August 17, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Much of the joy of owning an Android device comes from being able to customize and modify the OS as we see fit. While the most impactful device modifications undoubtedly involve changing elements of the Android OS such as the kernel, ROM, and so on, a large part of the user experience can be improved by simply adding a theme. Because of this, Android theming has become quite common in the forums.
Although there are thousands of themes available for various devices in the XDA forums, there are many reasons why one would wish to create his or her own theme. After all, everyone’s own personal taste is different. If you’re a theming newbie with a Sony Xperia Device running either Android 4.1.x or 4.2.x and you’d like to easily create a Sony Xperia compatible theme for your device, XDA Senior Member abo hani has the perfect guide for you.
In order to follow the guide, you’ll need APKTool and Notepad++ (or equivalent). Luckily, links to both are provided in the thread. Abo hani’s guide covers every step, from start to finish, in great detail. There are pictures and a sample theme to build your own theme from. Unfortunately, this guide only works with Sony devices running Android 4.1 or 4.2, as the theming engine was changed in 4.3 and beyond.
If you own a Sony Xperia device that runs Android 4.1 or 4.2, simply head over to the Sony Xperia Jelly Bean theme creation guide to learn more.
Lately, we have seen a rather drastic shift in the world of mobile device gaming. The infamous Angry Birds series has tried to reinvent itself again and again, attempting to continue reigning supreme over all else. However, it seems that it was not really enough, and it makes sense. After all, just how many times can you possibly sling a bird at pigs without looking for something else to do? Then, came the spawn from Hell known as Flappy Birds, closely followed by the likes of 2048, and several of the aforementioned games’ variations. Maybe, it is time to take a step back and look at one of the game styles that gave birth to the infamous FPS genre. Shooting things down when you are doing it from your own point of view is a far more challenging endeavor, particularly when you have physics involved. If this sounds appealing enough, then you may want to stop by and test XDA Forum Member Arbiter7‘s latest addition to the Android world of gaming.
Knock the Flags is a game that somewhat resembles what the next iteration of Angry Birds should have been. Essentially, you are manning a cannon, and your objective is to shoot your ammo at the flags set on the screen. The game will take into consideration various factors such as distance and shooting angle (ballistics), on top of providing you with 4 different types of ammo, each with different attributes, to achieve your objective. The terrain on which the flags are located are key to the strategy that you must use in order to achieve the most destruction by shooting the least number of cannon balls. You can even follow the ball as it goes towards the target thanks to the “Flycam” feature. That is the closest most of us will ever get to being a human cannonball.
The game can be challenging but certainly a fun way to pass the time (and understand a bit about physics in the process). It is still, however, under development and there might be things that you might not be entirely content with. So, if you happen to have a few minutes you can provide the dev with feedback, suggestions, and even bug reports if you happen to come across a few. You can find more information in the Knock the Flags game thread.
July 19, 2014 By: egzthunder1
The online world is made up of several factions, clans, communities, social media sites—whatever you want to call them. Pretty much every person in the world with Internet access belongs to at least a few of these, and if not as a member, at the very least as an everyday lurker. After all, we all need our daily dose of cats, bacon, cats with bacon, and so on. Some people prefer the social aspect of sites like Facebook. Then, after you get past pseudo real/serious sites, comes what the new Internet culture has become. You have the likes of Digg, Reddit, and if you walk a little further towards the edge of the abyss, you get 4chan. That said, if you’ve made your way to 4Chan, you’ve gone too far—no, really! Today, we are focusing on Reddit and an app created by XDA Senior Member Theworld2020.
Reddit for Android is an app that, despite not being officially maintained by the Reddit team themselves, is built with everything they would do if they were to code one. For starters, the app is made with Reddit’s own API and coded with every bit of Google and Reddit’s standards, rules, and regulations. This is done so that the app’s experience is as close as your PC’s version of the social site–but without making you believe that you are no longer using Android. As for features, it contains all the features you have grown to love (or hate) of the actual site, such as the ability to see comments, upvote and downvote everything in sight, working account login and even new registration options, browse through your own history (for the narcissist in all of us), and best of all, it is light on battery usage. Oh, and did we mention that the app is not only free but ad-free as well? (That’s really a plus over most other Reddit apps out there.)
