February 19, 2013 By: egzthunder1
I have been a Sense fan for a very long time—ever since it was known as Manila, to be more precise. It offered all the eye candy that you could handle at the expense of not having much RAM left over, but as phones became more powerful, this became less of an issue as time went by. Among all the pretty weather animations, fancy clocks, and sliding homescreens, there was one feature that always captivated me: the picture frame. I am not entirely sure how or why. Maybe it was a mistake or an Eureka moment, but HTC got it right the first time around with this feature. Going from WM to Android, the Photo Widget was adapted into Sense and retained much of the same look and functionality that it had before. During the days of Sense 3.5, the widget was given an alternative look, and that pretty much completed what was missing: a grid preview that shows an array of pictures from your folder, all laced with a beautiful tile-style transition animation as you swipe your finger through it. On top of all this, the standard photo frame in Android is just plain bad.
The issue with this is that, much as it is the case with all Sense widgets, you need to have Sense to run it. Not everyone is a fan of Sense-based ROMs or even have access to a Sense device. And even with one of these on hand, the idea of running lighter ROMs such as AOSP-derived works pretty much makes this into choosing between your choice of OS versus your choice of home screen contents. Well, attempting to work towards a future where such choices need not be made, XDA Forum Member itandy decided to make a widget to bridge the gap between both worlds. While still a work in progress, the dev’s Photo Frame/Grid Widget aims to bring most functionality of the infamous Sense widget while retaining your right to run AOSP, TW, or any kind of ROM you want to have on your device. You can choose from either design, and the grid sizes as well as spacing between pictures can be fully customized. On top of that, if you feel that you want to have separate widgets for separate albums, the app allows you to have multiple widgets, each with its own settings, which can be changed on the fly without having to scrap the widget every time.
As mentioned, the widget is still under development, but it is certainly a breath of fresh air over the stock Android widget. Please provide some feedback for the dev if you run into any bugs.
This is my first Android app. Basically I want to replicate the grid-style photo widget from HTC so it can be used by other phones or in AOSP ROM.
You can find more information in the original thread.
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Let’s face it: HTC is far from being the model of the open source development world. While they still have a large following, their recent earnings statements are an indication that their followers are no longer following them. Their deliberate snubs at the development community, and the users who depend on them, have ranged from complete lack of required GPLv2 kernel source code to locked bootloaders and then allowing a pseudo-unlock which prohibits the flashing of partitions. With a net profit of only $33mil in Q4 2012 (down almost 90% from Q4 2011) and sales down 7% in January 2013 compared to January 2012, it’s obvious something needs to change. HTC’s CEO Peter Chou seems to think that marketing is the way to solve their problems though. Living in a different dimension, anyone?
Typically we would say that providing OS updates to devices is a great step to keeping the user happy, but this is another area in which HTC continues to falter. They have routinely promised updates to their phones and then delayed them or just flat out said they aren’t happening. Now, as luck would have it, the HTC Thunderbolt, a device launched in mid 2011, is finally getting the ICS update after being promised it would be released back in August of 2012. Verizon notified users a few days ago that an OTA update would be slowly rolling out to those still using this older device, with the software version upping the device to Android 4.04 (HTC Build 7.02.605.06710RD) and HTC Sense 3.6. What is interesting is Verizon has added a new application to the Thunderbolt, “Verizon Remote Diagnostics.” If you look at the description for this application, it sure seems like HTC and Verizon haven’t learned a thing from the CarrierIQ saga of late 2011.
New customer care solution to improve customer service experience. When a customer calls into Verizon Wireless customer care, this solution, with the customer’s permission, allows support personnel to remotely view the user’s device for device training, application demonstrations and troubleshooting.
There is currently a thread discussing the update, with development soon to follow once XDA’s developers get their hands on it.
As mobile devices have evolved, so have the tools for performing every day tasks. What used to require Microsoft Office on a standard computer can now be accomplished with various mobile applications that can create, edit, and view Office documents (because Microsoft still can’t figure out how to mobilize their mammoth, memory-hungry, piece of… oh never mind). Further expanding the analogy, we used to use apps like Notepad to edit text files, and now we have a bevy of apps on the desktop that allow you to not only edit a text file, but also features color-coding for different programming languages.
Sure, we have a number of text editors on mobile, but many of them try to be all things to all people. Now we have a new text editor designed for Android 3.x and above. Wordpad – Minimal Text Editor by XDA Forum Member Gibbz1 lives up to its name, and takes the minimalistic approach to app design.
When you open the app for the first time, you are presented with the screen seen to the right.
