I am, and have always been, an early adopter of a lot of things, particularly when it comes to technology. My cell phone voyage started back in the year 2000 with a Nokia 5110. Back then, only a handful of people had phones, and seeing someone on the street with one was a somewhat rare sight. Nowadays, the same cannot be said. Cell phones have become a massive commodity—one that gets a lot of attention, and certainly one that is likely one of the most profitable industries in the world today (in the tech sector anyways).
Every Joe Schmuck and Jane Doe sport the latest Galaxy devices or one of Apple’s latest iconic iPhones (just to mention a few manufacturers). Sure, they all have a somewhat interesting appeal, and many of them are loaded with more unique functions and capabilities that (in theory) make life a lot easier. However, looking at the overall market and trying to overlay an innovation line through the timeline from the early 2000′s (when Nokia reigned supreme) ’til today, we can easily notice a few trends that are worrying and don’t necessarily correlate with what anyone would expect from “progress” or “development.”
Going back to the very beginning of my article, I mentioned owning a dinosaur of a phone, the Nokia 5110. The device was a jewel, and it did exactly what it needed to do (and far more). The device was relatively cheap to get with a 2-3 year agreement. So, the device manufacturer (again, in this particular case, Nokia) knew that in order to have a good customer base, the devices needed to last that long. After all, not everyone could spend $400-600 USD on a phone upgrade while still being locked in the middle of a contract, nor were they willing to do so either.
Nokia designed the 5100 series with a few crucial engineering concepts in mind: good battery, reliable, easy to service, and durable. I had my device for the length of my contract before I decided to upgrade (mainly due to swapping carriers). I have to admit that it must have been one of the best cell phones I have ever had the pleasure of using. Not because of the usage per se, but rather how the device gave me 0 issues in the course of 3 years of ownership. Needless to say, the thing was built to last, as the body was virtually indestructible (exaggerating a tad here, but it was a tough device). When I upgraded, I went with a Nokia 8210. They had done a good job because with their mindset, they created a device that prompted me to want to see what else they could come up a few years down the line—all that without compromising my ability to enjoy the one I currently had. Ah, those were the days.
Fast forward to 2007 (big jump, I know). The iPhone was released and the (back then) current king of smartphones, Windows Mobile HTC devices and Blackberry, were dethroned. Because of silly mistakes, loads of bugs, and a simple yet effective marketing strategy to get people to buy more, the iPhone 1G sees a successor not much later down the line. Seeing how many other manufacturers were now jumping into the bandwagon, stable and decent cell phone manufacturers saw themselves in dire need to release more products in a shorter timespan. This was primarily done to keep up with their competitors, who were quickly gaining market share due to shorter intervals between new products. The next thing that happened (and still does to this day), new models are released every 6-9 months, each one promising to be “better” than their predecessor(s). This last statement is the cornerstone of this entire article. Why are manufacturers releasing devices that are NOT designed to be the best they have to offer? It isn’t that they develop new tech for newer versions. Rather, they make enough (in)significant changes to the existing one, such that it can be labeled the “next best thing.”Does any of this sound familiar?
I myself am an engineer, as many of you are as well (or studying to become). It honestly makes my blood boil when I consider the engineering teams behind the product development of some of these devices. No longer are devices durable. Rather, they have gone entirely to the other end of the spectrum and have become practically disposable. I simply cannot believe that a $500-1000 USD item becomes “irreparable.” Product design basics dictate that any engineered product is designed to have a certain life expectancy under normal conditions, tear, and wear, and even leave some leeway for accidents. If products need repair, they should be perfectly serviceable by the manufacturer without having to charge the consumer exorbitant amounts of money to get the product back in working order. Needless to say, whenever a phone does break this day and age, sending it in for repairs is a fruitless ordeal due to the fact that more often than not, the device will be deemed as “not repairable” due to directions coming from engineering design teams.
Make the world a better place through the application of science? That is what product engineering should be about. Squeezing every last drop of sweat over your own design and making sure that you put your very best efforts into making something that people will have for years (not months) to come is what every engineering company should strive for. Unfortunately, this was quickly replaced with “ooh, look how shiny this new toy is,” which is then followed by “oh, your old one? pfft That is so 3 months ago…. you won’t get two pennies for it on eBay, and don’t even think about repairing it.”