The app is fresh out of the oven,and the dev is looking for feedback on how to make it better. Maybe you can suggest a few options that are missing, or maybe you came across a bug. Either way, please drop by the thread and take the app for a spin. Good luck, and remember: If you see 4chan in the URL, you went too far. You can find more information in the Reddit App thread.
July 18, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
In this crazy fast and modern world, we often need to supplement our memory by writing some notes. The classic paper and pen system is often not an option, especially now that this can be accomplished with our fingers and our Android devices.
Android is pretty bare without third party applications, but the Play Store is huge and contains dozens of great alternative to Google’s own apps. Quick Note is one alternatives to Google Keep that was presented by XDA Forum Member HeartBroken.
Quick Note, as its name suggests, is a notepad with a bunch of handy features. In addition to making simple notes that help you to remember basic things, the application has a very useful checklist mode. You can plan your whole day and mark things off that have been done, or make a shopping list of what you need to purchase at the store. The app even allows you to set reminders for certain notes.
If you are a flash-o-holic and change your ROM several times a day, you can backup your notes with a built-in option. You can also search for notes that were written previously. Quick Note is a great companion that transforms your smartphone into a personal and capable notebook.
If you’re looking for a good notepad application alternative to Google Keep, you can try Quick Note in the Quick Note application thread.
July 15, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Security in Android (or any mobile device platform) is one of the top priorities for users. Google offers a few ways of protecting your private information and device data. These range from the popular pattern unlock to the old school, yet still functional PIN code.
By default the OS asks you to enter a PIN code once the device is powered on. Protecting it with just a single code may not be enough, so third party developers invented a new ways of protection every day. One of them was presented by XDA Senior Member hamzahrmalik. PINshortcuts is an Xposed Framework module that lets you set PIN codes on per-app basis.
For example, if you want to open XDA App, you can to enter 1234. When an you want to launch your Internet Browser, you can use a different PIN code like 4321. After entering the code, the app will start directly from lock screen. Naturally, you can unlock your device without launching any apps by entering the default PIN code. The solution is pretty useful, but you obviously need to be careful. The more codes you try to remember will lead to some that you inevitably forget. Also a longer list of PIN codes will also give intruders more chances to simply guess the number and steal your data.
PINshortcuts is an Xposed module. This means that your device must be rooted in order to use this module. If you would like to use this module on your phone or tablet, make your way to the PINshortcuts thread and give it a try. How would you extend the security and functionality of your device? Let us know in the comments below.
Are you tired of Temple Run, Despicable Me 2, and and the rest of those runner games out there? Would you like to try a simpler, yet more fluid game that will keep you hooked for a while? Then keep on reading because XDA Forum Member Karriz brings you something that will fill you with joy for a little while. The one thing that characterizes most runner games is the fact that the obstacles are either fixed or move in a very similar pattern time and time again with the only difficulty being that they come faster as time progresses. Well, this is where this game, called Debris Cascade, outshines the competition.
In Debris Cascade, your objective is to survive the never stopping amount of space trash floating around the Earth. You are a small, and quite tough, satellite trying to complete your orbits. Your trusty side thrusters will allow you to move up and down to prevent the orbiting garbage to collide with you. However, the problem is that you are not the only thing that the debris can collide against. The pieces can hit each other, thus changing trajectories. So, what you thought was going to go left, might end up going right and vice versa. All in all, your field of play becomes ever changing as the collisions are all random. Lastly, remember how we said that your satellite was “tough”? That is because it will enable you to withstand some punishment (3 hits to be more precise). After each hit, the satellite will lose a piece. Oh, and be careful with your own pieces as they can hit you as well!
The game is in early development so far and promises to have a decent future thanks to the smooth graphics and animations. However, as there is always room for improvement, your feedback becomes essential for the betterment of the app. So, please leave some behind and reports about bugs as well if you happen to come across any.
You can find more information in the Debris Cascade game thread.
July 13, 2014 By: egzthunder1
Each device manufacturer normally adds their own “sauce” to flagship devices. However, these extra special features might or might not trickle down to lesser devices. Is this fair for people who may not be able to afford the extra premium for that added bit of functionality? Probably not, but that is how the world turns. This is where knowing a place by the name of XDA-Developers comes in handy. Some of our devs are committed to ensuring that any feature that would potentially work on a device is able to work.
