August 12, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Here on XDA Developer TV, we talk about helpful Xposed Modules on our weekly show, XDA Xposed Tuesday. We’ve covered some modules that have everything and the kitchen sink, and those are great, but sometimes the simplest module catches our attention because it solves a singular major annoyance.
In this episode of XDA Xposed Tuesday, XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews an Xposed Module that lets you change the starting screen in the YouTube application. XDA Recognized Developer GermainZ created the YourTube module. TK shows off the modules and gives his thoughts, so check out this Xposed Tuesday video.
The Sony Xperia Z1, also known as the Honami, brought many interesting solutions for end users with regards to UI styling. Sony is well known for delivering a good looking OS that is stable, reliable, and easy on the eyes, and many of the people here on the XDA forums will agree.
If you didn’t purchase this formerly flagship device, fear not. Some elements from the Honami’s interface can be easily added to other Android-powered devices. One such UI element is the loading animation that is used in places such as the stock Gallery app, Browser, and so on. XDA Forum Member ljg211314 shared a thorough guide explaining the whole process of theming.
The guide is presents all the various resources needed to replace the XML files in your current ROM and the instruction on what needs to be changed.To make use of this guide, you need to use the good old APKTool, which still is in use in many modification available on XDA.
The modification is designed to work with Sony devices, but you can try to use it on your own on device of a different manufacturer. Change your AOSP experience by adding some quality stuff from Sony’s Xperia UI.
You can learn more about theming your ROM with some Honami elements by visiting the Honami UI Elements guide thread.
Init.d plays an important role in custom ROM development. In short, it allows the execution of scripts upon every boot. It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple SD Card mount script or a rather complex set of performance tweaks–init.d is often used to initialize them. If your kernel has support for init.d built in, it executes these scripts every time.
Unfortunately, not every device is rooted and not every stock kernel supports init.d by default. This may leave many wishing for the ability to run various scripts on boot. Luckily, XDA Recognized Developer bartito has prepared an application that runs init.d scripts on every device. This simple app allows you to define a folder on your SD Card that contains all your initialization scripts and executes them after a successful boot. Some scripts require root access, such as those that change various values in the kernel, so you obviously need to be aware of the privileges required by the scripts you wish to run.
Usage of the app is very simple. Basically all that you need to do is copy your scripts to your SD Card, select a folder in the app, and put a checkmark on the “run at boot” option from within the app.
If your kernel lacks init.d support or perhaps you prefer to keep your system in a vanilla state without losing equivalent functionality to init.d, this app may be exactly what you are looking for! You can grab the latest version by visiting the Init.d for normal users application thread.
August 11, 2014 By: Faiz Malkani
The annual Blackhat conference, now in its 17th year, took place in Las Vegas last week. The conference is an assembly of security-focused individuals at which a number of devices such as home automation systems, smart cars, etc are hacked, in addition to a line up of speakers discussing information security. This year’s event turned out to be rather momentous with the SilentCircle’s Blackphone being rooted by XDA Senior Recognized Developer jcase. Another interesting development was Dan Rosenberg’s discussion, which popped up on the speakers list as ““including a live demonstration of using it to permanently unlock the bootloader of a major Android phone,”.
As it turned out, Dan Rosenberg, also known as XDA Recognized Developer DJRBliss, published a report which detailed a security vulnerability in ARM’s TrustZone, which is used by Qualcomm as a security layer on its Snapdragon line of processors. Rosenberg stated that this vulnerability existed on all Android devices that supported TrustZone and used a Snapdragon SoC, except the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8, both of which have already been patched. He demonstrated his claim by unlocking a Moto X bootloader on stage, going on to say that a number of devices including Nexus 4 and Nexus 5, LG G2, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 were vulnerable.
While this is a notable discovery, it poses no immediate threat since Rosenberg did not release his exploit to the public, which allows manufacturers to patch it before any serious damage is done. Have a look at his full report in this summary image.
August 11, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
The Samsung Galaxy Gear gets it first Custom ROM based on Tizen OS! That and much more news is covered by Jordan when he reviews all the important stories from this weekend. Included in this week’s news is the article talking about creating your own custom Android Wear watch face. Also, be sure the check out the article talking about the closing for round one of our Pebble Developer Challenge! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about the other video released this weekend on XDA Developer TV. Producer TK released a video reviewing the new Lepow ADD Magnetic Expandable External Battery. Jordan also talks about the addition of Ubuntu, Spur, and Epson as sponsors for xda:devcon14. So pull up a chair and check out this video.
