You may recall that earlier this month, we talked about speeding up the original Nexus 7′s internal memory by using F2FS. F2FS was created at Samsung early last year for use on Linux-based operating systems. As its name implies, Flash-Friendly File System is a file system designed specifically to cater to the specific characteristics of NAND-based storage devices.
This log-structured file system is widely thought to be faster than traditional file systems such as EXT4 on flash memory, but is it really faster? And if so, by how much? XDA Recognized Contributor Androguide.fr set out to measure the performance differences on his Sony Xperia Z1 using popular synthetic benchmarks, and the results may very well surprise you.
As one might expect, F2FS proved to be faster on the Z1 than EXT4 in the vast majority of cases. This was demonstrated in various different types of synthetic benchmarks ranging from database operations to the higher-order storage benchmarks found in AnTuTu and Quadrant. And when looking specifically at AndroBench (screenshot shown to your right), database operations were consistently around an order of magnitude faster on F2FS than on EXT4. Storage write speeds were improved to an even greater degree for sequential and random writes in this synthetic benchmark, with both being greater than two orders of magnitude faster on F2FS.
But before you go out and convert your device to F2Fs, there are a couple things to keep in mind. First, it seems that at least on the Z1, F2FS is actually about 20% slower in sequential reads than EXT4. Next and far more importantly, these are simply results from one specific sample of one specific device from one specific manufacturer. In other words, your mileage will almost certainly vary, especially if you’re not trying this on an Xperia Z1, as the real world performance gains (or losses) will be subject to the NAND chips and flash memory controller in your device, as well as various other factors that are beyond the scope of this article. That said, we wouldn’t be terribly surprised if your results show similar trends.
If you’d like to read more about Androguide.fr’s experiences and the methodology used in his tests, head over to the benchmark thread. What are your thoughts about F2FS? Do his results parallel your observations? Have you had any issues from switching to F2FS? Let us know in the comments below!
March 31, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Imagine that you’re in the middle of composing an email on your smartphone or tablet. Suddenly, you realize that you need to quickly verify a calculation before clicking send. Normally, this would require you to return to your launcher (or sidebar launcher), find the appropriate calculator app, perform your calculations, and finally return to your email in progress. All of this can be avoided through the use of floating applications.
Floating apps are not only cool; they can also help us be more productive. Thankfully, XDA Forum Member Floatricks created a nifty floating calculator app to make situations like the example above a thing of the past. Floating Calculator can be launched by clicking on a movable bubble that can be placed anywhere on your screen. Once summoned, the calculator slides out from the side of your screen and allows you to quickly perform any calculations needed.
The calculator itself is based upon the stock Android calculator that first appeared in ICS, and only relatively basic operations are covered. So if you’re in need of something a bit more heavy duty, check out the previously covered Complex Numbers.
If you’re looking to streamline your basic arithmetic, head over to the Floating Calculator application thread and give this a whirl.
March 31, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
If you haven’t gotten the Android 4.4.2 KitKat over the air update for your HTC One Max, we have a mirror! 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 that Jcase and beaups have rooted the new HTC One M8—and in the process, they’ve S-Off-eds the M7. Jordan also talks about how HTC Sense 6 has been ported to the Evo 4G LTE! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about the exciting news from XDA Senior Recognized Developer Dees_Troy, who released a Bluetooth tethering ROM for the Omate TrueSmart and the announcement that the LG G2 received a mod for 120 fps and 4k Ultra HD video recording! Pull up a chair and check out this and other XDA Developer TV videos.
READ ON »
March 31, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
There are few things more annoying than losing network connectivity on our supposedly always connected mobile devices. But one thing that definitely is worse is losing connectivity, and then subsequently draining your battery as a result of the lost connection. Unfortunately, this is all too common for those of us who frequently travel to rural areas because our mobile devices keep on searching for a network even when there is none.
Thankfully, there are steps we can take to make sure that our lost connectivity doesn’t result in a dead battery. XDA Forum Member ProjectZed created an innovative app called Auto Pilot Mode. This application is a lightweight tool that allows you to automatically enable airplane mode when your signal cuts out.
When you first launch Auto Pilot Mode, you set time and network strength thresholds to determine when airplane mode should be enabled. You can also set how long airplane mode should stay enabled before checking for signal again. In addition, Auto Pilot Mode also gives you the option to launch the app on boot and disable functionality when in a call. The app even allows you to automatically turn on WiFi when airplane mode is enabled.
If you frequently find yourself with an extremely low battery due to network issues, you may want to give Auto Pilot Mode a try. Head over to the application thread to give it a shot.
March 31, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Sony’s new flagship Xperia Z2 was released late last month at MWC in Barcelona. Improving on its predecessor in every aspect that counts, the Z2 is quite the tempting proposition for those looking for a new high-end device in early 2014.