There is not much more minimal than that. You get a nice blank screen, with a blinking cursor waiting for you to type or to open an existing file. One downside to the app is that it can only be used with text files on your SD card, and does not show up as an option for editing text files elsewhere on the device. That said, the developer is very responsive, and is looking to continue to add features. So visit the application thread and add your feedback.
January 8, 2013 By: jerdog
Bootloaders are like locks on a cookie jar: They’re just begging to be unlocked. When users on XDA see a locked bootloader, they immediately start looking for the accomplished developer who is working on hacking the device. It is for this reason that we like to hold Google Nexus devices as the gold standard for how manufacturers (and carriers) should approach their bootloaders, as well as firmware openness.
Nexus devices are easy to unlock: You go into fastboot mode, type ‘fastboot oem unlock’, and you’re done. Easy peasy. Of course, Google’s method involves an automatic wipe of your data, which functions as a pseudo-security measure. There of course is a way to get that data back after the wipe on the Galaxy Nexus, but what most users fail to think about is locking their bootloader again once they’ve gotten their ROM to where they want it to be. This opens up their device to all sorts of potential problems, especially those of the malicious kind.
Recently there has been talk about the Samsung Exynos 4 memory exploit, which leaves Exynos 4-based devices open to malicious attackers. With the fact that Samsung has never fixed the eMMC Brick Bug issue, which affects stock and non-stock Exynos 4 devices, you have the perfect storm of malicious attacker meets manufacturer negligence. Users can have their devices bricked and/or wiped in a matter of moments, and they would be none the wiser.
XDA Senior Member segv11 came across something in the Nexus bootloader, which is cause for concern for the Galaxy Nexus, Google Nexus 4 and Google Nexus 10. segv11 created a bootloader unlock, which does not follow the normal convention. Instead, it falls back on a process where you can keep your bootloader locked, and still keep a sense of security. He does this by simply changing a couple of bits in the /param partition, while keeping the bootloader locked for security reasons. XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler also released a similar process for the Galaxy Nexus back in April of 2012 which utilizes a brute-force method to unlock the bootloader by replacing the entire /param partition instead of just adjusting the bits.
This app highlights an issue with the way Google has chosen to lock the bootloader, especially when it’s easy to just change the aforementioned bit. What else is contained in there that can be hacked? What else is there that a malicious app, with root privileges, could potentially render your device a pricey brick? It’s for this very reason that we encourage users to be very careful before they mess around with their devices, and to make sure they read all of the instructions the developers put together beforehand.
December 27, 2012 By: jerdog
Security applications are a dime-a-dozen these days. While it normally wouldn’t be noteworthy to have a new entry into the fray, this one is different in one very important way: The developer knows none of your information. AeGis, which comes to us from XDA Recognized Developer Decad3nce, is unlike competing applications in that it does not require a data connection, you are not asked to log in to anything, and you do not need to register and pay a large firm a yearly fee in order to use the below features:
- Ability to remotely lock your device via SMS
- Ability to remotely enable sound on your device via SMS
- Ability to remotely locate your device via SMS
- Ability to remotely wipe your device via SMS
- Ability to lock application with a password
In what may be the best feature of them all, Decad3nce has chosen to completely open-source the application, giving you the ability to fork and add new features as you see fit. AeGis utilizes the latest in Android’s Holo design principles, and requires Android 4.x.
Starting with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the OS switched to MTP from USB Mass Storage mode for access to the device’s storage via USB. MTP stands for Media Transfer Protocol, and it carries several benefits over USB Mass Storage. Unlike the latter, MTP allows you to simultaneously access the storage on both the device as well as the computer. Also, with MTP, corrupt file transfers are theoretically much less probable.
While accessing the storage via MTP from a Windows PC is a piece of cake due to excellent driver support, doing so in Linux can be a hassle, as the OS doesn’t ship with said support by default. XDA Recognized Developer & Contributor Lloir has come to the rescue with his guide that details the process of enabling MTP access on several popular Linux distributions.
While the method was originally developed for the HTC One X+, it should work fine for other Android devices that use MTP instead of USB Mass Storage. Currently, the method supports Arch Linux, Debian, and all distributions based on Debian such as Ubuntu and Mint. The developer plans on adding support for more distributions in the future as well.
You can find the complete guide at the forum thread.
December 14, 2012 By: Haroon Q. Raja
The NFL regular season is in full swing, and the league competition is heating up in December as the Playoffs approach in January before leading to Super Bowl XLVII in early Feb. If you love football and are rooting for one of the AFC teams, what better way to show your support than to get the logo of your favorite team right on your Android home screen in form of a clock widget? XDA Forum Member ron427 shared his AFC-Inspired Logo Clocks collection with us, which includes analog clock widgets representing all 16 members of the American Football Conference from all four divisions.
