Google’s Android Wear has garnered a lot of attention in recent months. Google is trying to streamline and standardize the wearable market. This helps take the focus off the experience of the base software and perhaps hardware, and focuses it on the actual Android Wear Apps themselves!
In today’s episode, XDA Developer TV Producer TK shows off his Top 5 Android Wear Apps. He talks about 5 apps and watch faces that in no particular order really help expand your Android Wear Device capabilities. TK talks about ACW Watch Face, Weather Wear Watch Face, MacroDroid – Device Automation, Lockable, Wear Mini Launcher, Wear Camera Remote and Wear Volume. So check out this video!
September 4, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Another Wednesday has come, and in most parts of the world gone. As is more often than not the case, the day was marked with a few Google first party Android app updates. Today’s updates come in the form of a massive visual makeover for Chrome (Stable), bringing it to major version parity with July’s Chrome Beta update, as well as a minor update for Google Camera.
Although today’s updates aren’t too numerous, they’re still certainly exciting. Starting off today’s updates, we have Chrome Stable 37.0.2062.117. Similar to the beta channel update we saw a little over a month ago, today’s update to Chrome (stable) 37 brings us the Material Design UI elements and feel that we now know and love. This consists of that new start page, cleaner iconography, improved spacing, and more.
In addition to the rather significant update to Chrome stable, we also have a minor bugfix update to Google Camera, bringing us to version 2.3.020 (up from 2.3.017 about two months ago). As one would expect from such a minor version number bump, there’s not much in the way of changed features. However, it can reasonably be assumed that there are some under-the-hood bugfixes in there somewhere.
Both of these app updates will make their way out to consumer devices through the Play Store via a staged rollout. Naturally, not every device will be in initial wave. However, we’ve gone ahead and mirrored the APKs over on our Google Drive for your sideloading pleasure:
[Many thanks to XDA Portal Supporter MihirGosai for the heads up!]
September 3, 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 onboard 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 two unique smartphone accessories, the PowerAdd 14w Portable Solar Charger and the Apollo 2 Solar Power Bank. These devices either charge your device with the power of the sun or is a power bank that can be charged with the sun, respectively. Is Solar Charging a gimmick or a smart way to charge your phone? Check out this video to find out.
September 3, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Back in April, we talked about a useful Xposed Framework module by XDA Senior Member hamzahrmalik that allowed users to increase the number of allowed lock screen pattern attempts. This is incredibly useful for those who would like to use a particularly difficult to remember and enter lock screen pattern, as well as those who have the pattern set to not display entry attempts.
In the time since, the previously covered module has been discontinued. Luckily, hamzahrmalik followed up on his previous creation with the new LockScreen Tweakbox module, which continues right where its predecessor left off, and adds many new features. In addition to offering unlimited pattern unlock attempts, users are also able to hide the next alarm text and emergency call button. You can also set a custom background color, image, or both, change the pattern dot and trail colors, change the unlock ring icon, allow for notifications with lock screen security, show the clock in the status bar, and make noise when an incorrect password is entered. Essentially, LockScreen Tweakbox offers everything that its predecessor offered–and then some. Future updates will also likely bring the ability to change the status bar color and visibility, swap navigation buttons for music controls, and more specifically change how many attempts you can have.
If you’re looking to tweak basically everything about your lock screen, look no further. Head over to the LockScreen Tweakbox module thread to get started.
Sometimes, the simplest of games are the ones that end up being the most addictive and end up consuming inordinately large chunks of our time. This no doubt holds true over and over again, with various simple yet addictive titles like Flappy Bird and its clones, as well as many others. Another classic style of game involves timing various input events to when they are displayed onscreen. This includes games like Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, and so on. XDA Forum Member IDSprofile created something similar with his recently released game Just Swipe.
Just Swipe divides the screen into two sections: a command area up top that lets you know what you have to do, and an input area on the bottom, where you swipe to enter your input. The top shows players a stream of directional instructions corresponding to up, down, left, and right, and upon receiving a command, players must then swipe up, down, left, or right on the bottom of the screen to match. Just Swipe also offers nice animations, a pleasing soundtrack, and leaderboard support to challenge and compete with your friends.
If you’re looking for a fun game to pass the time and challenge friends, you may want to give Just Swipe a try. Head over to the Just Swipe Game Thread to get started.
September 2, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Xposed Modules are usually pretty simple. There are a few out there where a Smali edit or a change in build.prop would produce the same result. However, sometimes you just don’t have the time or desire to dig through mountains of build.prop fields to find what you are looking for. But that’s alright, Xposed Module creators have found and shared their tweaks for us.
In this episode of XDA Xposed Tuesday, XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews an Xposed Module that lets you change the duration between wake locks for one of Google’s location services. XDA Senior Member cryptyk created the NLPUnBounce module. TK shows off the modules and gives his thoughts, so check out this Xposed Tuesday video.
September 2, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
One of the best things about the modern day smartphone is its ability to save us time here and there. Features like Google Now keep us apprised of all the relevant news and scores so that we don’t have to manually search for the information ourselves. However, this isn’t the only way in which our smart devices can save us time.
Many of us often use our mobile devices to enter repetitive tidbits of information. XDA Forum Member mikmitch recently realized this, and developed an Xposed module that streamlines the process to make things significantly more efficient.
