering a fully visible password in a public place will undoubtedly lead to compromised data and security, so make sure to disable the module when you’re not in a safe place like your own bedroom. Otherwise, don’t complain to us when the funds in your bank account mysteriously vanish.
If your fingers are sloppy and you often make lots of typos when entering your passwords, you can now do something about it. Download the module from the HideNoPasswords thread.
August 26, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Android updates released as OTA packages are very easy to apply, but they also cause major headaches to custom ROM lovers. Every time an OTA comes out, we need to revert back to stock recovery, flash the update, and then flash our favorite custom recovery like TWRP or ClockworkMod to get back all of our recovery features like Nandroid backups and the ability to flash SuperSU. I don’t even have to begin to cover how time consuming and frustrating this process is.
If your device gets these updates frequently, you might be interested in testing a tool created by XDA Forum Moderator and Recognized Developer graffixnyc. Simple Recovery Switcher, as the name states, easily switches between stock and custom recovery. The whole process can be done pretty much in no time, which is much faster than using a standard USB cable with the fastboot method.
The application should work as intended on every Qualcomm device that uses the /dev/block/platform/msm_sdcc.1/by-name/recovery structure and is rooted with Busybox installed. Recoveries must be named stock.img and custom.img and must be placed in the root folder of your internal SD Card. Before using this tool, double check everything, since messing with recoveries may result in a bricked device.
Android L or Lemon Meringue Pie is on its way, so there might be some OTA updates available in the near (or not so near) future. Prepare yourself for OTAs by visiting the Simple Recovery Switcher application thread.
August 26, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Unlike other operating systems, Android uses its own graphical image formats. Most of the images use in the OS are PNGs, but there are some devices that use the RLE image format for their kernel logos. This format provides a pretty good compression ratio and is very fast. Sadly, converting a PNG file to RLE isn’t easy and requires some tools. There are plenty of them, but not many can be described as cross-platform and don’t require ImageMagick to work properly.
If you are looking for a simple tool able to convert PNG files into RLE files in just few seconds, XDA Senior Member alireza7991 has created something for you. PNG2RLE is a text tool that converts raw PNG images into the kernel logo compatible format on almost every OS. It works like a charm on Linux, Windows, and even directly on Android.
Usage is very simple and straightforward. You need to execute the binary and put a path to the input and output files. As a result, you’ll get a RLE file ready to be placed in your device’s ramdisk. In case of any problems, you can read the provided ReadMe file that can be found in one of the files on Github, because PNG2RLE is an open-sourced project.
Don’t leave your kernel with a stock and ugly kernel image. Replace it with your favorite PNGs using PNG2RLE. You can get started by visiting the PNG2RLE original thread.