There are two kinds of people here at XDA-Developers: those who focus on the looks and functionality of a device, and those who focus almost exclusively on raw power, performance, and how well it stacks up against other devices within the same tier. The latter group relies heavily on certain types of apps and modifications that boost performance (tweakers, kernels with various governors, etc.), as well as benchmarks to measure said performance benefits.
Since the introduction to Android, we have seen various benchmarks that have allowed us to see how tweaking settings affects the performance of a device. One of the biggest names in this field is without a doubt AnTuTu Benchmark. For those not familiar with this class of benchmark, apps like AnTuTu utilize a series of tests that measure graphical and arithmetic performance, as well as I/O read and write speeds and several other factors. These results are then compiled and given a numeric value in the form of a component and total scores.
AnTuTu has been around for a while and it is currently officially in version 4. But just like most things in the Android ecosystem, if the app intends on staying on top of this ever shifting world, it must evolve. With this in mind, XDA Forum Member AnTuTuLabs comes to us bearing good news for the performance-a-holics here. Version 5 is currently in its development stages, but it seems to have reached a point where it is safe enough to test drive. The new benchmark suite seems to include various goodies such as a single-threaded performance test, as well as a few types of graphics testing that will utilize the full potential of your 2D and 3D graphics chip. This then allows you to obtain a rather clear picture of how well your device compares to others.
The app promises to be a ground breaker, much like its predecessors. If you are interested in generating your own opinion regarding the app, please take a look at the OP of the thread and send an Email to the address provide. You should receive an early preview to the app shortly, courtesy of AnTuTuLabs. Needless to say, please report any bugs you may run into.You can find more information in the AnTuTu Benchmark thread.
July 8, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
With the release of Android 4.4 KitKat, Google introduced a few changes that impacted the way in which SD cards are handled. As a result, user-installed applications are not longer allowed to access the entirety of your SD card partition. Instead, user-installed apps running on KitKat are only given full access to files and folders of their own creation.
The change in SD card behavior in KitKat was a very deliberate one–and one which was aimed at improving both security and overall SD card tidiness. As you would expect from such a marked change, both users and third party applications were caught in the cross-fire and left with broken apps and support nightmares. Luckily for those looking to revert this behavior, there’s an easy workaround. But as you would imagine, this isn’t quite idea.
Now, there’s a glimmer of hope that a more ideal solution may be introduced into Android L when it is eventually released later this year. Earlier today, a report was filed on the Android L developer preview issue tracker that details one app developer’s concerns with the changes introduced into KitKat. The issue reads as follows:
In every Android version before 4.4, apps were allowed to (unofficially) write to the user’s external storage. Due to competitive pressures, users demanded this feature from app developers, whom were expected to provide this feature.
In Android 4.4, this was changed so that only system apps continued to have full access to the external storage, and other apps did not, unless they used new URI-based APIs.
- I don’t see how these APIs are usable from Java or Native code that expects to work with Files, not URIs.
- It places all 3rd-party app developers at a disadvantage versus system apps.
- Users expect apps to offer them full access to the SD card, and are not asking for this restriction. This has been my experience based on user feedback.
I don’t currently see how the changes in L will improve this situation. Am I missing something? If the situation’s not as dire as I see it, perhaps Google can consider a migration guide so that it’s more obvious how to transition to the new APIs and provide the same feature set as the current java.io.File / POSIX File APIs?
Please reconsider restoring this access, even if tied to a new permission.
The issue was promptly marked as “Acknowledged” by an Android project team member, who later followed up by saying that this suggestion will be passed along to the development team.
Obviously, this in no way indicates that the SD card access rules will be changed once Android L is released in the Fall. After all, simply reverting the change in KitKat would be counterproductive for the vast majority of Android users. However, it does indicate that Google is willing to consider taking another look at the policy change–even if nothing can or will be done as a result.
Are you an app developer frustrated by the SD card access policy changes in KitKat? Are you a frustrated user tired of broken apps? Or are you pleased with the added security and order made possible by this change? Let us know in the comments below!
July 8, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
As accurate as Google Voice Search has become over the years, it’s still far from perfect–especially for less common words or when issuing search queries in noisy environment such as a car or crowded area. Now, a Google Search backend update update has made Voice Search a bit smarter by allowing you to correct misheard queries.
Google Voice Search has demonstrated contextual awareness for quite some time. For example, if you search for “Show me pictures of Renaissance art,” it shows you pictures of Renaissance art as you would expect. If you then follow this up with, “how about Baroque,” you are then shown pictures of Baroque art. Today’s update takes this one step further by allowing you to correct misheard search queries by simply saying “No, I said,” followed by the corrected query.
