Not too long ago here on the XDA Portal, we covered how Google had made good on their promise to allow Google Chromecast customers to finally cast and mirror their device screens onto the big screen through the little and inexpensive powerhouse. However, due to limitations on devices for which this feature had become available, our members stepped up to the plate and decided to “fix” Google’s mistake and gave the gift of mirror cast the home screen to pretty much all devices, with a few exceptions. But this article is not about Chromecast or even Google. Rather, we focus on the work that XDA Senior Member farmerbb has brought to the table, which should make a whole lot of you very happy that you decided to take the plunge with that FullHD TV.
The dev presents his app, known as Second Screen. Despite of what its name might suggest, this is not a tool to extend your home screen to a TV but rather a tool to properly cast your current screen onto the big screen. The main issue is that Android natively tries to use any resolution it sees fit whenever it streams its screen. It pays no attention to what resolution your screen actually has and essentially mirrors a raw version of your device’s screen onto the TV it is being cast to. This happens regardless of whether you use DNLA, MHL, or any of the other TV devices such as Miracast–or even the Chromecast. Second Screen aims at providing you with a way to properly cast your screen so that it looks is best whenever you are showing it off to your friends and family. It does so by allowing for a user selectable resolution and even DPI in order to take full advantage of your TV. On top of this, the app has several additional features such as turning the screen and haptic feedback off in order to save battery usage while you cast. Also, it provides easy connectivity options to use either a WiFi or Bluetooth input devices in order to turn your device into a home entertainment system. As for the cherry on top, you can cast Chrome in Desktop mode without manually having to go in and change clients yourself.
The app requires root to work and is, unfortunately, made to work mostly on AOSP-derived ROMs. Feel free to try it on other devices, but the dev makes no guarantees that it will work on other software. Feedback for this is rather paramount, so if you have a device running any AOSP variant and have a Chromecast, Miracast, or any TV fitted with a way to receive a cast, please take it for a spin and report any feedback you may have. Now, go and cast your heart out! You can find more information in the Second Screen app thread.
July 23, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
XDA Developer TV Producer AdamOutler is known for his XDA Unboxing series where he tears apart an innocent device all the way to its bare components. Whether intentional or not, he has unboxed a few Samsung devices in his day. Everything from the original Samsung Galaxy II, the Galaxy Nexus, the Verizon Samsung Galaxy S III, to the Samsung Galaxy Camera, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S 4.
However, he doesn’t stop at striping it down to its bare bones. He talks with XDA Senior Recognized Developer Dees_troy about TWRP for the Gear Live. Finally, he shows us an interesting bit of charging information, in the vein of his last video investigating charging. So what are you waiting for? Check out this video.
The XDA Portal is a place where we like to talk about things that are interesting, fun, and sometimes unusual and unexpected. One recent project that we encountered is easily able to fall into all of the above criteria.
If you have some basic manual skills, the right materials, and a few minutes of free time, you can make your own DIY capacitive stylus in just few minutes. This hand-made tool will work with every device with a capacitive touchscreen and is pretty easy to make, even if you’ve had little to no experience with creating similar things. XDA Senior Member Sangeet007 made a tutorial explaining the whole process in details. The tutorial is a combination of photos and accompanying description. Everything is made of cheap materials like pen or tin foil. And if provided materials are not enough, Sangeet007 linked us to a video, where you can see the process in action. The simple and efficient process can be done in just few minutes.
Naturally, this hand-made capacitive stylus will never be as good as inductive technology active digitizer pens like the Wacom units on the Galaxy Note lineup–or even the N-trig pen on the latest Microsoft Surface Pro 3. However, most devices lack active digitizers, so users are stuck with capacitive styluses– and with this tutorial, they are now cheap and can be made by anybody.
You can find instructions to build a DIY stylus for Xperias (and other devices) by visiting the Stylus creation tutorial thread.
