July 28, 2014 By: egzthunder1
For all those who believe that Cinderella stories don’t actually exist, I guess I can safely say that you are dead wrong. For the past year and a half (give or take a few months), there has been a push by the people of the United States to try and fix one of the many things that are wrong with the country. I’m not talking about Healthcare or firearms regulations, but one issue that is far closer to home and affects us and what we do here on XDA directly. In case you are not familiar with what went on over the last year and a half, let me brief you in a bit. XDA-Developers has been an avid supporter of certain groups, including the FSF and EFF in particular, during the fight against the specific sections in the DMCA that deal with cell phone SIM unlocking. Back in October of 2012, the Library of Congress (with the push of a lobbyist group known as CTIA) essentially made a monumental mistake by removing an exemption from the bill that allowed people to legally SIM unlock their devices. This consequently pretty much went against what every other country in the world does in this regard. A petition made it to the White House, which gathered well over 110,000 signatures. At that point in time, there was no clear cut answer from the government regarding what, if anything, they intended to do.
Fast forward to March of the following year (2013), when SIM unlock regulations were already under way. It was officially illegal to unlock a device–at least, it was no longer a protected practice under DMCA. However, not all hope was lost, as it seemed that some people in Washington DC did take the petition seriously and decided to do something regarding what is otherwise the denial of full ownership of personal property. But the issue is that, again, certain groups tend to have a bit more weight than others on Capitol Hill. Because of this, what congressmen considered to be a full effort on their part to make things right with the general public not only fell short from its intended target, but in fact it gave even more power to the likes of the carriers and manufacturers over the products that we purchase. From that point on, it has been a constant battle between members of Congress to try and come up with a feasible enough solution that would make everyone happy. This is not exactly an easy task, mind you. A lot more effort went into the bill. And by providence of Chairmen Leahy and Goodlatte, the bill transformed, over the following year, into something far more tangible that actually had us, the people, in mind.
This past Friday shows and marks the result of a long year of hard labor, in which a new bill named Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act was unanimously passed by Congress. This bill is now on its way to the President’s desk to become law. President Obama has already weighed in on the new bill, commending all those involved in the crafting, pushing, and supporting of this new bill that will essentially make technology ours once again. You finally have the right (once again) to SIM unlock your device to your heart’s content, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. To quote President Obama:
I applaud Members of Congress for passing the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act. Last year, in response to a “We the People” petition from consumers across our country, my Administration called for allowing Americans to use their phones or mobile devices on any network they choose. We laid out steps the FCC, industry, and Congress should take to ensure copyright law does not undermine wireless competition, and worked with wireless carriers to reach a voluntary agreement that helps restore this basic consumer freedom. The bill Congress passed today is another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cell phone carrier that meets their needs and their budget. I commend Chairmen Leahy and Goodlatte, and Ranking Members Grassley and Conyers for their leadership on this important consumer issue and look forward to signing this bill into law.
This is a huge win–and again, something that skeptics in the audience can attribute to justice being served. Despite this not being a perfect world or a fairy tale, we live in a society where there is still some semblance of justice and common sense left in the right people. So, get out there and SIM unlock your previously locked device for once and for all. Do you hear that? It is freedom calling.
[A special thanks go to Sina Khanifar and Derek Khanna for fighting the good fight! Way to go guys, it would have not been possible without you!]
March 7, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Managing files between your Android device and PC isn’t an easy task, and often requires additional software to do so efficiently in the absence of USB Mass Storage mode. Downloading a file to Android device can also be done through ADB, but this requires long commands and a physical connection if you haven’t already set up wireless ADB.
Luckily, you can transfer files between your PC and Android device via WiFi thanks to XDA Recognized Developer OmarBizreh‘s app Droid Sync Manager. This Windows-only application works with an Android client, and serves as a convenient command center.
With Droid Sync Manager, you are able to browse your PC’s files and folders and download them to your Android device. The application is still at an early alpha stage, so more functionality will be implemented in upcoming releases. The developer already announced that an option to browse and send files and folders to the PC is in works and will be added soon.
To try out this application, you need to install the provided PC host on your Windows machine. You also need a client installed on your phone and you are ready to go. You can grab both files by visiting the original thread, so don’t hesitate to go there and give it a shot.
January 7, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Running Android on your standard “traditional” computer is nothing new. After all, there’s the Android x86 project, which allows users to natively run Android on their standard desktop-architecture x86 computers. There are other solutions for getting Android onto your PC as well, such as Genymotion and Jar Of Beans.
Then, there’s always BlueStacks. But BlueStacks has always been more of an “app player,” rather than a complete Android emulator. This is no longer, as a forthcoming version of the BlueStacks App Player will do more than just play apps—it will run the entire OS, including the standard Android user interface you’ve come to expect.
Since BlueStacks is backed by AMD, it goes without stating that there are AMD-specific optimizations that will be used in this new version. Specifically, these optimizations come from its fourth generation APUs—the very same APUs that now include an ARM Cortex A5. Unfortunately, it’s not clear at this time whether this level of emulation will be available on competing platforms, but it is to be expected that the performance will be best on chips supporting this type of native ARM code execution.
More information can be found in AMD’s full press release. And for those interested in seeing the new version in action, check out the video below!
January 2, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Android Debug Bridge (ADB) is the most important and widely used debugging tool on Android. With ADB, it’s possible to push a file to the /system partition, make a backup, or even get a logcat for debugging. The official way to install ADB is to download the ADT Bundle or SDK tools, which are nearly 100 MB.
Configuring the ADB on Windows is not the easiest as well, as you need to add its path in order to access it from anywhere on your PC. Downloading a huge package and the troublesome installation process may discourage new users from installing these tools, but there’s now a handy solution thanks to XDA Forum Member snoop5, who created a simple tool to install ADB on a Windows machine in approximately 15 seconds.
The Windows-only tool automatically installs ADB, Fastboot, and the required device drivers, so nothing more is required and your device should work like a charm. The package comes in at only 9 MB, so it’s quite a bit smaller than the original SDK Tools. You don’t need to worry about your system being 32- or 64-bits, as this tool will take care to determine which version are you on.
If the process of installing Fastboot and ADB have been holding you back from further tweaking your device, make your way over to the tool thread and give this a try.
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: Tomek Kondrat
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: Tomek Kondrat
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.