The Nokia X family’s fate is not yet set in stone. The first Android-powered device from the legendary OEM might prove to be a great success or even greater failure, as our Editor-in-Chief Will mentioned in his analysis. One thing is certain though: Some Nokia applications are highly anticipated, with Nokia Maps being right at the very top of the list. While Here Maps hasn’t yet been ported to other devices, one Nokia X app has made its way to other devices.
The first application ported from the Nokia X was the Nokia Store, which is a replacement of Google Play Store seen on the vast majority of Android devices. The application was ported by XDA Senior Member opssemnik, who did the dirty work, and now Nokia’s app can work without any build.prop modifications. Some applications still can’t be installed due to some permissions and API problems, but this is to be expected because of Nokia’s framework and API changes on the X family.
Hopefully, the Nokia Store is only the first application ported from the X. And maybe in time, we will see Nokia Maps and other Finnish goodies on Samsung, LG, Sony, and HTC devices. In the mean time, you can go to the application thread to get your hands on Nokia Store. From there, simply install the Nokia Store like any other app.
February 27, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
There are many reasons why one would want to connect a high end microphone to a mobile device. Having a mobile phone that can double as a near-studio quality recording source is not only a really cool novelty, it can be genuinely useful in a pinch. And with the relatively high video quality offered by mobile imaging sensors, decent audio recording capabilities could help bridge the quality gap for budding video producers.
After experimenting with various connection mechanisms, microphones, and adapters, XDA Recognized Developer AdamOutler wrote a guide detailing the process of getting various different types of microphones to play nicely with Android devices. The process describes all of the steps and parts required in making your own custom adapter to connect mics with XLR, dual XLR, and 1/4″ plugs. The guide also covers how you can use a USB OTG connector to power mics that require external power. The steps covered in the guide are all described in great detail, and there are plenty of pictures to help you follow along.
If you’re a mobile videographer looking to optimize your audio recording quality or if you simply want a better alternative to carrying around a lot of recording gear, make your way over to the original thread to get started.
February 27, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
The Chromecast is perhaps one of the most innovative $35 devices to come out in the last year. Until recently, you couldn’t do much with it except stream Netflix to your TV. But what about local content? I just want to just select some local media and cast away!
XDA Forum Member awjones offers up a way to show your local media on your Chromecast. In this video, XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews Castaway. TK shows off the application and gives his thoughts, so check out this app review.
February 27, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It’s become quite a routine occurrence to have at least one of Google’s major first-party Android apps updated per week. This time, the latest “victim” is Google+, which received its update to version 4.3—and with it, a plethora of new photo-related options for your shutterbug pleasure.
The most significant update is in the new photo editing menu. Borrowed from Google’s recent Snapseed acquisition, G+ Photos now presents the user with many more photo editing tools. In addition to the standard crop/rotate/auto tools, you can now apply various image tweaks such as brightness, contrast, saturation, and sharpness through simple swipes. Vertical swipes select between tools in any given mode, whereas horizontal swipes adjust each option’s parameters. In addition, these tools can be applied to specified tool hot zones, as shown in the screenshot with the red circle.
In addition to simply offering more tools to appease your photo editing OCD, the latest version of G+ also allows for non-destructive editing across devices. In other words, you can make edits on one device, and then continue editing, revert changes, or start from scratch at any point on another devices. Finally, the auto photo backup was given a bit of a tweak, now allowing users to backup all local folders, in addition to just those taken by the device camera. This is especially handy if you use other photo apps with different default folders. Unfortunately, this feature does not yet allow users to select which folders are to be backed up—but we can hope that Google will rectify this simple oversight in future versions.
The update is being released in the form of a staged rollout. And while the Google Play Store listing shows that the application has been updated, it may not hit your device immediately. As such, we have mirrored the APK over on DevHost so that you can get in on the action a bit early.
Are you a fan of the Snapseed-inspired photo editing tweaks? Let us know in the comments below!
[Many thanks to XDA Senior Member kautionwirez for the tip!]
February 26, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It’s been a long time coming, and now the time is here. The Google Now Launcher is finally available in the Google Play Store, but there’s a catch: It’s only officially available for Google Play edition and Nexus devices running Android 4.4 KitKat.
The Google Now Launcher, otherwise known as the Google Experience Launcher, originally debuted on the Nexus 5 alongside its release back in October. While the launcher isn’t the most feature packed, there are nice addons available to tweak the functionality of the GEL to your liking.