We as consumers have allowed these companies to throw basic engineering practices out the window so that they can squeeze more juice out of us. Now, I have no issues with companies trying to make money. Hell, that is what they do after all. But when greed takes over your most basic principles, I simply have no sympathy. I still recall our friend XDA Senior Recognized Developer AdamOutler doing an unboxing of the new Droid Razr when it came out. His words have been stuck in my head ever since. “Motorola made this device to be disposable.” Why? What was the point of making the device “disposable?” Why did such an important part of engineering a new product (ease of service) gets tossed aside like this? Would it kill you to make your device fixable? Another example: I tried to fix the digitizer of my HTC Titan a few days ago, but ended up destroying the LCD entirely. Why would there be any need to superglue both LCD and digitizer and superglue that combo to the device’s body? To keep them in place you say? There are small, low profile screws that will do the job just as well without jeopardizing the serviceability of the device or its overall design (read: they will not make it any thicker).
The entire world has been sucked into a game that the companies play on a large scale. They are trying to see just how much they can shove down our throats, all while expending the least amount of effort in doing so. These practices not only have the effects mentioned earlier, but they can also have dangerous consequences (bulging exploding battery of SGS2 devices anyone?). The core activities here on XDA-Developers actually somewhat put a damper on this, as the allure of “a new OS version exclusive to a device” is now mitigated. But unfortunately, software is just but a small part of the overall equation.
Next time you are out there shopping for a cell phone, just think about a very important thing that goes beyond specs or pretty colors. Just think about how well the product you are about to purchase was engineered. Let that be your deciding factor, and don’t simply fall in line with the rest of the masses who will jump at anything shiny like fish in heat. There are manufacturers out there that still care about trying to keep their core engineering values. To these companies, kudos. To the ones like HTC, which used to be like this (my HTC Wallaby that I bought in 2003 and that has been through hell and back still works), look at your early years and try again. Get off the path you are in right now because you will lose this race. And to the companies that simply don’t give two flying feathers about engineering, progress, and making the world a better place (looking at you Apple), I sincerely hope that your lack of engineering values comes back with a vengeance and bites you where the sun doesn’t shine.
If I have to choose between a phone that is 0.0001 mm thick but that will break upon looking at it without any way to fix it or my old 5110, I’ll take my old Nokia any day of the week. At least, that has engineering at heart.
December 4, 2013 By: eagleeyetom
HotFile.com is one of the most widely used file sharing companies, and one that has proven popular among various XDA users to distribute development works. Now, it has been shut down permanently, and their owners have to pay $80 milion, as part of a settlement with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).
Hotfile was initially accused of piracy in 2011, when the trial begun. The MPAA requested Hotfile to pay $500 million in compensation to the movie industries affected by warez hosting. After negotiations, both parties decide to lower this amount to $80 million. Now, Hotfile.com is shut down permanently with a following message:
The decision of the American Federal Court clearly shows that piracy is forbidden and people should pay for movies, music, or applications. At XDA we protect the developers and their intellectual property, and we would like to remind you that discussing or posting warez is illegal as well.
The shutdown also means that some developers who used to host their file on HotFile will have to change their online hosting providers. XDA has many hosting partners that are fast and free, such as Dev Host, Android File Host, and Goo.im—all of which are available in the private developer-specific forums. Developers can also use DevDB to upload their files. Unfortunately, there is a possibility that other services will share the fate of Hotfile and will be closed down in the future, but this makes it as good of a time as ever to migrate to more development-specific hosting solutions that are much less likely to be closed.
November 15, 2013 By: eagleeyetom
Every Android user has encountered application or game crashes at some point. However, finding the cause of these crashes is a different story. Android offers its own logging system called logcat, which uses ADB to fetch all necessary information for developers to analyze and fix the problem.
It’s easy enough to install the android-sdk and execute the standard adb logcat command, but the output can be somewhat hard to decipher. XDA Recognized Developer Diamondback wrote a handy Windows tool to ease the process of working with logcats.
The application is easy to use and offers important features like log highlighting, dynamic filtering , exporting to text files, and uploading them to pastebin. It can also help you analyze other users’ logcats by importing them from text files.
The Advanced Logcat Viewer was originally a part of Virtuous Ten Studio, a fully featured IDE for everything related to reverse engineering on Android. However, in an effort to lower the complexity of VTS, Diamondback decided to publish certain parts of VTS as standalone versions as well. According to the developer, ALV is only the very first of these breakout features, and there are a few more to follow.
November 9, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If you’re creating certain types of apps in Java that are geared towards Windows users, you may run into some difficulty accessing and making changes to the Windows registry from within your app. Unlike .Net, which has provisions specifically to allow this, Java doesn’t inherently support this type of operation. This is initially what XDA Senior Member Beatsleigher discovered when porting one of his existing applications to Java, but thankfully it didn’t stop him.