The collection is part one of the six-part NFL Inspired Collection that cost $0.99 each at the developer’s website, but are available to XDA members for free. Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, acksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are all represented. So whichever of these you’re rooting for, there’s a clock widget in the collection for you. All widgets come in HD graphics, and can be resized from 1 x 1 up to full screen. The widgets require Android 4.0 or higher to work.
You can learn more and grab the widgets from the forum thread.
December 14, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
There are many different launchers out there. Whether it’s an old favorite or something you can’t normally get, there are options galore. A favorite here on XDA is when a launcher intended for specific devices gets ported to be used on all devices. Now, the Xperia Launcher has been ported to work on any device running Android 4.0.3 and up.
XDA Senior Member ra3al has posted the port to XDA. It has a plethora of features, but nothing newer Xperia owners don’t know about. They include:
- User selectable number of home screens (up to 11) and default screen selection
- Customizable desktop and app drawer grid size (from 3 x 3 to 9 x 9)
- Infinite scrolling on the desktop and the app drawer (significantly improved from previous (GB) version)
- Resizable widgets
- Hide apps from the app drawer (now does not hide them from the desktop and the dock)
- Show / hide icon labels on the desktop, the dock and the app drawer
- Enable / disable app sharing on social networks
- Enable / disable tactile feedback (vibration)
- Icon packs support (load icons from: Launcher Pro, ADW Launcher and GO Launcher themes / icon packs)
- Backup and restore launcher settings
- Support for any resolution and any display density (custom DPI)
Installing is really simple as well. Simply install the APK like any other launcher application and you’re ready to go. With the easy installation and the decent feature set, this is an excellent launcher to try out if your current one is getting tiresome.
To learn more, check out the original thread.
December 12, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Even the less popular devices need some lovin’ too. The Samsung Rugby Pro and Samsung Rugby Smart aren’t the most well known smartphones on XDA. However, that hasn’t prevented developers from hacking then and releasing some good stuff. Now, the Rugby Pro has official TWRP, and the Rugby Smart has CM9 and CM10 ports.
XDA Senior Member kemonine96, who has done much work with XBMC, has released various treats for the two devices. The most recent offerings are TWRP for the Rugby Pro, and CM9 and CM10 for the Rugby Smart.
For the Rugby Pro, it’s been accepted by Team Win as an officially supported TWRP device. That’s pretty good news for a lesser known device. With TWRP, users can flash whatever they want in style. For more info, check out the Rugby Pro thread.
The CM9 and CM10 ROMs are both still in their alpha stages, but have a surprisingly small number of things wrong with them. Currently, CM9 has the following issues:
Display auto-brightness toggle — Is not possible, the Rugby Smart lacks a light sensor
2G data only toggle does nothing
No device serial number shown — prop:ril.serialnumber
And for CM10, the issues are as follows:
SD Card swap (CM10 Limitation)
So while there are issues, all of the biggest features like camera, Bluetooth, and WiFi actually work. So these could be used as daily drivers. Both ROMs are being actively worked on, so issues will be fixed in future releases.
Common convention around XDA is to port every launcher to everywhere so that everyone can use it. It gives everyone a chance to experience what the other OEMs offer and, in some cases, other mobile operating systems. Thus, you can try TouchWiz on some HTC devices if you were so inclined. Now, users can give the Lenovo IdeaDesktop a shot.
XDA Senior Member mucus_android posted an APK that gives users the Lenovo IdeaDesktop experience without buying a Lenovo. It is simple to install. Just side-load the APK like any other app and switch the launchers. Some of the features include changing the number of home screens and Lenovo’s custom interface.
So far, it’s been tested on CM9, but should work with any ROM based on ICS. It may also work to some degree on Honeycomb and Jelly Bean, but it is untested right now. So far, users have verified that it indeed works fine for ICS, with many features working perfectly. Additionally, mucus_android has been posting updates of the app as they become available, so if Honeycomb and Jelly Bean don’t work right away, future releases might work better.
For more info, visit the original thread.
Back in 2011, I was in a bar having a debate over whether Windows Phone 7 or Android was the better mobile operating system. It’s never a good idea to have those conversations, but the motto of alcohol is, “you wouldn’t do this sober.” During the debate, it was brought up that WP7 has support for Xbox Live. This brought me up short. Did Android have an app for Xbox Live? The answer was no.
Over a year later, Microsoft released Xbox SmartGlass along with Windows 8, giving Android users not only Xbox Live, but a plethora of other features. It was announced at E3 back in June and, unbelievably, was released right on time. We’re going to outline some of the features.