During the past few months, we’ve seen the launcher appear on other devices by means of side-loading the launcher stub and having the latest version of Google Search installed. But until now, this was just officially a Nexus 5 treat. Google has now opened up the launcher for use on its other devices, namely all Nexus and GPe devices running KitKat—though some custom ROM users have reported compatibility issues.
So if you’ve got yourself a GPe or Nexus device other than the Nexus 5, head over to the Google Play Store Listing to get started. And if you are running a different device but already have the latest version of Google Search installed (184.108.40.2069776), head over to our DevHost mirror to download the APK directly. Then once you’re done loading the launcher on your own device, ask your device, “OK Google, What does the Fox say?”
[Many thanks to Developer Committee members kinfauns for the heads up on the lack of compatibility with certain ROMs and Overground for the APK.]
February 26, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Mobile World Congress is happening right now. Chances are your FaceGramTwitterBook Plus feeds are being spammed with all the exciting announcements—everything from Sony’s new devices to Samsung and HTC, and that’s not all! There’s a good chance you missed something or have Kelly Bundyed it. That’s when you hear too much stuff and you loose the older information as it falls right out of your brain.
There is no need to fear because XDA Developer TV Producer Extraordinaire Jordan has scoured the web, RSS feeds, Social Media feeds, YouTube, and a Taco Bell Breakfast menu to compile all the information you need to know about what has been announced at this year’s Mobile world Congress. So, pull up a chair and check out this video.
February 26, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
The right to SIM unlock one’s mobile phone has been feverishly contested in recent years. But for the first time since a 2012 decision by the Library of Congress that ruled cell phone unlocking a violation of the DMCA, progress has now been made to give consumers greater choice in network patronage.
Yesterday, a bill was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives that allows for consumer cell phone unlocking for use on alternate networks. The bill passed by a 295-114 vote, and it essentially repeals a the Library of Congress’s 2012 ruling to not renew a DMCA exemption that was granted in 2006 and 2010. The 2012 ruling eventually lead to a massively publicized petition that gathered 114,322 signatures before gaining presidential support. Now, the fruits of the petition have come in the form of bill H.R. 1123, which can be summarized as follows:
H.R. 1123 repeals a Library of Congress (LOC) rulemaking determination made on October 28, 2012 (upon the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights) regarding the circumvention of technological measure controlling access to copyrighted software on wireless telephone handsets (cell phones) for the purpose of connecting to different wireless telecommunications networks. This practice is commonly known as “unlocking.” This legislation replaces this with a rulemaking determination that went into effect on July 27, 2010. This would reinstate the exemption that allowed consumers to be able to legally unlock their cell phones so that they can use it on other cellular networks.
In addition, this legislation allows any individual who wishes to unlock their cell phone for personal use to seek help from others without violating anti-circumvention provisions and clarifies that this bill does not permit the unlocking of cell phones for the purpose of bulk resale. Finally, H.R. 1123 directs the Librarian to study the issue of unlocking other cellular devices (e.g. tablets) and enact a rulemaking for these devices.
In other words, the passing of H.R. 1123 overrules the Library of Congress’s decision to not renew the previous DMCA exemption for cell phone unlocking by allowing individuals to unlock their phones without fear of violating anti-circumvention provisions.
While the passing of H.R. 1123 is in some ways beneficial to consumers, it is far from perfect. Unfortunately, the legislation does not extend to unlocking for the purpose bulk device resale. Thus, while permitting individual users to unlock without fear of legal repercussions, it still limits consumer freedom indirectly by hindering device resale and ultimately limiting an otherwise valid means of obtaining devices at a discount.
This is a step in the right direction, but it is just a small one. The lack of support for unlocking for bulk resale is troubling, but hopefully these issues will be ironed out in time.
February 25, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It happens to the best of us. No, not that... Well, maybe that too, but what I’m really talking about is being so busy with your day-to-day life that you forget to keep track of your finances. This endemic is only getting worse as we progress in this perpetually busy age, thanks to the growing number of recurring bills and multiple sources of income from separate jobs. Thanks to XDA Recognized Developer bartito, there is now yet another tool available to help you better keep track of your finances, no matter how complex.
The aptly titled Pocket Book / Currency Convert does exactly what its title would lead you to believe. It keeps track of your recurring expenses and sources of income. You can add all of these credits and debits into the app, along with their payment schedule and receive notifications when a payment or expense is scheduled to post. And given that our world is growing increasingly connected, these expenses and sources of income can be inputted in any currency of your choosing, thanks to real-time currency conversion courtesy of Yahoo’s servers. And in addition to simply keeping track and scheduling your bills and sources of income in any currency of your choosing, the application also allows you to browse currency conversion rates, their evolution over time, and manually convert between currencies.