When faced with the challenge of porting over one of his applications to Java, he initially found difficulty in accessing the registry. After doing research into what is needed and taking bits of code from various sources, he went ahead and created a Java Class Library intended to bring this functionality to any Java app developer easily. The library lets you view and modify the Windows registry from within your application, without manually finding and modifying the registry files directly.
If you’re a Java app developer and you wish to modify the Windows registry, Beatsleigher’s library may be a real time saver. To learn more, make your way over to the library thread.
Getting files to and from your mobile device can become quite a chore sometimes. As one who frequently changes downloads new updates via his desktop PC, I know firsthand the annoyance of looking for that micro USB cable every time. If you’ve been looking for a more efficient way of transferring files between your mobile device and your Windows-based computer, you may wish to give DashDroid by XDA Senior Member Uizz.UW a try.
DashDroid works by allowing you to “dash” a file from your mobile device to your Windows-based computer or vice versa. It also allows transfers between Android devices, as well as transfers between Windows-based computers.
The app uses a specifically designed framework, which allows for the transfer of not only data, but also contextual information such as name, size, and so on. As the developer puts it, “A dash is a collection of the file info data as well as the file data itself . This ‘dash’ can be called an encapsulation of the file , that can only be understood and handled by the Dash framework .” To transfer a file, the recipient device must be set to client mode from within the app. Once that’s set, the sending device can dash the file over. Dash handling can be customize with default actions such as automatically approving all incoming Dashes.
Head over to the application thread to get started.
September 3, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Rooting, as we all know, opens up a world of possibilities. It is the first step that we in the XDA community take towards truly owning our devices. Once rooted, most people flash a custom ROM, recovery, and kernel. In order to easily accomplish these tasks and more, XDA Forum Member yashade2001 created AndRootKit.
AndRootKit performs various flashing tasks such as flashing images to your recovery, system, and boot partitions. It is also able to flash an update.zip file of your choosing, rather than individual image files. The utility can perform various ADB tasks such as rebooting, accessing ADB shell, installing APKs, and pushing files. The app can even be used to directly install an APK as a system app. However, it should be noted that a reboot is required in order for the system app to register.
Written in C# and geared at working with essentially any device, this Windows-based .Net utility helps you do almost everything you could want to do with a rooted device. Head over to the utility thread to get started.
August 25, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Just yesterday, we covered a couple of guides aimed at helping developers get started with XDA Recognized Developer amarullz‘s powerful AROMA installer. While versatile in that the guides help developers use the AROMA installer for customizing ROM installs, this isn’t all that AROMA can be used for.
Another popular use of AROMA is to create custom app packages, in which users can pick and choose which apps to install. We previously talked about a utility for creating these app packages with AROMA installer functionality. Well, some time has passed since then, and the AROMA App Package Creator has received several substantial updates.
Created by XDA Senior Member commandersafi, AROMA app package creator runs on Windows and requires users to have Java 6 or higher installed. Just as before, the utility allows users to easily insert and categorize APKs that can be selected from using the AROMA installer interface. Unlike before, however, the AROMA codebase is now 2.56, so device-specific calibration is no longer needed. Furthermore, you are now able to install apps to /system/app/, zips can be signed, multiple APKs can be chosen when adding apps to the installer, and various other tweaks have been made.
Head over to the utility thread to get started making your own custom app packages.
So you’ve got yourself a shiny new HTC One, and you want to get started playing with it. Obviously you’ll want to do things like apply Revolutionary Team’s Revone S-Off. You’ll probably also want to then flash a custom recovery, and then root your device. All of this will ordinarily take a moderate amount of time and effort, right? Not anymore, thanks to XDA Senior Member squabbi and his GUI-driven toolkit for the One.
Squabbi’s extremely user-friendly toolkit allows Windows users to do basically everything they’d need to get started playing around with their new device. It lets users start out by installing the requisite drivers, and provides methods for unlocking the bootloader with HTC Unlock or using the much more powerful Revone. It then also allows you to change the device CID, flash a custom recovery of your choice (you can select from CWM, CWM Touch, TWRP, or even upload your own), root the device, flash an image to a specific partition, and execute basic ADB commands for commonly used functions and sideloading apps.
If you’re looking for an easy and streamlined way of getting started with your new HTC One and are a sucker for well organized and user-friendly interfaces, squabbi’s toolkit may be up your alley. Head over to the utility thread to get started with the user-friendly modifications.
August 17, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
A little under a year ago, we talked about Online Nandroid Backup version 6. At the time, the tool did as its name implies and allowed users to make online backups. No, these aren’t “online” in the sense of cloud data storage. Rather, they’re “online” in that the backup is performed while your device is online, rather than in recovery.
