December 12, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Today marks the final chapter in the Android 4.4 KitKat update saga for the Moto X, a story that certainly packed a few surprises. We were all caught off guard when Verizon became the first carrier to push out the KitKat upgrade for the device. In fact, the Verizon variant of the Moto X actually received the first KitKat update for any OEM-skinned device, beating out even the HTC One and Galaxy S 4 Google Play edition devices and the Nexus 4.
Shortly after the Verizon variant received the KitKat goods, we saw T-Mobile and AT&T follow suit three days later, followed by US Cellular just over a week after that. At the time, we noted that Sprint’s update was still “coming soon.” And now eight days later, it has finally arrived.
The update comes in at version 13.11.3Q2.X-69-3-8, replacing the previous 13.9.0Q2.X-116-MX-17-57-1 that was released on September 25th. Along with the upgrade in Android version to 4.4, the update also brings a few Motorola-specific features that we’ve already seen in the other Moto X Android 4.4 builds This includes drag-able camera exposure controls, a revised camera app, and the new “find my phone” feature. And for those interested, the full changelog can be found at the bottom of this post.
Head over to Sprint’s update support page to learn more about the update, as well as the previous firmware revisions for the device. Once you’ve updated, be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Full changelog for Android 4.4 on the Sprint Moto X (13.11.3Q2.X-69-3-8):
December 12, 2013 By: eagleeyetom
Just yesterday, we talked about some changes to the Android 4.4.2 source code reported by our colleagues at FunkyAndroid. One of the most significant changes was the removal of App Ops, a very handy utility to manage application permissions. Google Framework Engineer Dianne Hackborn stated that hiding it was intentional, as the utility was meant for internal use only by Google for debugging.
While originally intended for internal use, App Ops was quite loved by many XDA users who simply like to have everything under control. Luckily, XDA Forum Member caspase decided to use his programming skills by creating an Xposed Frameworks module to bring App Ops back to Android 4.4.2!
The developer describes his work as a quick and dirty hack that enables the :android:show_fragment, as well as adds the option back to the settings application. Getting into more technical language, this module reverts this commit in Settings repository. Caspase also integrated his changes into Settings app, so an external launcher is no longer required to bring back App Ops to the newest KitKat version.
To use this module, your device must be rooted and Xposed Framework for Android 4.4 must be installed. You can find more information about changes, as well as the module itself, in the original thread.
December 11, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Just a few hours ago, we talked about how the source code for Android 4.4.2 had made its way into the AOSP. Now, the fine folks over at FunkyAndroid have once again created an exhaustive change log detailing all of the commits made between 4.4.1 and 4.4.2.
Nexus device owners who upgraded from 4.4.1 to 4.4.2 will attest to the small size of the incremental OTA. Accordingly, only four source code commits differentiate the two versions. But never fear, as these changes are actually significant. And if you haven’t already updated, they definitely warrant a few minutes of your time.
Chief among the fixes, 4.4.2 brings a solution to the previously covered low risk Flash SMS vulnerability. Although they went about “fixing” the problem the wrong way initially, we’re glad to see a legitimate solution appear. There is also a fix for the OOBE Denial-of-Service crash after receiving 0-byte WAP push messages, as well as reduced camera logging.
In addition to the fixes, the much loved App Ops program that we covered not too long ago has been further hidden away. As such, it is no longer accessible through the previous means. This change is entirely intentional, as Google always meant to keep the program for internal debugging. As stated by Google Framework Engineer Dianne Hackborn:
That UI is (and it should be quite clear) not an end-user UI. It was there for development purposes. It wasn’t intended to be available. The architecture is used for a growing number of things, but it is not intended to be exposed as a big low-level UI of a big bunch of undifferentiated knobs you can twiddle. For example, it is used now for the per-app notification control, for keeping track of when location was accessed in the new location UI, for some aspects of the new current SMS app control, etc.
To get started, make your way over to the FunkyAndroid KOT49E Changelog and check out those commits. The complete (and miniscule) changelog can be found in its entirety at the bottom of this post. What are your thoughts on the update to 4.4.2? Are you glad that Google finally fixed the SMS and OOBE crash bugs? Despite Dianne’s explanation, are you still a little peeved about the further hiding of App Ops? Let us know in the comments below.
[Source FunkyAndroid | Via AndroidPolice]
Full Changelog, as reported by FunkyAndroid:
567ea11 : Fix OOBE crash/DoS after receiving 0-byte WAP push.
3574026 : Reduce logging of flattened Preferences
d00f7cd : Android denial of service attack using class 0 SMS messages
37f06a4 : Put fragment in specific activity’s whitelist
December 11, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Just two days ago, we wrote about how Android 4.4.2 was rolling out to the most recent Nexus devices. This was only four days after the Android 4.4.1 roll out. And earlier today, we took a quick look at what changed from 4.4 to 4.4.2. Now, we’re glad to report that the Android 4.4.2 source code has made its way over to the AOSP, and factory restore images are now available for the Google Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, Nexus 7 (2013), and Nexus 10.
Ever since Android 4.4.1 was released, we were wondering when the factory images would see the light of day. Thankfully, that day is today. And while users have been able sideload the incremental OTAs manually using adb sideload, it’s great to also have the freedom to perform a clean install, directly to the most recent version—either through flash-all.bat or by manually flashing the images directly through fastboot.
