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Posts Tagged: Android 4.1-4.3 (Jelly Bean)

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Head Up notifications is one of these upcoming features that Android developers hid deep in the Android KitKat source code. It was discovered by the custom ROM community not too long ago, and nearly simultaneously ported to the majority of popular ROMs. This method of notifications has also been introduced as a standalone application and an Xposed Framework module.

One of the most interesting alternatives to this built in hidden code was recently released by XDA Recognized Developer AChep. HeadsUp is a fork of the quite popular AcDisplay application. The developer made quite a few improvements to make it a very nice looking and–even more importantly–functional application.

With HeadsUp, you can decide what kind of notifications should be displayed. They can be filtered by priority. For example, the app could be set to display only missed calls as a notification. You can disable notifications for selected applications, so it’s much easier for you to which of them should use Heads Up as a default type of notification.

The application will run with every Android version starting from Jelly Bean 4.1. This application doesn’t require root access, so it can be used on every device without voiding your warranty or tripping the Knox flag. You can also verify the source code, because this project is fully open-sourced and licensed under the GPL.

This new type of notification is just one click away. All you need to do is visiting the HeadsUp application thread.

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Android is a Linux-based operating system, but this fact doesn’t put any limitation on this OS. Android can work with other OSes really nicely thanks to many tools developed by its massive community. Back in May, we talked about Droid Sync Manager, a handy Windows-Android utility that allows users to sync files between your phone and computer. Many things have changed since then, and the project has been updated to version 2.0.6.

With the version bump, lots of new features have been introduced by XDA Recognized Developer OmarBizreh. The most important ones are certainly a changed UI for the Android client, which now follows Material Design UI language and two things related to phone to PC communication. With this new version, you can now stream music and video files directly to your Android device and access the Windows network shared files. These functions might really come in handy when you have a video file available on computer and don’t want to spend an eternity copying the content to your phone or tablet. Many bugs that have been discovered since the initial release have been fixed as well, to make this project as stable as possible.

Droid Sync Manager is a tool that is definitely worth trying if you are using Windows as your main operating system on your PC. With this utility you are getting the most of both OSes since they can now play really nicely together. If you haven’t tried DoidSync yet, it’s a good time to change this. If you already have, then check what’s new. You can learn more about this project by visiting the Droid Sync Manager app thread.

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sony honami guide

In the last few months, we’ve talked about quite a few Sony Honami-related projects. The Sony Xperia Z1 is quite a popular device, due no doubt to its aesthetic UI that has been ported to other devices by many developers and themers.

Changing the look of your device’s framework to match the Honami isn’t as difficult as it may initially look. The situation gets even easier with a guide by XDA Senior Member KuaQ, which thoughtfully explains the process of transformation. KuaQ’s guide is place where you can learn how to make simple modifications like changing the theme accent color in Settings, the system progress bar, and more. All modifications can be done within minutes and they require no special skills in smali or other programming languages. To apply these modifications, you need to use one of popular APK extractors, and thankfully, all of the required information is presented in text and image form, so you won’t get lost in the middle of the process.

The available modifications can be applied to Sony devices, but if you don’t have one, worry not. You can make use of them on other devices as well, if you only want to make your OS look like the Honami.

If you are willing to sink your teeth into simple modding, you can find necessary resources by visiting the Honami transformation guide thread.

apkinstaller-unknown

Many applications available here on XDA that aren’t available on the Google Play Store. There are usually a few reasons for their absence: Developer accounts cost money, they are too “hacky” to be acceptable on the Play Store, or simply developers don’t want to release their work in the biggest app store for Android. You can find plenty such applications in the various forums we have here.

Unlike some other operating systems, Android allows its users to install applications directly from internal storage. When initializing installation, you are given a screen that shows you every permission used by the app and other important information. Normally, you should be well informed of all of the permissions used by every single application. However, if you’re installing APKs en masse after a format and you already know that they are safe from previous experience, the repeated windows before installation can become a bit burdensome. XDA Senior Member hamzahrmalik realized this and created an Xposed Framework module that lets you disable such time-consuming screens.

Before using this module, you must keep in mind that these screens are there for a reason, and as such you need to use it wisely. Some applications contain malicious code that can be harmful to your device or steal valuable information, so we only recommend using it in a situation similar to the one listed above and only with trusted applications by well known developers.

If you are going to install many APKs directly and you already know that they are safe, you may wish to streamline the process. Head over to the AutoInstaller module thread, follow the instructions provided in the opening post, and enjoy fast and automatic app installation. Once done, don’t forget to disable the module so you don’t unwittingly install malicious apps.

Sony Xperia Jelly Bean Theme

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.

Knock the Flags Android Game

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.

Reddit for Android

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.

Quick Note

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.

Pinshortcuts

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.

debris cascade

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.

X-Reality

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.

Notific

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.

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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.

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