July 22, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It’s not Wednesday yet, but we’ve got a great Google first party Android app update to share. Rather than an app update in the traditional sense, today’s update is actually to the Google Play Store–and this new version packs quite a nice visual makeover that features a new and image-rich UI, as well as a hint of Material Design.
Today’s update to the Google Play Store brings the virtual storefront to version 4.9.13, up from version 4.8.22 that we shared just six days ago. And as you can expect from a relatively significant version number change, 4.9 brings a few very noticeable visual changes. For starters, when you access any particular Play Store entry–be it audio, video, apps, or written content–you are given a new image-rich listing page. This new style, which is seen in the leftmost screenshot, makes it easier to get a sense of your potential app purchase, as well as allow developers to create more enticing listings. In addition, Play Store listings now feature a floating action bar menu that fades into place when scrolling down any entry. This, along with a new and more prominent Google+ section can be seen in the middle screenshot. Finally, an updated “What’s New” section can be seen in the rightmost screenshot. This can be summoned by tapping on the section and dismissed by either clicking the “x” or scrolling up past the content.
The update isn’t complete in its visual transformation, however. When first launching the app, users won’t see any readily apparent changes. At this time, only the listing pages appear to be changed. That said, the update is a good move in the right direction, and we can’t wait to see the rest of the app’s visual makeover–perhaps in time for Android L and Material Design in the Fall.
While Play Store 4.9 has already begun rolling out, it will naturally be some time before everyone receives the update. As such, we’ve gone ahead and mirrored the APK for your sideloading pleasure.
[Many thanks to XDA Recognized Developer febycv for the APK!]
In modern life, you can’t underestimate the power of
the dark side messaging applications like Facebook, Snapchat, or WhatsApp. These apps are used by millions every day, so it’s definitely a large user base.
If you use WhatsApp just for typing plain text messages without sending selfies or cat images to your friends, or maybe you often misclick selecting the photo or voice record buttons, you might be interesting to try an Xposed module made by XDA Senior Member jayshah.
Jayshash’s module allows you to entirely re-configure the look of the message bar by removing unnecessary elements. Users have options to remove the camera shortcut and disable the voice messages button. With these simple modifications, you gain a bit of control of the WhatsApp application and make it more streamlined for you to use.
Since WhatsApp mods is an Xposed module, it uses Xposed Frameworks to apply these changes. And of course to use Xposed, your device must be rooted. You can find a rooting guide by visiting the home forum for your device.
Are you using WhatsApp to stay in touch with your friends and family? If so, don’t hesitate to visit the WhatsApp mods module thread to get the most of this great application.
July 22, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Our international xda:devcon ’14 in Manchester, UK on the weekend of September 26-28 is a celebration of all things mobile. The most popular sect of mobile development is perhaps software development. There are many different ways to develop software. You can use libraries and APIs to help advance your skills, among other things.
Today, we are happy to announce another great speaker that will be at xda:devcon ’14. MaR-V-iN is a computer science student, privacy enthusiast and hacker. MaR-V-iN started coding for Android at the end of Gingerbread era. Since then contributed to numerous Free Open Source Software projects. He is a big fan of penguins around him.
At xda:devcon ’13, XDA Elite Recognized Developer Stericson gave a presentation entitled “Root Application Development with the RootTools Library.” In his presentation, creating root applications for rooted users becomes extremely trivial with the RootTools open source library. If you wanted to learn about creating root apps check out the video from last year.
This year, MaR-V-iN’s presentation will be about which APIs are missing on non-Google systems, how they work, with specific focus on Play Services and what developers should do about it. Entitled “The Google in Android™,” this presentation talks about how since the first release of Android, Google has been an integral part of Android. At Android’s beginning, most apps by Google were just standard apps and use was not forced. More recently, however, Google started providing APIs through these apps. Since the rollout of alternative AOSP distributions, Google increasingly provides APIs through “Google Play Services” and the corresponding library. While Google claims that they’re combating fragmentation between Android versions this way, they’re in fact targeting fragmentation between Android and alternative AOSP distributions. So check out this talk to learn more about Google’s APIs, this is the talk for you.