The results are pretty hit or miss right now, as Google Search seems to break contextual awareness somewhat frequently when correcting search queries. This is even more likely if you attempt to correct a misheard query multiple times. However, this added functionality is certainly a step in the right direction. And when used in conjunction with “OK Google Everywhere,” Voice Search is now even more useful for those in situations where direct device control isn’t the most convenient.
Speaking from personal experience, I know that no matter how hard I try to keep it clean, my Android Notification Tray gets as cluttered and dirty as the change tray in my car. Between the forty different instant messages and emails I get a day and other apps making their presence known, it’s sometimes hard to find stuff in one try. There has get to be a way to suppress those notifications that I don’t want.
In this episode of XDA Xposed Tuesday, XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews an Xposed Module that lets you clean up your notification panel. XDA Senior Member defim created the NotifyClean module. TK shows off the modules and gives his thoughts, so check out this Xposed Tuesday video.
July 7, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It’s become quite customary for Google to release updated Android Platform Stats at the start of every month. These figures show the latest state of fragmentation in the Android ecosystem–valuable information for developers looking to better target their application development efforts.
When we last left off one month ago, we were pleased to note some rather significant progress in the right direction. Android 4.4.x KitKat was up to 13.6% from 8.5% the month before, resulting in a 60% relative growth. This figure kept pace with the 60% relative growth over the month before. Unfortunately, Android 2.x was still hanging around at 15.7% of devices last month.
This month, we’ve continued the positive trend, although the rate of progress has slowed significantly. Android 4.4.x KitKat saw a 31.6% relative growth, which resulted in a total of 17.9% of active installs. Android 2.x is now down to 14.2%. This equates to a 9.6% relative drop, which keeps pace with the 9% relative drop the month before. Another way of looking at this data is that KitKat is on the rise (though its rapid inflation has slowed substantially now that a good percentage of the devices that will receive official upgrades have already gotten them), and 2.x is going down as people put down their old devices and purchase new phones. But perhaps most significantly, KitKat has finally overtaken Gingerbread, and in fact, all of Android 2.x. This is good news, folks, as we’re one step closer to finally saying goodnight to Android’s dark, software-rendered past.
In addition to version stats, the Android Developer Dashboard now also reports information regarding screen size and resolution, as well as max supported OpenGL version. This can be seen below:
As we said time and time again, it’s great to see progress in the right direction. Although we’re only a few months away from the official release of Android L, we still look forward to seeing KitKat rise in the coming months. Leave us your thoughts in the comments below!
[Source: Android Developer Dashboard]
July 7, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android L has been ported to the Nexus 4! That and much more news is covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this weekend. Included in this weekend’s news is the announcement of OmniROM landing on the Sony Z Ultra GPe. And in other porting news, the Jolla Phone Launcher has been ported to Android devices! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Be sure to check out the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Xposed Tuesday video for Deep Sleep Battery Saver. Then, TK reviewed the Sony Xperia X2. And later, TK gave us a an Android App Review of QuickClick. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
July 7, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Over the past year, we’ve talked quite a bit about SideControl by XDA Senior Member Jawomo. For those who don’t remember, this app started out as a sidebar launcher, but it has grown into a much larger project capable of delivering your notifications and allowing you to perform up to 45 custom activities. Now, Jawomo is back with a new app called Floatify.
Floatify is essentially a floating notification center. When a notification is received, you are shown a translucent popup menu with stacked notifications. These notifications are interactive, just like they would be in your notification tray, and you are also able to open or dismiss the incoming messages. You are even able to open the app in xHalo and stay within the currently running application. And of particular interest to those longing for some Android L-like goodness, Floatify is also able to display these stacked notifications on your lock screen.
Just like Jawomo’s other app, Floatify is a very well polished utility. This polish shows through in features such as smart blacklist,which allows you to prevent popups while running certain apps. And once the blacklisted app is closed, the notifications will pop up like normal. In addition, there is an option that automatically shows you all pending notifications as soon as you unlock your device.
If you’ve been looking for a better way of handling your notifications or you want to get some of L’s benefits today, you may want to give Floatify a shot. Head over to the application thread to get started.
July 6, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
We first talked about XDA Senior Member Flextrick‘s Android APKTool a little over a year ago. For those who don’t remember, Flextrick’s offering works as a frontend to the legendary APKTool (thread) by XDA Recognized Developer Brut.all, providing an easy-to-use and user-friendly package. Since it’s initial debut, the tool has continually evolved, and its second iteration adds application signing capabilities, a better UI, and the ability to work with both JAR and APK files. Now, the tool has been given another major update, as well as a name change.
Now in its third major iteration, Android APKTool is now Android Multitool. And between the time we last talked about the utility and today, it’s gained quite a lot of new features. For starters, it now allows you to use ADB to push modified files to your device. The tool’s UI has also been tweaked to allow file selection from anywhere on the host PC, as well as a few other eye candy additions. Finally, the tool also offers tag support.