August 11, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
There is absolutely no shortage of unit converters on the Android platform. In fact, ever since our phones were graced with the awesomeness that is Google Now / Voice Search, we’ve been able to convert units on the fly using nothing but the soothing sounds of our own voice. But even though converting units by voice is convenient in certain circumstances, it’s not always the most precise. Because of this, there is still certainly a place for dedicated unit conversion apps.
With so many good unit conversion app options already available, any newcomer into the arena needs to bring something substantial to the table. This is exactly what XDA Forum Member SniperDW with his latest application, S Converter. The first thing you will notice when you fire up the app is its remarkably clean and user-friendly UI. It features Material Design visual flair, including a floating action button and a prominent action bar with support for a translucent status bar. This app’s look is also customizable, with both light and dark themes being available. You can even hide unused units to lessen the visual clutter. Next, you’ll quickly find that the actual conversion functionality is quite refined. You can combine units of different systems into a single unit, choose between different grouping units, create custom units, and much more. The app’s currency converter even supports over 40 currencies!
If you want a great looking and general purpose conversion app, S Converter is the way to go. You can get started by heading over to the S Converter application thread.
August 10, 2014 By: Faiz Malkani
Every year, Google publishes an app for its I/O conference that serves a dual purpose. In addition to being a guide and schedule planner for those attending the conference or live streaming it across the globe, the app also serves as a demonstration of the best practices for Android design and development. This year’s I/O Keynote was a resounding success, the expanding of Android’s horizons being complemented by the launch of the Android L Developer Preview. While some of the products unveiled such as Android Auto and Android One have yet to be launched, Android L and its Material Design principles made an instant impact, receiving tremendous acclaim.
In accordance with the launch of Material Design, the Google I/O 2014 used the Material principles and left a lasting impact with its smooth transitions, paper and ink based nature, new elements such as the Floating Action Button, and a clean but colorful interface to go with it. The app left developers craving the source code in order to implement similar patterns in their apps, and sure enough, the I/O 2014 app source code was made public and released on GitHub.
Head over to the I/O 2014 Github repository to view or download the source code and get started with the implementation of the Material Design patterns in your own app, or read the launch article on the official Android Developers blog to learn the reasoning behind the patterns.
Video games have been around for nearly a century. They are deeply embedded into the fabric of society and are not going anywhere anytime soon. One of the most iconic exponents of the entire video game world is none other than Pong. This game, which was created in 1972, was the precursor to what it is today a multi-billion dollar business. The idea and style of game has spawned tons upon tons of different versions and variants of itself and one of the latest installments in this genre was created by XDA Forum Member ahmed.samir.wafa.
Multipong is a game that pretty much resembles the 1972 creation, but with better graphics. For those of you in the audience who may be a tad too young to even know about the existence of this, Pong is basically computerized ping pong. You control a paddle and your objective, much as it is in Arkanoid-style games, is to not let the ball go past you. However, the game goes a step further because of its play modes. You can test your reflexes against the computer, play against someone using the same device (fantastic way to make use of the 10 finger detection that most capacitive screens can accomplish in this day and age), or play against people in your Google+ circles. If there is no one around at the time, you can even send them invitations to come in and join you through Google+ as well.
The game is a first release by the dev, and he is looking for feedback on how to make the game better. Considering that pong was basically the foundation for all the games above, making suggestions to improve it might not be entirely impossible. Having said that, please do drop by the thread to share your thoughts and ideas with the dev and the rest of the community.
You can find more information in the original Multipong thread.
The vast world of something as simple as file managers has evolved substantially since the long gone days of Windows Mobile. Our current file managers do so much more than show us with pretty graphics where our stuff is located. With the right permissions, file managers in Android can allow the user to perform everything from file maintenance to categorizing, and even uninstalling system apps. Earlier this year, we spoke about a file manager here on the XDA Portal that goes by the name of Tomi File Manager. Not long after, the app grew and evolved into a far more sophisticated tool, and because of the work put into it, we decided to look at it once again. It is now over a month later, and we visit this app once again only to see that XDA Senior Member uuOuu has been putting some overtime on this wonderful app.
This new iteration of Tomi file manager has been blessed with more root level privileges such as the ability to uninstall some of that good old fashioned stock apps (also known as bloatware) that our beloved carriers seem to enjoy trying to shove down our throats. Also, the app’s UI was somewhat revamped and has an easier to use menu bar to improve handling of files. A few other updates also include the ability to manage files in Dropbox, 7zip management, more languages, and even now supports handling of files via SMB and FTP. Lastly, if you are an Instagram user, you can now use Tomi to let Instagram pic the pictures by using its interface.