“Today while browsing XDA, I’m going to check to see if my favorite ROM has been updated–but first, let me take a #selfie.” Photos of your own face taken from arms length, selfie snapshots, are the sign of the era of smartphones. It is after all not too surprising to see now that we have easily accessible cameras and Internet connections. Selfies even made their way to this year’s Oscar ceremony, so this phenomenon is certainly not a trend that will be easily broken.
Taking a good photo of yourself might be considered trivial, but it is in fact is somewhat problematic. On most phones, the front facing camera is of significantly lower quality than the rear camera. And if you try to use the rear camera for your selfie, you’ll likely end up with half of your face excluded from the picture. There are some tools though that can help you out when snapping your photo. One of them was made by XDA Forum Member hotspot_volcano.
Cleverly entitled Smart Selfie, this app presents a rather innovative idea. The app recognizes faces and guide you using voice commands to take a perfect selfie photo with your rear-facing camera. After launching, the application asks you about how many people will be included in your photo and the shot’s orientation. The app then guides you and suggests how to move the camera in order to take the shot. When all the requirements are met, application automatically pulls the trigger and your shot is taken.
Currently, the application limits the rear camera to 5 MP, and it detects up to 4 people. However, this is still far better than most standard front cameras–barring the Oppo N1, of course. Smart Selfie should work on almost every device running Froyo or later and with CPU faster than 800 MHz.
Are you a selfie enthusiast? If yes, don’t hesitate to visit the Smart Selfie application thread and let the app take your best photo ever.
July 22, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Every Tuesday like clockwork, we talk about an Xposed Module designed to help you make your life easier, more secure, or just more awesomer (yes, I say that is a word). We’ve showed everything from Heads Up Notification Easter eggs to Deep Sleep Battery Saver, all the way down to PerAppFonts customization. And today will be no different. Here is a module that, perhaps, will make your life easier
In this episode of XDA Xposed Tuesday, XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews an Xposed Module that lets you activate apps from your PIN lock screen. XDA Senior Member hamzahrmalik created the PINshortcuts module. TK shows off the modules and gives his thoughts, so check out this Xposed Tuesday video.
July 22, 2014 By: Faiz Malkani
Android clipboard management has always been impractical without the use of third-party apps. Want to put two items in the clipboard? Not possible. Want to view your clipboard? Not possible. However, in terms of third-party apps, XDA Forum Member theredsunrise has a unique solution to clipboard management in the form of StuffMerge.
StuffMerge adds an unobtrusive drawer off the side of your screen that you can easily swipe open and manage your Android clipboard, in addition to being able to compose a message and share it to other apps. It also adds a running notification to your status bar that allows you to toggle the drawer, as well as pause or unpause the app. StuffMerge also runs in the background, allowing you to easily send text to the clipboard without needing to directly engage with the app.
Head over to the StuffMerge application thread to get started. StuffMerge is free to download, but places a limit on the number of snippets that can be saved and even that can be lifted with an in-app purchase.
Having a wide choice of third party applications is one of the most beautiful things that Android has to offer. Almost every app has its alternative. So if you don’t like a particular offering, you can easily replace it with another–hopefully much better–alternative.
Naturally, the same thing applies to Internet browsers. Chrome or Firefox doesn’t necessarily have to be your default choice. Some lesser known projects maintained by one or a few developers are often better than big boys made by corporations. One of the smaller projects that is worth taking a quick look at is Pale Moon Browser. This browser was ported to Android by XDA Recognized Developer cyansmoker.
Pale Moon is fully open source, Firefox-based browser. It is focused on speed and efficiency. To that end, the developers take special care to add only crucial functions and keep the application as light as possible. Pale Moon has earned some fans on Windows and Linux already, and now Android users can enjoy this project because Cyansmoker delivered his source-built browser port.
The current build is considered an Alpha version. As such, the application is still at very early stage of development and may not work on every device. It likely depends of CPU architecture, so only certain devices should be able to run this browser successfully.