Example use cases could include using @cell to fill in your cell phone number, @email to fill in your email address, and @addr to fill in your street address. The module works by allowing you to enter a short key sequence that is automatically converted to another, longer field once the short string is typed. This solution works at the text widget level, so all keyboards are compatible.
If you often find yourself entering in information on your mobile device and you’ve been looking for a way to streamline the process, head over to the Text Macro Xposed Module thread to get started.
September 1, 2014 By: Faiz Malkani
Modification has always been one of the strong suits of Android, due in large part to its nature as an open source operating system. What began as changing a few drawables back in the early days of Android, has now evolved into an entire subsection of the community, giving rise to multiple disciplines of modding, such as drawable editing, feature adding and enhancing, system theming, and much more.
In the spirit of modding and theming, XDA Recognized Themer SpaceCaker has written up two excellent guides for do-it-yourself modding. These guides provide simple and easy-to-follow instructions that walk you through the entire modding process, right up to compiling your work when you’re done, making them easy to follow for veterans and beginners alike. The first guide covers adding toggles to your notification shade, similar to the QuickSettings present on AOSP ROMs. Subsequently, the second guide deals with adding a tabbed layout to the shade, thus segregating the toggles from your notification, which likens it to the one seen on the Sony Xperia Z2. Both of these allow you to truly begin customizing your own device, rather than applying pre-built themes and modifications.
Head over to the Grid Toggles guide thread or the Tabbed Statusbar guide thread to get started with modding your device. While it may seem forbearing at first, modding is an engaging activity with little room for error, so don’t be afraid to experiment!
September 1, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It’s a very well established fact that cars are expensive. In addition to the hefty initial investment, there are all sorts of recurring expenses such as fuel, parking, insurance, service, and so on. And let’s not even get started talking about the world of additional expenses and speeding tickets once you start modifying your vehicle. Luckily, there’s now an app that helps you track and visualize just how much you’re spending on all of your vehicles so that you can figure out whether it’s all worth it.
Just as its name implies, Car Logbook by XDA Forum Member txdrive is a fully featured car log that keeps track of your fuel ups, mileage, and various expenses such as service, parking, tuning, and so on. It is then able to generate reports and notifications that let you know how much you’ve spent on your vehicles over time, as well as what makes up the bulk of your car expenses. The app supports multiple vehicles, and it even lets you create notifications that appear based on the car’s odometer or the date.
If you’re been looking for a very full featured car log that will help you better keep track of how much your car truly costs, head over to the Car Logbook app thread to get started. The developer has also published the app’s source code over on his GitHub account for all those wondering how he made the app or ideas on how to make it even better.
September 1, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
The Nvidia SHIELD Tablet gets its first update! That and much more news is covered by Jordan when he reviews all the important stories from this weekend. Included in this weekend’s news is the announcement of the Nvidia SHIELD getting it’s first custom ROMs and be sure the check out the article talking about the Moto G 4G getting Official CyanogenMod! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about the other videos released this weekend on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Newcomer Jared released a video showing you his Top 5 MODs for the LG G3. Then Newcomer RootJunky showed off how to root the LG G Watch. And if you missed it be sure to check out Jordan’s Review of the Nvidia SHIELD Tablet. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
August 31, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Most applications on Android play nicely with both landscape and portrait orientation. This, however, is unfortunately not the case for all applications, with games and older applications being the leading culprits. While many of these orientation locked apps truly do work best in their preferred orientation, there are many others that are fully capable of working well in the other orientation but are inexplicably rotation locked.
XDA Senior Member defim was tired of this behavior, so he set out to change it with his latest Xposed module, HaveOwnOrientation. As the module name suggests, HaveOwnOrientation allows you to use any application in any screen orientation of your choosing. With the module enabled, applications can no longer lock to any particular rotation setting. Instead, the device will simply remain in its previous orientation. Naturally, not all applications will play nicely when locked into a particular orientation, so if you experience screen anomalies, try going back to the app’s default setting.
Naturally, you need to be rooted and have Xposed Framework installed to use this module. If you meet the above criteria and if apps forcing their own preferred orientation has you pulling out your hair, head over to the HaveOwnOrientation module thread to get started.
There are hundreds of launcher replacement applications available for Android. Most of them are based on the AOSP launcher’s codebase, with various tweaks and feature additions baked in to allow for a better overall experience. Others, like what we’ve seen from our friends over at Themer, start fresh to deliver a fundamentally different and more customized experience. Now a new launcher called HTMLauncher takes an even different approach by essentially letting you create your own launcher through HTML editing.
At this time, the launcher itself is fully functional, and you can indeed use it as a daily driver. However, in my usage on a Nexus 5 running Android L developer preview 2, the experience wasn’t quite as stable or smooth as I would desire. That said, this is still an intriguing prospect for those looking for a different kind of launcher with a fundamentally different level of customizability.
You can monitor the app’s process or give it a shot for yourself by heading over to the HTMLauncher application thread.
In this episode, XDA Developer TV Producer RootJunky Tom shows you how to root and unlock the bootloader on your LG G Watch. The LG G Watch is LG’s first Android Wear device. Besides the Samsung Gear Live, this is the only currently available Android Wear device. So as is usual at XDA, we must root all the things, and the LG G Watch is no exception!
Tom presents step-by-step instructions on how to gain root access on your LG G Watch using tools from the XDA Developers Forums. The process is painless and straight forward. This video shows you how to unlock the bootloader as well. So if you wanted to root your LG G Watch, take a moment and check this video out.