The actual core Android OS is open source. But as you may already know, there is an increasing number of proprietary, first-party Google applications in what most of us think of when we talk about “Android.” These apps range from the Google Play Store to Hangouts to Maps, and everything in between. And with each passing OS version, they seem to be metastasizing into new facets of the OS previously untainted by proprietary apps.
Roughly six months ago, we talked about a project by the Free Software Foundation aimed at creating a truly open source mobile OS. At the time, the project was based on Android 4.0. But ever since CyanogenMod 10.1.3 was released in September, work has in progress to update the Replicant project to Android 4.2. Now thanks to the one-coder-team’s hard work, Replicant version 4.2 is here.
On the device side, device support is largely the same, offering updates for all devices capable of running Replicant 4.0. However, some devices have speed issues that have yet to be resolved. But on the bright side, support was added for the Galaxy Note II N7100 due to its similarities to the already supported Galaxy S III.
If you’d like to learn more about the replicant project, head over to their blog to learn about version 4.2 and head over to their Wiki to read up on supported devices and learn how to build and use it for yourself. Then once you’re done loading it on your device, head over to our Android Development and Hacking forums to get in on the action.
What are your thoughts on the Replicant project? Does being fully open source matter to you, or are you happy running proprietary apps on your Google Android device? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
[Source: Replicant Blog | Many thanks to AdamOutler for the tip!]
February 2, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Up until very recently, there haven’t been very many flagship-level small devices. Sure we have the S4 Mini and One Mini, but they’re not quite the same as their full-size counterparts. The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is a very interesting device because it wishes to change this trend.
Packing essentially the same specs as the flagship Xperia Z1, the Z1 Compact brings an extremely high level of performance to the “small” device world, with small being in quotes because it wasn’t all that long ago that a 4.3″ screen was considered gargantuan. Accordingly, we’ve given it a home here on the XDA forums.
In addition to creating a forum for this recently released device, we have good news to share! Sony has released the GPL-required kernel source code for the device, meaning that your favorite aftermarket kernel developers can start cooking up some magic for the device, and true source-built development can begin.
Users looking to get in on the discussion should head over to the newly created Sony Xperia Z1 Compact forum. And if you’re a developer looking to start cooking up some kernel lovin’ for the newly released device, head over to Sony Developer World to get the sauce.
February 1, 2014 By: egzthunder1
Every New Year typically brings about a very rare phenomenon. No, I’m not talking about being plastered out of your mind. People tend to get in a certain mood—a mood that brings them hope and serenity about the upcoming year. Normally, people will look back at the previous year’s failures, and make plans to not fail again. That’s right, the New Year’s resolutions are here in full force. People all over the globe are hitting the gym, writing books, and looking for ways to get those raises they so feverishly deserve. But after January or February, it is back to regularly scheduled programming for many of them. In other words, resolutions go out the window or are simply forgotten and swallowed in the midst of everyday life.
The biggest problem with the resolutions is that most people lack discipline. And because of this, these resolutions simply fall through the cracks or are met with an unmatched sense of “meh… maybe later.” After doing some research and based on very sage advice from Mr. Jerry Seinfeld himself, XDA Forum Member scoderx0e decided that it was time to release a surefire way to motivate you into doing something and actually following through.
Habbits is the culmination of advice turned into programming. It is an app that will basically allow you to make yourself responsible for your own actions and accountable for not following through. The concept is the simple idea of crossing days off a calendar when you perform a certain action. The app allows you to set up a goal and track it on the built-in calendar with different colors for different outcomes. At the end of every month, you can see a summary of how well you followed your goal. Your only task in this is to try and complete an entire month with the same color. Once you get used to seeing full rows of the same color, your brain will automatically force you into those actions so that you don’t drop off.
If you are looking for someone/something to keep you accountable, now is your chance. Do keep in mind that the app is still in testing phases, so if you do have feedback, please share it with the dev. You can find more information in the original thread. Now, put your device down and go back to that treadmill!
January 31, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Android is extremely popular largely due to the fact that users can easily modify its look, which applications to use, and basically anything else. Changing your look is not only a wallpaper, launcher, or new icons. Rather, some deep changes can be done with custom themes that are not so hard to create.
With elementary knowledge of photo editing and a willingness to learn, you can create your own theme. XDA Senior Member Ayush Singh wrote a thorough guide on understanding the process of making a theme. The guide initially was aimed at the Sony Xperia Z1, but it can be used with almost every device, as themes don’t differ much in their structure. Ayush Singh presents the process with text and some screenshots, so so you can easily compare them to your own work in progress. Theming brings a lot of fun and can totally change the look of your device. With slight modifications, you can build a theme alongside your personal ROM.
You can find everything you need to create a theme by visiting the guide thread. Make your way there and start reading. And while you’re at it, check out yesterday’s interview with a popular theme creator.