Pocket Book / Currency Convert is quite a useful tool if you have a difficult time managing many sources of income and recurring expenses, especially if you deal with more than one currency. Make your way over to the application thread to take charge of your finances.
February 25, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
A boot animation is the first thing a user sees after turning on a phone or tablet. This introductory part of the ROM is very important, and directly influences our experience of said ROM. For this, Android uses PNG files and a desc.txt bundled into one zip. The text file contains resolution and frame rate information so that the boot animation displays at the correct size and with the desired speed.
Making a public preview of boot animation wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Recording from a device with a video camera definitely doesn’t look professional, and the video quality leaves much to be desired. If you ever planned to make a video of your boot animation, you should definitely give a try to a Windows-only tool written by XDA Forum Member makers_mark. A batch script pulls down the boot animation from the device using ADB. Then, it converts the bootanimation into an MP4 file that is ready to be uploaded to YouTube or similar video delivery services. The script uses such tools like 7zip to unpack the archive and FFmpeg to convert those files into a video. The process is carefully described in the thread, with an explanation of the particular elements that go into boot animations.
The tool works only on Windows machines, and it can be downloaded from the original thread.
Google seemingly brought a bit of the future into the present when it introduced voice activation to the Nexus 5 and Moto X, something we’ve only seen to such a degree in blockbuster movies and corny TV advertisements. Naturally, the rest of the Android community probably feels a bit left out of the fun while exclaiming ‘Y U NO VOICE ACTIVATE’ at their devices. There’s good news for folks who are feeling this way because there’s now a way for you to do control your phone with your voice as well.
This comes thanks to the efforts of XDA Senior Member lukes91, who has written a tutorial teaching you how to use Xposed, Tasker, Autovoice and Google Now together to achieve a similar effect. After making it clear that the tutorial is based only off lukes91’s personal setup on his HTC One X, the tutorial continues on explaining just exactly how to configure the settings of each of the aforementioned apps. Screenshots of the apps’ settings are posted throughout the guide, and lukes91 also inserts in a few personal variations to give you the feel of just how much flexibility can be had.
By the end of the process, you’ll be able to say “OK Google” to launch Google Now and other actions on your device, even when the screen is off. Of course, with such functionality, you should be prepared for some increased battery drain, with the significance varying from device to device.
If you’ve been wanting to have this function on your device, head over to the original thread to get started.
February 25, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
If you are a frequent visitor here at XDA, you more than likely enjoy Android, and probably “stock Android” without all the crap OEMs or carriers like to add. On their “stock Android” Nexus 5, Google launched the Google Experience Launcher. But to some, the experience is similar to OEM experience because you can’t fine tune the settings as much as a power user might like.
In this episode of XDA Xposed Tuesday, XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews an Xposed Module that allows you to control your Google Experience Launcher settings in more detail. XDA Forum Member theknut created the GEL Settings Xposed Module. TK shows off the module and gives his thoughts, so check out this Xposed Tuesday video.
February 24, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
With every new Linux distribution, some changes are required to successfully compile an Android build. Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution and is widely used to compile Android builds on home workstations. The most recent stable release is 13.10, but 14.04 is in testing and will be released in less than two months.
Trusty Tahr already can be used to stress test your CPU and compile your favorite ROM. As with almost every distribution, some preparation is needed, but a solution has been posted by XDA Senior Member sylentprofet.
Sylentprofet’s guide compiles all the necessary information, and how to use it. The main issue with Ubuntu 14.04 is Java. To build the Android OS with current tools, the Java version must be reverted to 1.6. Luckily, that can be done with just a few commands. Sylentprofet also shared a list of required tools and libraries needed to compile a ROM. The guide includes everything you need to know about setting up a build environment on Ubuntu and all Ubuntu-based distros like Mint, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, and so on.
Daily builds of Ubuntu can be obtained from the official Canonical website. Perhaps it’s a good time to test the beta, since it can now be done without losing the ability to compile Android. More information can be found in the guide thread.
[Thanks to my fellow news writer Samantha for the tip!]
February 24, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android 4.4.2 KitKat for the T-Mobile HTC One been released! That and much more news is covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is the announcement that AT&T HTC One KitKat update is available as well and you can see Google Project Tango in action! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about the announcement that the AT&T LG G2 KitKat release is out now. Xposed Developer Rovo89 had a Reddit AMA and talked about ART! Finally, Samsung is set to announce the Galaxy S 5! Pull up a chair and check out this video and be sure to check out other great videos on XDA Developer TV.