Earlier this month, XDA Recognized Developer DooMLoRD provided a firmware dump for Sony’s latest flagship. While this was obviously not intended for end users, it was released with the intention of helping other developers port various parts of the Z2′s firmware to other devices. Now, XDA Senior Member Aman_Arora and Recognized Contributor Jishnu Sur™ have gone ahead and done exactly that.
Their first ported app is the Z2′s calendar app, which can now be used on any device running Android 4.0 or greater. (Android 4.1+ has been tested, but it is assumed that this will also work on 4.0.) Currently, most of the app’s features work, but there are a few minor problems here and there. For example, you are unable to add contacts to event attendee lists because they hook into Xperia-specific contacts files.
While the port isn’t 100% complete yet, those looking for an aesthetically appealing calendar with lots of event and display customization may find the Z2 calendar app worth a shot. Head over to the ported application thread to get started.
March 30, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Although it was briefly caught on camera a couple weeks earlier, HTC Sense 6 was officially unveiled to the world five days ago alongside the newly released HTC One M8 (2014). HTC’s Sixth Sense (sorry, had to) was then ported to various devices, including the HTC EVO 4G LTE, but not everyone wants to run an entirely new custom ROM just to get the benefit of a few OEM-specific apps.
When the M8 was launched, many were surprised to see that many of HTC’s first party applications such as BlinkFeed were also made available on the Play Store. No, this isn’t for you to enjoy HTC’s trademark UI on your Nexus 5 (although BlinkFeed will eventually make it to non-HTC devices). Rather, this is intended to allow HTC to update its core experience without interference from carriers, similar to how Google made Android version status a bit less important with Play Services. So how do we make use of these HTC apps in the Google Play Store? Port them to other devices, of course.
XDA Senior Member Ashutos1997 downloaded and mirrored the APKs for the HTC Sense 6 apps available on the Play Store. This includes HTC’s Service Pack, Sense TV, Zoe, Gallery, Blinkfeed Launcher, and Music. It also includes the required libs and framework files for Zoe and Gallery. Unfortunately, only the first three (HTC Service Pack, Sense TV, and Zoe) work directly without being ported, but it’s highly likely that the more desired components such as Blinkfeed Launcher will be ported to work with other devices.
If you’re up for the task and want to begin porting the Sense 6 apps to non-Sense devices, or if you simply want to install the apps that work without being ported, head over to the original thread and give this a shot.
March 30, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It’s not quite back-to-school time anymore, and not many people deal with complex numbers on a day to day basis. But if you’re a student or engineer, it never hurts to incorporate a new tool to streamline your tasks.
XDA Forum Member WeissenbornC recently created an app to help you work with complex numbers more easily. The app is divided up into four pages: basic arithmetic, quadratic equation, roots, and polynomial factorization.
Basic Arithmetic allows you to perform simple operations on complex numbers such as adding or multiplying them, taking their root, or performing trigonometric functions. Quadratic Equation allows you to use real and complex coefficients to solve using the quadratic equation. Roots allows you to solve n-degree polynomials for all of the roots using the Durand Kerner Method. Finally, Polynomial Factorization takes an n-degree polynomial and divides it into n factors.
If you’re a student or engineer constantly working with complex numbers or if you simply want a tool to help you with quadratic factorization, Complex Numbers can potentially be a huge time saver. Head over to the application thread to give Complex Numbers a shot!
It’s reasonable to go out on a limb and assume that most of our readers have at least 50 apps installed on their mobile devices. Because of this, we often turn to sidebar launcher apps such as the recently updated SideControl to make all of these apps easier to launch. But sometimes, instead of making apps easier to get to, what we really want to do is escape for a bit. After all, having a cluttered home screen full of dozens of folders and apps can get quite tiresome.
Thankfully, there are great options out there for those looking to simplify. For example, there are quite a few minimalist templates available in the popular Themer app. But what if you want something even simpler? XDA Senior Member alobo offers a fantastic option called Crescendo.
Although Crescendo is technically aimed at making mobile devices easier to use for seniors and kids, it’s a stylish alternative for those looking for a more minimal Android experience. The app includes a streamlined and task-based home screen. But instead of being filled with a sea of apps, your home screen gives you information about the weather and allows you to perform certain common tasks such as making calls, taking pictures, browsing the Internet, writing Emails, and looking at photos. Crescendo also provides an app drawer to allow you to still reach your favorite apps, but they no longer create clutter from your start screen.
In addition to its home screen functionality, Crescendo is also loaded with several simplified apps such as an easy-to-use web browser and flashlight. It also integrates various commonly accessed settings into a simplified menu.
Whether you’re looking for a home screen app for those unfamiliar with technology or you just want to simplify your Android experience, Crescendo is a great and aestehtically appealing option. Head over to the application thread to give it a shot.
