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: Former Writer
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: Former Writer
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!]
The ICS rush is, for the most part, over with thanks to Jelly Bean coming to our devices like flies on sugar. Manufacturers have kept, after tremendously long delays, their promise to update devices to the frozen treat. However, due to the long time they have taken in doing this, many have fled what people consider “sinking ships” of devices that are seemingly forgotten by their manufacturer. The LG Optimus 3D (P920) is one such device that, to this date, has yet to see an official ICS firmware update. Any and all attempts to port ICS to the device have been through the magic of AOSP-derived projects. However, just like with HTC’s EVO 3D, the use of the 3D feature is limited, if existent at all.
Not all is lost, however. As it turns out, there is a Korean version of the P920, also known as the SU760. Sometime not too long ago, this device did see an ICS ROM surface. A few devs got their hands on this new ROM, but due to obvious hardware and software differences, it could not be directly flashed on the device—until now. XDA Forum Member xbsall has successfully ported the ICS- and 3D-loaded goodness for those people who decided to stay loyal to the LG 3D device. The new ROM has its set of quirks (mainly because it is a port), but for the most part, these are somewhat minor and have workarounds (if needed).
The dev warns that the flashing of this ROM, which is unrooted and full of LG’s bloat, will wipe out all the partitions of your device, including your Internal SD card. So, it would be wise to create a backup in case you have not done it yet. Lastly, the dev has posted several guides in the opening post of the thread for all your flashing and rooting needs, so please refer to those if you require any help with it.
I guess you have read the news in the [ALL ICS / JELLYBEAN] Related Topics / Requests / Questions [xbsall has ported ICS]
This is what you have all been waiting for the last 1? 2? 3? 4? 5? 6? months… (or more)
This is the FIRST ICS FULL 3D ROM for the P920.
This is a direct port from SU760 (KOREAN O3D) modified to work on the P920.
This one is NOT rooted NOT cleaned from bloatware its 100% STOCK V30B.
You can find more information in the original thread.
Want something published in the Portal? Contact any News Writer.
[Thanks GlossGhost for the tip!]
October 31, 2012 By: egzthunder1
We all like our tablets because they are so functional and full of features. In fact, if we could part with our desktops and laptops, many definitely would. However, the trade-offs for doing such a thing would be too large for a few people. For instance, we all love the ability to use optical drives on our computers because they allow us to install software without having to download it, burn your favorite music on CDs for your non-USB capable car stereos and boomboxes, and who can forget the ability to watch movies on the go without having to stream data.
For all the aforementioned and more, XDA Forum Member sainthout has produced a new kernel for the “missing link” device between the laptop and the tablet—the Asus TF101 Transformer. This new kernel, which is made for stock based ROMs on firmware 188.8.131.52, is filled with goodies and optimizations such as a reduced load by removal unneeded modules, better sound thanks to Voodoo improvements, and upgraded Tegra 2 codecs to help with video reproduction.
However, most of the new features fall short in comparison with the ability to connect a USB optical CD or DVD drive to the system. Enabling this option opens a sea of possibilities for the device. Having said that, the drive functionality is somewhat limited, due to its inability to play region locked (CSS protected) movies, which is all due to a kernel limitation. Among other great features comes the ability to use a LAN adapter (yes a LAN adapter and not a WLAN adapter). Essentially, this would allow you to enjoy blazing fast speeds of your home/work Ethernet line, as opposed to having to settle for mild to weak and (usually) shared WiFi network.
As a small added bonus, the kernel comes with a kernel manager app for all your tweaking needs, should you need to remove or add libs and modules out of the current configuration. Please do keep in mind that the Play store version of Busybox is required for the app to work properly. Please test it out and provide the dev with any feedback you may have.
- Based on Asus 184.108.40.206 WW kernelsources
- Backported all Linux 3.2 USB LAN drivers
- ISO9660 (+Joilet), UDF, FAT12 and Apple HFS file system support (USB CD\DVD access! See notes)
- Voodoo Sound support!
- Turned a few unneeded kernel features off, it’s smaller and even a bit faster that Asus’ original kernel!
- Installable using your favorite recovery (tested on CWM v220.127.116.11 v2)
- Works with every Asus based ROM (Original Asus ROM, Revolver, Android Revolution HD and possible some more)
- New versions of Tegra 2 codecs for ICS based ROMs (will be provided within a separate installable .zip)
- Kernel manager application to manage loaded drivers and file system modules!
You can find more information in the original thread.
Want something published in the Portal? Contact any News Writer.
October 30, 2012 By: Former Writer
There are a boatload of lock screens out there. Seemingly every version of Android comes out with a new one or at least a modified version of an older one. Then there are the OEM lock screens found on TouchWiz and the HTC Sense. On top of that, there are a plethora of third party lock screens—most of which can emulate all of the aforementioned lock screens. Now, those running ICS and JB can mimic the Blackberry 10 lock screen.
It doesn’t have a lot of functionality, but it certainly looks nice. XDA Senior Member evilisto released the mod for the Galaxy Nexus, but says the patch should work on any ICS and JB AOSP ROM. ICS is currently untested, though.
If you have the Galaxy Nexus, there is a nice, easy flashable zip you can download that’ll get you the Blackberry 10 lock screen. Everyone else must apply the patch manually until flashable zips can be made. Thankfully, no one will be going at it blind, as evilisto has also released a simple guide to follow to get the patches installed. Once done, you’ll have what looks like the Blackberry 10 lock screen.