With this in mind, we turn our heads towards the mods offered to the Sony Xperia line up. Sony tends to add tweaks to improve image and sound performance via various tweaked settings on the display and audio. This time around, we focus on a specific feature that comes from the Xperia Z1 known as X-Reality. Because it is one of those aforementioned premium settings present on flagship devices such as the Z1, Z1S, Z Ultra, and so on, this is not commonly available for lower end devices. XDA Forum Member taichiswag decided to change that.
This recovery-flashable mod will work, according to the dev, with both locked and unlocked bootloaders on most Sony devices running Android 4.3 and up. The installation does take some work, and it will require the device to be rooted due to the credentialmanagerservice.apk needing to be erased from /system/app. On top of that, you will need to make a few slight modifications to your build.prop.
According to the dev, the mod works flawlessly but since “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” the one who will determine if the mod works on your device will be you, the user. Take it for a spin and report back if it works by letting everyone know which device you tried. You can find more information in the X-reality mod thread.
Just a few days ago, our XDA Developer TV Producer TK gave us a walkthrough of this little app. Ever since Motorola hit the market with their innovative Active Notifications feature, lots of devs have tried to not only mimic this functionality but also to improve it. In case you are not entirely familiar with said feature, it is basically a way to see your notifications on your lockscreen–particularly that of AOSP, which lacks native notifications. This little tool shows your notifications for a short period of time or until the user interacts with it either by accessing it or dismissing it. Battery consumption is minimal due mainly to the fact that the app is only triggered by the notification event, so it is not like it is always listening (preventing your device from sleeping) or anything of that sort. As stated earlier, there have been several incarnations of this tool and now we bring you the work of XDA Forum Member anandbibek, Notific.
Notific displays your notifications on the lock screen in Heads Up Notification style. Most other Active Display type programs show you the icons, whereas Notific shows you a preview of the message in a floating window in the middle of the lock screen. Another feature that sets Notific apart from the rest is the innovative “pocket mode.” Essentially, this makes use of the device’s proximity sensor. If a notification comes through and your device is in your pocket, the sensor will know this and it will instruct the screen to not turn on. Worried about battery? Don’t be because as explained earlier, this type of app is not always awake but rather wakes up due to the notification triggering the app. Once the notification comes through, the sensor will remain active for a mere 10 seconds, which has minimal (if any) impact on your battery life.
The app is still in early stages and there are some bugs present/some polishing left to do. Because of that , if you do decide to take it for a spin and notice something is off, please let the dev know so that the app gets improved. Of course, feedback is welcome as well. You can find more information in the Notific application thread.
When a phone or tablet gets stolen, not much can be done. Such situations should not occur, but the world isn’t perfect and some people want things for free. When this happens, there are some tools that help you protect your private data and wipe as a last resort.
Wiping data and locating your device is not everything that can be done remotely, however. XDA Senior Member leducbao has gone further and created an app that also can be used as an Xposed Framework module, to take a selfie of thief using front camera of your device. The photo is sent to a predefined Email afterwards. This data can help you and police gather evidence to catch the thief
Theftie works in three modes: Prevent protects the device from unauthorized access by locking it and making a selfie of the thief. Catch allows communication with the device. Finally, rescue data – retrieve your personal data like SMS, photos and documents and save them to Google Drive.
Just like Android Device Manager, Theftie can wipe the SD card and phone data. While activated, app can’t be uninstalled which makes your phone protected.
Don’t allow your device to be stolen without hope of rescuing your data. Head over to the application thread and give Theftie a shot.
Apps like Android Device Manager or Theftie don’t guarantee your device’s safety, so if your phone gets stolen, don’t hesitate to inform the local police.
June 25, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
A few years ago when the whole Android party was starting, Google and Facebook were really closely integrated. Before Ice Cream Sandwich, users were able to see contacts synced directly from Facebook on their devices. Then, policies changed, and synchronization through the first party Facebook app was no longer possible, so people looking for contact syncing had to switch to a third party app in order to keep their contacts up-to-date.