Widgets are some of the most useful staples of our Android home screens. They’re also perhaps the biggest differentiation we have to set our devices apart from the generic grid of icons found on iDevices. Widgets come in all shapes and sizes, and there are options to handle pretty much every task imaginable.
Since most of us use widgets to personalize our home screens, wouldn’t it be nice to have a widget that’s a bit more one of a kind than something that can also be installed by every other Android user? With XDA Senior Member newHere:)‘s app DrawTime, you can now create your own one-of-a-kind clock widget.
Using DrawTime is quite simple. You start off by drawing a set of template numbers. These can be any shape and color of your choosing, and you can even use multiple colors per template number. Next, you configure your clock by choosing what application is launched when tapping the widget, as well as how you would like your clock to be displayed. Finally, you add your widget, and you’re good to go with a truly unique widget that is sure to set your home screen apart from every other Android device.
If you want that last bit of personalized flair on your home screen, head over to the application thread and give DrawTime a shot.
March 30, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Not too long ago, we featured an innovative quick access shortcut bar by XDA Forum Member Jawomo called SideCuts. In the time since, the sidebar launcher has donned a new name, SideControl, and it has been rewritten to incorporate several new and important features. But with so many fantastic sidebar launchers available, is SideControl worthy of its space in your app drawer?
Just as before, SideControl allows you to easily launch apps, shortcuts, contacts, and bookmarks from practically anywhere on your device. And like we first saw in the initial version, this can be accomplished with up to eight gestures that can be executed at any time and in any app.
New to this new iteration, SideControl now supports the latest Android notification features. With this, SideControl is able to open your latest notifications with a predefined gesture and/or open a sidebar with all apps that contain open notifications. It now also supports HaloFloatingWindow by XDA Senior Member zst123 so that you can open your sidebar apps in a floating window. But of course, you have to have Xposed and the HaloFloatingWindow installed to enable this functionality. Finally, you can even attach music controls and settings toggles to the supported gestures.
Now more than ever, SideCuts is a great alternative in the sea of sidebar launchers, Make your way over to the application thread to give it a shot.
March 29, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
We’ve talked quite a bit about XDA Senior Member astoncheah‘s “C” series of applications in the past. Bringing both Convenience and Customization, C Locker allows its users to launch applications and perform various tasks directly from their lock screens.
Since its initial release last March, C Locker has seen plenty of frequent and feature filled updates. The last we heard of the app was back in early February, when it received a substantial upgrade to version 4. This update brought many important features such as Tasker integration and improved lock screen notifications for devices running Android 4.3 or newer.
Now, version 5 has been released, and with it, come several new and important features. For starters, the new version allows for users to add multiple widgets to the lock screen, including one third party widget. And on the topic of widgets, the music widget now shows up automatically when music is playing.
In addition to the new features, this update also ups the polish on existing features by making the settings layout more user friendly, adding a notification count for incoming notifications, and enabling root users to hide the status and navigation bars.
Whether you’re a longtime C Locker user or you’ve never tried it before, head over to the application thread to get started.
March 29, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It should come as no surprise that the cleanest and most robust way to introduce your own modifications to an existing project is through modifying the original source code and recompiling. However, this is not always possible. Often times, we must begin our journey to app or ROM modification from a closed source binary, and then work from there.
Luckily, there are various tools available to make life a little easier when not working with source. One such tool comes from XDA Recognized Contributor ricky310711. As one would expect from a typical ROM kitchen, Ricky’s ROM Kitchen allows you to perform various tasks to existing ROMs such as adding init.d support, busybox, root, and so on.
With this toolkit, you can also extract the ROM’s constituent files, deodex, and add various tweaks. The kitchen even allows you to easily de-Knox Samsung OEM ROMs. In addition to modifying ROMs, Ricky’s ROM Kitchen also allows you to modify APK and JAR files. To that end, you can quickly decompile and compile APK and JAR files, as well as classes.dex.
Although modifying and building from source is always preferable, it’s not always feasible. If you’ve been looking for a very versatile tool to help your non-source built modifications, head over to the utility thread to get started.
Playing with custom ROMs and kernels is fun, but sometimes a phone needs to be restored to its stock, vanilla state. With Google Nexus devices, this is extremely easy, as no additional tool other than fastboot is needed. With Sasmung, Sony, and other devices, the situation becomes more complicated and some guidance might be required.
To restore Samsung device, you can pursue two methods: Odin and Kies. You can find plenty of guides on how to use Odin, but using Kies may require some explanation. With a guide written by XDA Forum Member SadEff, you will learn how to fully restore your device with Kies.
The guide also shows you how to unroot your phone and fix various issues that may be encountered. SadEff carefully describes every step of the process, and includes various photos to make the process easy for even total newcomers. After the process is complete, your phone will look it’s straight from the factory—or at least it’s software will. The process can be applied to every Samsung device with firmware newer than Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
To get started learning more about Kies, make your way to the guide thread. You can find all necessary information there.