January 30, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
As is pretty much always the case, quite a bit is happening in the Sony Xperia world. And today, this comes in the form of official updates for the Sony Xperia M and the flagship Xperia Z1—the former coming soon, and the latter already rolling out with a captured update package.
First off, we have the Sony Xperia M. The device, which was released in the middle of last year, was never destined to be a flagship device. In fact, with only a dual-core 1 GHz processor and a WVGA screen, it was more inline with the flagships of 2011 and 2012 than 2013. Regardless, the Xperia M is still a good device, and it has amassed a loyal following in our forums. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that many were upset when the device wasn’t included in the initial list of Xperia smartphones set to receive official Android 4.3—much less KitKat. Thankfully though, it appears as if the Xperia M will be receiving official Android 4.3 after all, as Vodafone Australia has queued the Android 4.3 update for testing. While this doesn’t say anything about unbranded devices or those available on other carriers (or even other Vodafone regions), it bodes well for Sony’s progress behind the scenes.
On the Sony Xperia Z1 front, we have an official maintenance update to software version 14.2.A.1.136. The update has only rolled out to certain BALs at this time, but XDA Recognized Developer Androxyde has managed to create an FTF from his customized BAL and mirror it in this thread for everyone’s enjoyment. Furthermore, several other users have provided the updates for different variants in the thread as well, if you’d rather have a different region’s firmware. The update itself is still Android 4.3, but it brings numerous fixes, as well as a new white balance setting.
If you’re a Xperia Z1 user and you would like to get your hands on the update in FTF form, head over to the firmware thread to get started. On the other hand, if you’re an Xperia M user and you’d like to discuss the incoming 4.3 update, head over to this discussion thread and speak your mind.
[Source: Vodafone.au | Thanks to Samantha for the tip!]
January 26, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
KitKat brought lots of eye candy to Android. Some of these changes came in the form of different wallpapers, different transparency on the status bar, and tweaks to lock screen album art during music playback. The revised lock screen music widget looks great. And now users who happen to still be on Jelly Bean can have a taste as well, thanks to a crafty Xposed Framework module. Yesterday we talked about an Xposed module that allows you to control your music playback using your device’s hardware buttons. Combined with today’s KitKat Music Lockscreen module, you can now show your favorite music application some love.
The KitKat Music Lockscreen module was created by XDA Forum Member prithvee, who adjusted Jelly Bean lock screen widget to look like the revised one found in KitKat. This module brings the feature of displaying Album/Cover art of currently playing music/song on lockscreen from KitKat to Jelly Bean (4.2+). With this module, you can easily change between the old and new styles with only a few clicks. This module should be compatible with all devices running Android 4.2 or greater. The only requirement is to have Xposed Framework installed.
To beautify your lock screen music widget, make your way over to the module thread.
January 26, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Having more than one Android is certainly not unusual. A tablet, a smartwatch, and even perhaps two smartphones are all occasionally present in our bags and pockets. And having notifications appear only on our main device is a sad reality, but thankfully everything can change with tools available here at XDA.
Bluetooth perhaps isn’t the most popular method of connecting devices, but it’s used in applications created by XDA Senior Member pacosal. M2D is a tool that allows you to see notifications from one device on another. As a perfect example, we can take tablet and mobile phone that you’re using. If your phone gets a notification, the tablet will show it on the screen. Notification mirroring isn’t the only function that this project has to offer. With M2D, you can control the multimedia system, start recording or playing sounds, and even take a picture or capture video. The developer also shared some necessary information necessary to build modules that work with M2D. Currently, the available modules can share messages sent through Viber or WhatsApp. To check out this project, you just need to install a set of applications available in the thread’s first post.
If you have more than one device and want to use the second one as a receiver, you should visit the development thread and learn more about this project.
XDA Recognized Developer rovo89‘s Xposed framework has been on every root user’s mouth for the last year or so. This revolutionary tool for customizing Android without actually touching the ROM itself has been a heaven sent tool for modders out there to share what they can do with their knowledge, without having to actually cook a ROM every time they want to implement a new feature. We normally feature them on the Portal and they even have their own XDA Developer TV segment called Xposed Tuesday. A major contributor of modules as of late has been XDA Forum Member MohammadAG, who has provided various other mods including a tinted status bar, recovery of the good old car dock mode, unlocking using NFC, and AOSP lockscreen on TouchWiz devices, among many others.
This time around, the module itself does not alter functionality but rather focuses on another aspect of Android modding: aesthetics. Settings for most Xposed modules can be easily accessed through the Xposed app itself. However, for some, going through yet another set of settings can be somewhat cumbersome. Well, our dev decided that it was time to make settings and preferences management more in line with the rest of the settings in the Android Settings.apk. So, he made a module to mash these together. The new module shows the settings for all Xposed modules in the Settings area, thus making the entire UI, a single, more unified version of settings.
The dev himself states that the addon provides no benefit or functionality, but it does make it easier to manage the settings for the entire device (global as well as for each individual module) a much simpler ordeal. The dev also warns of incompatibility with some TouchWiz ROMs. However, many people have already reported no issues with TW Samsung devices.