Naturally, Online Nandroid Backup is quite useful since you don’t have to disable your phone in order to keep your backups up to date. And if you’ve ever performed a Nandroid backup on a device with a lot of data, you know exactly how long it can take. So what exactly does Online Nandroid Backup backup? Glad you asked.
- mmcblk0_start (for Acer devices)
- wimax (for Samsung devices)
- appslog (for HTC and Sony (Ericsson) devices)
- datadata (for Samsung devices)
- efs (for Samsung devices)
- preload (for Samsung devices)
- .cust_backup (for Huawei devices)
- flexrom (for Acer devices)
- custpack (for Alcatel devices)
- mobile_info (for Alcatel devices)
- boot (for HP Touchpad)
In the time since our last posting, XDA Recognized Developer ameer1234567890 has brought the useful tool up to version 8.22. One of the biggest new features of onandroid (pronounced “oh-nandroid,” not “on-android”) is added support for TWRP recovery, the exclusion of Google Music cache files, a plethora of bugfixes, and the ability to backup the /emmc partition on Mediatek devices.
We all know the importance of having an up-to-date backup, but many of us are simply too busy to backup often. Now, you have no excuse. Head over to the utility thread to get started.
August 16, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
As large as our cell phone screens are becoming, they still offer nowhere near the real estate of a traditional computer monitor. And let’s face it: Hunching over and fiddling with our phones while more powerful computers are available is a bit silly. So how do you make use of the more efficient interface afforded by extra screen space, as well as a keyboard and mouse?
This is where XDA Senior Member proseray and his Windows application Mobogenie come in. Serving as a frontend of sorts for ADB, Mobogenie gives you much of the ADB functionality without the stress of remembering commands and syntax.
Of course, to actually use the app, you must have USB debugging enabled. Once that is ready and the app is installed on your Windows PC, you can access to your device storage, backup and restore your phone, install and manage applications, and access data such as contacts and messages. Thus, with this application you can avoid data charges when loading up on your favorite apps, and you can avoid the mental anguish of sorting and editing your messages and ginormous contact list on a 4.7″ screen.
Avoid the eyestrain and get started by heading over to the utility thread.
Please Note: According to the developers (FAQ #5), Mobogenie installs Mobogenie Phone Daemon on your server device (phone) upon first connection (presumably via ADB install functionality) in order to better communicate with the client PC.
It’s that time again. Right after you’ve finished the last line of the mod, moved the right .pngs into their respective drawable folders, recompiled everything, and finished the last piece of that chocolate that’s been keeping you going for the past couple of hours. Now, it’s time to test it all. You look at your options. You can either copy each flashable zip file over to your device to then tediously flash each of them through a custom recovery, you can rack your brain to remember the commands needed to flash files through ADB, or you can simply use Desktop Flasher.
A very useful tool developed by XDA Senior Member filmaker, Desktop Flasher will allow you to flash zip files onto your device from your Windows PC without the hassle. It does this by allowing you to merely drag and drop the zip file into the program, which will then prompt either TWRP or CWM to open on your device, beginning the flashing process. This has to be done over USB and device-specific ADB drivers must be installed for things to work. Additional options include wiping data, cache, and dalvik cache which can be toggled with simple checkboxes within the program.
Filmaker has been actively working on issues encountered, and we may see support for a wireless connection in future updates. If you want to check this out, be sure to head over to the original thread for more information and download.
Organizing APKs on your PC is quite a tedious process. More likely than not, they’re probably named as nonsensical gibberish, and trying to find a specific APK is akin to the ‘needle in a haystack’ cliche. That’s probably why apps such as ApkRenamer are great tools for the typical Android user. If, however, you’re looking for something that does the same thing on your PC, you may want to check out XDA Senior Member pesiran‘s APK Organize.
APK Organize is a free program for Windows PCs that comes with a suite of functions that’ll help organize your APKs—specifically to rename, compare, search for, install and uninstall, and backup and restore APKs. Renaming APKs goes further than just individual apps on your PC, as APK Organize allows for batch renaming, pattern renaming, and renaming of APKs on your device. It also comes with a monitor feature that automatically renames any APKs you place into a specific folder. The compare function allows you to easily and efficiently delete, copy, and move files to a specific directory. And if you want to install/uninstall, copy/move, or backup/restore select apps, you can do so with the search feature. Installing and uninstalling apps on your device simply requires a connection to the device with ADB enabled, and the same requirement goes for the backup and restore function.