If you are a loyal user looking for the latest version or if you are looking for a new tool to help you on your compiling and decompiling journey, head over to the utility thread to get in on the latest version.
July 6, 2014 By: Faiz Malkani
Ding! You have a notification. And another. And another. Unlock your phone and check it–and again and again. But wait, you’re at home, there’s no danger of anyone snooping on your data or stealing your device, so why is the lock screen needed anyway? Turning it on and off every time you enter or exit your house is unceremoniously monotonous–and if you forget, say goodbye to privacy!
Look no further, for XDA Senior Member moneytoo has just the solution you’re looking for in the form of an Xposed Module that turns off your lockscreen when you get home. Magic? No, this module works by looking for a “trusted location” that is determined based on your home WiFi network. The module works with any type of lock screen, including the fingerprint reader on the Samsung Galaxy S5, and promises no wakelocks and no internet requirement.
Head on over to the application thread to get started on your lockscreen-free usage. The module requires Android 4.4 KitKat and the Xposed Framework to run. The developer also states that future versions could include a GUI for access points and a Bluetooth based authentication system, similar to what Android Wear offers.
Bluetooth is one of the most conventional ways we transfer files from one device to another, and this is even more so with the integration of NFC technology in almost every device that’s been released in the past couple of years. And there are good reasons for this too–Bluetooth is convenient, relatively fast, energy efficient, and most important of all, can be found within any tech device of the past 10 years. With all its upsides however, it’s unfortunate that the one thing holding Bluetooth back is the restrictions on the file types that can be received, at least on the Android OS–a gripe which can be easily solved now with an Xposed module.
Developed by XDA Forum Member Massi-X, Bluetooth Unlock gets rid of this restriction on file types and allows you to receive any file type that you wish from your device to another. Okay, so possibly not every file type there may be in existence, but definitely a good proportion of what’s out there. This is so as the module enables you to select the types of files you want to receive or block from an extensive selection of file types sorted into neat categories such as Application, Audio, and Message to name a few.
Bluetooth Unlock is available in English, Italian, and Slovak, and Massi-X is welcoming any other translations if you would like to help out. So if you would like to check this module out, visit the original thread for more information and download.
FDA-developers. No, I meant XDA-Developers. Blame autocorrect. Undoubtedly, all of us have a love-hate relationship with our phone’s autocorrect and suggestions engine. At times, it saves us from embarrassing typos, but other times, it smothers us with its over-the-top suggestions–especially for proper nouns and uncommon words. Like
Disabling autocorrect won’t work, because it does do a lot of good after all and without it, we’ll end up typing nnosense txet. So what can be done? Well, XDA Senior Member theknut saves the day with his Suggestions Toggle Xposed Module which allows you to quickly toggle autocorrect by double tapping the text field that you’re typing in. Yes, its that simple.
Head over to the module thread to get started. The module works on both Swiftkey and Google Keyboard, and the only requirement is that you have Xposed Framework installed.
A few years ago, we started talking about the importance of the always necessary (and not always easy to read) logcat. This happens to be a rather important tool for both developers as well as for users. Developers will normally use the data contained within these logs to troubleshoot and fix issues within their Android builds. However, it is not always easy to look for the necessary information to provide to our devs, particularly for those without much coding skills. For the untrained eye, a logcat will look like a bunch of non-sense. So, in order to aide people who are on xda to help others, XDA Forum Member FuzzyMeep Two took the time to prepare a tool specifically aimed at those who want to learn to understand development, but more importantly, bug reporting.
This is not Logcat Tool’s first appearance on the Portal, but it certainly packs a lot of updates. After all, it has been nearly 2 years since the last write up. Lucky for us, the dev has no been slacking off either. He has maintained the application by updating it even more–all the way to v 4.00. You can read the previous updates in the changelog whenever you have a chance. However, the big star on today’s show is the app’s new ability to “super parse.” What this means is that it will effectively organize the logcat into parts. All the different files will go into separate categories for each type of entry generated by the logcat.
Some features including the aforementioned super parse are still in development, so please make sure that you use it and if you find bugs, please get in touch with the developer.
I have made a tool to simplify Logcat creation for people. The creation of this tool was inspired, and guided, by the thread started HERE by paxChristos.
You can find more information in the original thread.
July 4, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android 4.4.4 roadmap from HTC for their device updates has been leaked! 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 of SuperSU being updated to root Android L developer preview. Also be sure the check out the story talking about what the Android L developer preview really is and what it all means! 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 Deep Sleep Battery Saver. Then, TK reviewed the Sony Xperia X2. And later, TK gave us a an Android App Review of QuickClick. Pull up a chair and check out this video.