What are you waiting for? Get some much needed organization in your device and manage it all from one place. One settings app to rule them all… You can find more information in the original thread.
January 20, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
The kernel files have been released for the Android 4.4 KitKat update on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3! That and much more news is covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this weekend. Included in this week’s news is the announcement that the full Smart Social Camera Experience has been ported to Android 4.3 Xperia Devices and Mobile ODIN has been updated with more features and support for more devices!
Be sure to check out the the other videos released this last week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Xposed Tuesday video for Root Cloak, he then reviewed the Omate TrueSmart smartwatch 2.0, and finally he gave us an Android App Review of Calendar Status. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
January 17, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android 4.4 KitKat official builds for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3! That and much more news is covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is the announcement that the Motorola Droids are getting Android 4.4 KitKat builds and you can get a Google Play Edition Moto G! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Xposed Tuesday video for Root Cloak, he then reviewed the Omate TrueSmart smartwatch 2.0, and finally he gave us an Android App Review of Calendar Status. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
January 16, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
We’ve been talking quite a bit about Android 4.3 for the Sony Xperia, T, TX, V, and Xperia SP as of late. About a month ago, we saw the devices receive DLNA certification for the upcoming 4.3 update. Then not too long after, the leaks started pouring in—first for the Sony Xperia T and SP, then for the Xperia TX, and finally for the Xperia V.
After all these highly functional leaked builds, we all had a feeling that an official update would start rolling out soon. Accordingly, the official Sony Mobile News Twitter account stated earlier today that Jelly Bean 4.3 would start rolling out to end user devices by the end of January or early February.
Now for most of us, the official OTAs are more of a convenience than a necessity. After all, all of these devices have relatively functional builds of not only Android 4.3, but also the latest and greatest 4.4 KitKat. Regardless, it’s still nice to see Sony support their devices, even if they’re still a major version behind after this update.
What are your thoughts on Sony’s updates? Are you happy that (unlike HTC) they are at least coming, or are you disappointed that it took this long to receive a version of Android that isn’t even the latest? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to head over to the Sony Xperia, T, TX, V, and Xperia SP to get in all the discussion!
January 15, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Late last night, the AT&T variant of the Galaxy S 4 Active started receiving a 721 MB over-the-air firmware update. No, it’s not KitKat, but it’s a step in the right direction. Instead, this OTA is the long awaited Android 4.3 update.
In addition to bumping up the Android version to the last version of Jelly Bean, this OTA (build number I537UCUBML2) brings a few other notable features including Galaxy Gear support, drag-and-drop application uninstallation, and you guessed it, bloatware. The bloat in UCUBML2 comes from new preloaded applications including Kindle, Lookout, City ID, Password Keeper, Games, and AT&T Mobile Protection.
The update should be rolling out to devices everywhere, so if you don’t mind the added bloat, it’s time to search for updates. However, be aware that not every device will receive the rollout initially. Thankfully, XDA Forum Member xAjCx mirrored the OTA for everyone to get started without delay. To manually install the update, simply download the OTA and use a root-enabled file manager to place it in /data/fota.
Head over to the OTA thread to get started.
January 14, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
We’ve been talking about Android 4.4 updates, both official and unofficial, ever since KitKat was released alongside the Google Nexus 5 back in October of last year. And thankfully, the number of devices with official KitKat firmware releases is finally starting to gain some momentum. Despite this KitKat growth, many other devices have just recently received official Android 4.3 updates and/or leaks. While this isn’t ideal, at least some progress is being made towards relatively new firmwares.
However, there are some notable former flagships that are stuck in Android 4.2 land, and will never see any newer releases in official capacity. This unfortunately includes the HTC One X and One X+, the latter of which is one day shy of being just thirteen months old!
This sad news was first posted to HTC UK’s twitter account yesterday morning. And then in a statement issued to TheVerge, HTC expanded upon this by stating:
We can confirm that the HTC One X and One X+ will not receive further Android OS updates beyond Android 4.2.2 with Sense 5. We realize this news will be met with disappointment by some, but our customers should feel confident that we have designed both devices to be optimized with our amazing camera and audio experiences.
HTC, I can only imagine what your shareholders must be thinking right now. You are barely scraping by financially, only earning a marginal profit last quarter by ridding yourself of Beats. And now, you wish to further alienate your already unhappy customers by not even providing updates for a thirteen month old device? Moreover, Android 4.3 was released only 8 months after the One X+ debuted! And as we’ve seen in all of the various ports to devices with far less powerful hardware, KitKat would run beautifully on the One X and One X+. Words just cannot express… There is no reasonable logic to be found here.
Are you a disgruntled HTC One X and One X+ owner who feels abandoned by this formerly glorious OEM, or have you already said goodbye to the Sense world and moved on to aftermarket, AOSP-derived ROMs? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!