The only other requirement is that .Net Framework 4 must be installed on your PC. But other than that, there’s really not much else that’s needed. APK Organize is free exclusively on the XDA forums, and is being constantly supported and updated by pesiran. If you would like to give APK Organize a go, be sure to visit the original thread for more information and download.
For the longest time, XDA has been a bastion, a pillar in the world of development. This is essentially because we try our hardest to make the free flow of knowledge and information our main focus so that everyone can benefit and grow, but more importantly, because it encourages others to share as well.
Everyone understands that very few things in this life are free and many simply see the things that started as hobbies either as a potential business or even as a waste of time that would need to be monetarily justified in order to carry on with their continued existence. This almost inevitable shift in mentality of people who slave themselves behind keyboards has led into a rather interesting new business in the underground world of mobile development: paid apps. Mind you, we are not saying that this is a bad thing. In fact, economic stimulus can be a fantastic driving force to get you to do more. But again, remember: XDA is a place to share knowledge, not make a quick buck.
Having said that and because of a large influx of brand new developers due to the advent of Android, we feel that we needed to clarify a few things regarding paid work on this site. First off, lets start with the most obvious place, Rule 11:
11. Don’t post with the intention of selling something.
Don’t use XDA to advertise your product or service. Proprietors of for-pay products or services, may use XDA to get feedback, provide beta access, or a free version of their product for XDA users and offer support, but not to post with the intention of selling. This includes promoting sites similar/substantially similar to XDA-Developers.com.
Do not post press releases, announcements, links to trial software, or commercial services. unless you’re posting an exclusive release for XDA-Developers.com.
Encouraging members to participate in forum activities on other phone related sites is prohibited.
Off-site downloads are permitted if the site is non-commercial and does not require registration.
Off-site downloads from sites requiring registration are NOT encouraged but may be permitted if the following conditions are met:A) the site belongs to a member of XDA-Developers with at least 1500 posts and 2 years membership who actively maintains XDA-Developers’ support thread(s) / posts, related to the download,B) the site is a relatively small personal website without commercial advertising/links (i.e. not a competitor forum-based site with purposes and aims similar to those of XDA-Developers.com.)
Now, a big chunk of Rule 11 deals with other topics aside from paid apps, so we will only focus on the two bold, underlined sections (the first two bullets for those reading this in apps that may not display formatting correctly). Both of these converge to the same point: Do not use xda to make money. Use it to share, to learn from others, to teach, to help; this is the intent of our site. This is what we are here for and the sole reason why we have survived for 10 years (and counting). If you feel that you must/want to post your paid work in here, you are welcome to do so. But if you choose to, please make sure that you follow a few simple guidelines to keep you out of trouble:
Pro-Tip #1 – Sell in the correct area
If you have a paid app that you are advertising on xda-developers, it must be posted in the Paid Software Announcement and Discussion section, which has a few guidelines that need to be followed before posting. To save you some reading, you must be a member in good standing with some good history behind you on the site. This way, we ensure that people are not here solely to sell stuff.
Pro-Tip #2 – Sharing is caring
If you do not have the status to sell your apps directly on the aforementioned Paid Software section, you may link to your paid app in the app store from a thread that offers a free version of the app you are trying to sell. In other words, you must create a free version of the app that is either exclusive to xda-developers or at the very least, free of charge. The free app, however, must not be:
So, what you can do is to go about using some of the commonly used methods of free app developers, such as
To sum this one up, feel free to have a Pro/Advanced/Plus/Premium/Donate (or whatever you want to call it) version of your app alongside the one you are sharing with the community. If people like your work, they will likely want to see what you can do when money is involved.
Pro-Tip #3 – Link =| Spam
Be mindful of the amount of advertising you do with your paid work. Again, you can link from within the thread of your free version. However, you cannot include direct links to your paid apps in your signature, profile, or anywhere else. You can, however, put links to your free app threads in the aforementioned places, which already contain links to the paid counterparts. Simply put, you must first present your free app before you direct others to your paid work.
Pro-Tip #4 – We Showcase Free Apps!
We tend to feature free work on the Portal, regardless of whether it has a paid counterpart or not. Use it to your advantage. And don’t forget to submit a tip if you feel that you meet all of the above and wish for additional exposure.
That is essentially it. Following the above will certainly ensure that your stay at our site maximizes your time spent here as that of others. Always remember, sharing in here is about sharing knowledge and not finished goods. That is what the Play store is for. Thanks for reading and happy sharing!
Small link to the rules for a bit of a refresher course for those who need them
Want something published in the Portal? Contact any News Writer.