This app is a great example of the developer listening to feedback from users. If you look at the second post in the thread, you will see the results of polls created by the OP, which includes lists of all the things suggested by you (the users) to be implemented into the app. It is a constant work in progress and as you can tell, the feedback is what has made this app take off like it has. So, please stop by and see if you can think of something to make it even better. You can find more information in the Tomi File Manager app thread.
August 9, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Here on XDA Developer TV, we’ve covered a few external batteries to help extend the use of your device when the on-board battery starts to deplete. The items we have covered have been everything from a standard battery from Lepow, to a battery plus a plethora of options like an SD Card reader from RAVPower and a huge 14000mAh Power Bank from RAVPower.
In this episode, XDA Developer TV Producer TK takes some time to talk about a unique smartphone accessory, the Lepow ADD. This device is marketed as a backup external battery charger, but it has an twist, it has two parts, so you can have a huge battery, or separate it to charge one and carry a light stinger for your short trips. Does this one stand out? Check out this video to find out.
August 9, 2014 By: Faiz Malkani
Ever since the early days of Android, back when it had a reputation of being bug-riddled and lacking in performance, custom ROMs were always the solution. In those days, they were focused on providing performance optimization, lag removal, and bug fixes. But with each Android iteration, the operating system got better, and ROM developers saw their roles gradually change. Nowadays, custom ROMs focus on providing new features, user experience enhancement and interface tweaks in addition to just fixing bugs. Despite the change, the end user still clamours for the same thing, the latest update–however small or insignificant it may be.
Downloading an entire ROM zip just to get a small update does seem rather pointless, and somewhere down the line, a new solution in the form of Delta updates surfaced which only required you to download a small zip containing the required files. XDA Recognized Developer cybojenix has developed a nifty tool, DeltaJen, that works similarly by allowing you to make an incremental update for the ROM by comparing two ROM zips and promises extremely small updates.
Head over to the DeltaJen thread to get started with the tool. For now, DeltaJen does not fully support Windows, and Linux is the recommended choice. However, the zips it produces are compatible with any recovery. Happy flashing!
August 8, 2014 By: Faiz Malkani
For some time, Google has placed a relatively heavy emphasis on design. This trend is resoundingly obvious in their minimalist homepage, as well as in the recently updated Android L Developer Preview. Design trends and guidelines, however, do not remain stagnant, but rather evolve and change every few years or so. New components, foundations, patterns and, even languages are constantly being released. And in keeping with the trend of change, Google does its fair share of design innovation. Although this became even more evident with the introduction of Material Design, various Google UI patterns have been emerging and establishing themselves.
One such pattern is the date and time picker introduced in Google Keep and later carried over other apps such as Google Now. This picker, in order to simplify the user experience, replaces times and dates with more natural terms such as “in one hour” or “tomorrow.” However, unlike the Google I/O app which is open sourced every year, Google Keep is closed source. How then, does one go about including this picker in one’s own app? Worry not, for XDA Senior Member SimplicityApks has the solution in the form of the ReminderDatePicker library. Besides being relatively easy to implement, the library manages to replicate the Google Keep experience perfectly. And since it’s open source under the Apache license, you are free to include this in your app in progress.
Head over to the ReminderDatePicker library thread to get started with implementing it in your own app, or if you want to go through the source code.
August 8, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Perhaps the main reason why we all own smartphones nowadays is that we all wish to feel connected. This usually takes the form of staying connected with friends, family, coworkers, and so on–but we also often need to remain connected to the world as well. Many of us consequently use our devices to keep up to date with the latest goings-on in the world, with sports, and more. And because of this, there are dozens of apps available that help us find and consume interesting news, as quickly as possible.
Although there are tons of news apps out there, not all of them are terribly convenient. Google’s own News and Weather app offers basic functionality, but those looking to customize are left in the cold. Not all aftermarket options offer widgets or tie into Google News as a source, so that’s not ideal either. Luckily, XDA Senior Member luciferabby decided to create Feed.Me, which brings Google News to your home screen in an intelligent and efficient manner.
Feed.Me is a simple and cleanly designed news widget that uses your browser history to collect and store Google Search topics. It then accumulates Google News items related to these topics. This functionality works both with Google Searches and Chrome. To use the app, all you need to do is add the widget to your home screen, and it’ll do the rest. You can also manually specify topics if you are so inclined.
If you’ve been looking for a great looking and highly functional news widget offering, head over to the Feed,Me application thread and give this a whirl.