The interface is immediately unexpected. Most JB and ICS apps have been done in Holo style. Xbox SmartGlass, on the other hand, is Metro UI. When you sign in, it’s reminiscent of your Xbox 360 Dashboard—same color scheme, same graphics, and same overall experience. It does look very nice and well thought out. Very much like the real Xbox 360 interface.
There are five tabs you can swipe through. On the far left is Bing Search, second (and default) is Home where you can see recent and current activity. The third tab is social where your avatar happily dances and you can view online friends and check your Xbox Live messages. You can also respond to them via text if you want to. Tab four is your recent games and activities (yes, redundant). The last tab is called Discover and it’s a bunch of recommendations for music and video.
On all tabs, you have access to the menu. The selections include getting back to the Home tab, an option to turn on the remote—which we’ll discuss later—refreshing the interface, and Settings. The Settings menu is pretty bare bones, and include some auto settings, privacy settings, and the option to sign out.
Yes, this gets its own section because it is really that awesome. The remote feature allows you use your Android device as a remote for your Xbox 360. You get a selection of the blue, yellow, and red buttons while tapping the empty space works as the green button. To move, touch a spot and slide left, right, up, and down. Hold it down after moving to move multiple spaces quickly. This is the only part of the experience I didn’t personally like. If an emulator can have a virtual joystick or d-pad, Microsoft could have put one or two in as well. This works great for moving around the interface and using your Xbox Dashboard features like playing music and video, selecting games, and pretty much anything else you can do on with your controller.
Of course, it’s a new release and it was released on time. That means there are issues. As mentioned, the remote feature isn’t supported by most games. Additionally, there is a bug where some tablet users can’t see the whole interface, which makes it difficult for them to sign in. Users are reporting that there are some connection issues. Some users report they must connect to 3G/4G to connect to the Xbox 360, and then switch to WiFi. Some report exactly the opposite, that they have to start on WiFi and switch to 3G/4G. Perhaps the biggest complaint users have with the app is that it disconnects from the Xbox every time you turn the screen off or navigate away from the app, even if it’s still active in your recent apps. Every time you navigate to the app from somewhere else or just turn your phone on, you have to sign back in. Aside from these bugs, though, users have reported the app works relatively well.
Android users have been pining for a Xbox 360 application for a while. Who’d have thought that Microsoft would actually deliver one themselves? One that mostly works, no less. If you haven’t given it a shot yet, you can check out Xbox Smartglass in the Google Play Store. XDA Senior Member robbdakidd22 has set up a discussion thread if you want to talk about it. Despite its shortcomings, it already has between 100,000 and 500,000 downloads and a 4.4 out of 5 rating. That’s pretty impressive. Hats off to Microsoft for following through.
How much an OEM supports its hardware is variable. Sometimes, they give frequent and timely updates. Other times, an update could take months or not happen at all. In the latter case, developers sometimes deliver an update much earlier than official release. HTC One V users have a chance to do that now with a full HTC Sense 4.1 port.
The ROM is a port from the HTC Desire S and contains a Sense 4.1-skinned build of Android 4.0.4. XDA Recognized Contributor shubhamchamaria has released the ROM for both the CDMA and GSM variants, so no matter which you’re running, you can take part. The full feature list includes:
Ported from Desire S
Full Sense 4.1
First Sense Rom with 4.0.4
Extra Music enhancers like Wow SRS, 5.1 Surround etc
All Sense 4.5 Skins working perfectly and added into the Rom
Few useful apps included
All transitions of full sense
Proper 3D Rosie
Array of many Widgets of Full Sense
In terms of bugs, shubhamchamaria says they have all been squashed, so this is definitely daily driver material. There may be a few lurking about, but there should be nothing major wrong.
The imminent release of Android 4.2 is exciting news. We’ve brought you an outline of the features coming with Android 4.2, one of which is gesture typing. Much like the popular Swype keyboard, you can swipe letters to write works. Unlike Swype, the gesture is analyzed in real time. In other words, you can see what the keyboard is predicting as you swipe. The keyboard has been leaked for people to try.
XDA Recognized Contributor mrmako777 has posted a thread with the download link and instructions for installation. Users will need to be running ICS or higher in order to install it.
For AOSP ROMs, you must download the zip and flash it in custom recovery. For skinned ROMs that don’t include the AOSP keyboard, such as TouchWiz and HTC Sense, you just download the zip, extract the APK, and install the APK like normal. Once done, you’ll be able to use the newest keyboard and it’s cool gesture typing features.
The keyboard has also been making it’s way around the forums. If you have a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 or a Motorola Atrix 2, you can find more specific instructions in the Galaxy Note 2 thread or the Atrix 2 thread. For everyone else, check out the general thread.
[Thanks to XDA Recognized Contributor varun.chitre15 for the tip!]