You can find more details and the download by heading over to the Pale Moon Browser application thread. Feel free to go there and give it a try.
Google Maps is a must have application for every amateur world explorer. It’s fast, reliable, and saves us from getting lost on a daily basis. And with the addition of Street View, Maps has become one of the best and most widely used apps that Google has ever developed.
Even the greatest apps still have a room for improvement. XDA Forum Member markacme did something unusual and decided to combine Google Maps and Street View in a way that differs greatly from what Google offers. Markacme split the screen into two parts: The upper half shows the image from Street View, while the bottom shows the map. With this, the application is easy to navigate and can be used without touching the screen. This is possible because of volume rocker, which moves the camera forward or backward. If you enjoy visiting certain places repeatedly, you can always mark them as a favorite and browse through them later to watch the areas by yourself or show them to your friends.
The concept of this application is pretty fresh, and the application is easier to navigate than the default Google apps. Street Panorama is a great tool when you are planning to explore new places either on foot or while relaxing at home.
If you like the concept of this application, don’t hesitate to try it yourself. All you need to do is visit the Street Panorama app thread and give it a try.
Can you #MakeAwesomeHappen? Your app idea could win a Pebble and a trip to our 2nd Annual Developer Retreat in Mountain View, CA!
For those who haven’t kept up with the wearables market over the last year or so, you may not be aware of Pebble. Pebble is the smartwatch that 68,000+ people brought to life, crowdfunding a record $10.3MM on Kickstarter, and put wearable technology on the map. With a vibrant developer community and thriving ecosystem, Pebble is the platform for the best and brightest wearable apps. Pebble SDK 2 invites developers to build unique, delightful, and practical apps that push the boundaries of what smartwatches can do.
The XDA – Pebble Developer Challenge is a 3-week competition – your opportunity to pitch your proposal for the best Pebble app and bring it to life with a Pebble of your own. We’ll be awarding Pebbles to the 20 best app proposals in order to give even first time developers a chance to work on our platform. Of the 20 proposals that we select, the best 3 Pebble apps created will be invited to attend the 2014 Pebble Developer Retreat in October and we’ll give them each a Pebble Steel.
Here’s how the competition is going to go:
Round 1 (July 21 – August 15, 2014):
Round 2 (August 15 – September 12, 2014):
Grand prize and Popular Choice award winners will be announced on September 12th, 2014.
App Idea Finalists (20)- Pebble Smartwatch
Grand Prize Winners (3)
-Pebble Steel Smartwatch
-Pebble Developer Retreat 2014 invitation with all expenses paid
- Challenge Idea Submission Period: July 21, 2014 (10:00am Pacific Time) – August 1, 2014 (5:00pm Pacific Time)
- Idea Selection Period: August 4, 2014 (10:00am Pacific Time) – August 7, 2014 (5:00pm Pacific Time)
- Idea Selection will be done by Pebble and XDA.
- Pebble Shipment Date: August 8, 2014
- Challenge Development Period: August 15, 2014 (10:00am Pacific Time) – September 5, 2014 (5:00pm Pacific Time)
- App Submission Date: on or before September 5, 2014 (5:00pm Pacific Time)
- Finalist Voting Period: September 8, 2014 (10:00am Pacific Time) – September 12, 2014 (1:00pm Pacific Time)
- Public Finalist Voting will take place on the XDA Website and will be open only to registered XDA users.
- XDA will choose 1 grand finalist winner and Pebble will choose 1 grand finalist winner.
- All Winners Announced: On or around September 12, 2014 (2:00pm Pacific Time)
July 21, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
HTC One Mini is receiving Sense 6! That and much more news is covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this weekend. Included in this week’s news is the comprehensive guide to help you get started with CyanogenMod Theme Development. Also, be sure the check out the article showing you how to control Tasker with your Samsung Gear 2! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about the other video released this weekend on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Jordan released a video showing you how to root the LG G3. Finally, Jordan talks about our call for talent for XDA Developer TV. So pull up a chair and check out this video.