Said third party apps, despite being great, have one big disadvantage: They are unable to get the Email address and phone number from your Facebook friends list. In the last few years, we’ve talked about an almost limitless number of Xposed modules for simple things like turning everything into Hodor (
Hodor, Hodor, Hodor!!1oneeleven!) to more complex set of tools like GravityBox. Now, XDA Senior Member agentdr8 created a module to bring the Facebook sync functionality back. Everything is quite simple and requires just few simple steps to be followed. Once again, Xposed shows its potential to change almost anything on your OS.
Before using this module, ensure that your device is rooted and Xposed Framework is installed. After that, install the module, enable it, reboot, and enjoy your updated contact entries in your phone book. To learn more about this module, visit the original thread.
The craze over birds in the mobile gaming world just won’t go away. Every time we feel that we have gotten over Angry Birds or the ever so infuriating Flappy Birds, we seem to stumble into the madness that involves feathered creatures once again. This is where XDA Forum Member email@example.com comes in, with his latest creation, Last Bird Standing.
Last Bird Standing is a game that is based on the retro Atari game Joust. The objective of the game is quite simple. As its name states, the point is to survive all the other birds that are trying to get rid of you in every level. You eliminate your opponents by jumping on them à la Mario. And much in the same fashion as with the beloved Italian plumber, you lose a life if they touch you in any other way. The tricky part is to be able to control the bird well enough to land on top of the other birds. The first few levels are relatively easy, but the bird types get tougher and gain other abilities as you progress in the game.
The game features end-of-level bonuses, clean and smooth cartoon-esque graphics, and yes, Flappy Birds sounds as well–just in case you were missing that game a bit. The game is ad-supported, and the dev is continuously working on making the game better with each release. As you may have imagined, though, feedback is something that could potentially make this game grow quite popular–the bird element is already present and we all know how successful that has been for other game developers.
So, what are you waiting for? Go test your skills, be the bravest bird, and leave some feedback. You can find more information in the game thread.
In the real world, a hangar is a closed structure that’s generally used to hold aircraft or spacecraft in protective storage. We don’t really have jets and airplanes in Android–at least, not real life ones—but that’s not to say that a hangar is out of place on our mobile devices. A new app that goes by the name Hangar allows us to keep our home screens uncluttered by managing our favorite apps.
Hangar by XDA Recognized Developer blk_jack provides access to your most frequently used apps. You can access your apps and switch between them from anywhere, without minimizing anything. If you like to keep your home screen icon free, Hangar is a perfect solution for you. The app keeps track of which games and applications have been opened the most and displays them in your notification tray.
Hangar offers plenty of customization, including the ability to change how apps are displayed in the notification bar. Hangar also gives you statistics and overall time spent in applications through a convenient widget. The app even automatically detects what kind of device you have and resizes itself for optimal user experience.
Hangar is very similar to the recent apps display in HTC Sense, but of course, it can be run on any device as long as it’s on Android 4.2 or greater. If you want to keep your home screen as clean as possible, Hangar is worth a shot. You can get started in the application thread.
[Thanks to Forum Moderator GermainZ for the tip!]
Sony’s Timescape UI is one of the most eye-pleasing custom Android interfaces currently available. Many consider it to be elegant and minimal, which has lead to it amassing quite a following of fans. Not too long ago at MWC this past year, Sony announced the Xperia M2, a mid-range device with development that is just now starting to flourish. And now, you can enjoy some of the M2 goodies on other devices.
XDA Senior Member xperiaz2 ported the M2′s System UI to other Sony devices running Android 4.3, and added fonts from its bigger brother, the Sony Xperia Z2. And given that the majority of Sony devices are now running 4.3 thanks to recent update pushes, quite a few Xperias can get in on the action—even devices with dual-SIM support.
In addition to the visual changes, this update also offers some functional toggles. These toggles can potentially save you time searching for features like NFC or Stamina mode. You can enjoy the newest Xperia UI on your device in just few simple steps, but don’t forget to backup your current ROM in case anything goes wrong.
If you are an Xperia device owner running 4.3 and want to check out the latest Sony UI seen on the M2, head over to the original thread and give this a try.