Google didn’t only provide us with new factory images for all the currently supported Nexus devices. They also released the full source code to Android 4.4.2. With this, your favorite aftermarket developers can start merging the new commits over from Google’s repos into their own builds.
End users looking to download the factory restore images can do so by heading over to the Nexus Device Factory Images page. Developers looking to start building with the new Adnroid 4.4.2 code can do so by browsing the 4.4.2_r1 source code directly on Google’s Git.
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December 11, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
The Google Nexus 5 has only been out a short while. Our friend Jordan has reviewed it and even went so far as to show us how to root the device. During that time, the software developers at Google were coding so hard and so fast that the keyboard vending machines at Google started running dry.
Their efforts have been praised on the Internet. The Android 4.4.1 update fixed a lot of peoples problems, but Google didn’t stop there. They also released Android 4.4.2 KitKat. In today’s video, XDA Developer TV Producer takes a good hard look at these updates and compares them to the original Android 4.4 KitKat release. So give yourself a break and check out this video!
READ ON »
Omni is an interesting project, with a lot of original contributions. Recently we talked about OpenDelta, an innovative OTA system created by XDA Senior Recognized Developer Chainfire. Now it’s time to present you the built-in file manager with cloud integration: DocumentsUI by XDA Senior Recognized Developer XpLoDWilD.
The new file manager is integrated into the frameworks, so it doesn’t have to be installed as a standalone app. It’s a very interesting move, and it can be assumed that many other ROMs will incorporate this open-source project.
DocumentsUI allows users to perform simple file operations like copying, pasting, deleting, and sharing. Moreover, it has Google Drive integrations, so files stored there can be easily accessed. Omni is demonstrating that open source projects can bring a variety of new things that can be very useful for all custom ROM users. And since it’s an open project, everyone can add their own contributions to make it even better.
More information about this file manager can be found in this Git commit. DocumentsUI can be found in all nightlies released after December 9th. It’s also worth mentioning that OmniROM is available for more than 20 devices now, and the list of supported phones is still growing.
December 10, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Two new devices have entered the Google Play edition family. They are the LG G Pad 8.3 and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra. Curiously, though perhaps indicative of Sony’s commitment to provide a true Google experience, they’ve dropped the Xperia moniker in the Z Ultra.
Both devices have landed in the Google Play Store, packing the same hardware that we’ve seen in their retail variants, but devoid of their typical OEM skins that normally obfuscate the Android experience. They both pack Android 4.4 KitKat, although it is unclear if they will have the newly released 4.4.1 or 4.4.2 goods.
The G Pad 8.3 GPe comes in at a relatively wallet-friendly price of $350 USD. For this money, you get a device packing an 8.3″ 1080p display, 1.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600, 2 GB of RAM, a 4600 mAh battery, and an all-aluminum back coming in at just 8.3 mm.
If the G Pad 8.3 GPe is the world’s first Google Play edition tablet, the Z Ultra GPe is the world’s first Google Play edition phablet. The Z Ultra GPe will set your wallet back a bit more, at $650 USD. For that price, you get a 6.4″ 1080p display, a quad-core 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800, 2 GB of RAM, 7 bands of LTE, and a 3000 mAh battery.
You can get your hands on the two devices by visiting the Google Play edition Devices Page in the Google Play Store. You can also find direct links below, for your convenience:
Are you planning on making one of these devices yours, or would you rather buy the standard variant and load a GPe-derived ROM like what we’ve seen available for the other two GPe devices? Let us know in the comments below!
[Thanks to OEM Relations Manager jerdog for the tip!]
December 10, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Video capture on Android devices has been notoriously troublesome. Yes, there are several solutions already available, but many of them have limitations of either being for pay or excruciatingly slow with choppy frame rates. Now, the CM team is testing their first party screen recording app, which brings many useful features and make them as easy as taking a screenshot.
The screencast functionality is initiated by pressing power + volume up. After pressing the key combination, you are given a prompt to start screencasting. Once initiated, the app records your device’s screen along with audio from your microphone. This makes it very useful if creating something like a walkthrough or tutorial.
The app is currently in open beta, and you can test it out on your own device. However, you have to meet a few criteria first. To get in on the action, you must first be running the latest CyanogenMod 11 nightlies. Luckily, they’re quite easy to find over on the CyanogenMod download server. Then once that’s taken care of, join the CM Google+ Community, as well as the beta program for the new app. Once you’ve done that, you can then find CyanogenMod Screencast in the Google Play Store.
Luckily, the additions are open source, so other developers can peer into the code by making their way over to the CM Gerrit. Have you already tested the new screencasting app? Are you a developer incorporating this into your own CM-based builds? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
December 10, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
While secure text messaging systems have been available on Android for quite some time, many users (even power users) have failed to set them up on their devices. This isn’t because privacy isn’t important, but it’s often one of those things you don’t think of until it’s too late.
Now, CyanogenMod is taking a great first step by incorporating an existing and open source secure text messaging platform into CyanogenMod. The integration comes in the form of TextSecure, which is maintained by Open WhisperSystems and lead engineer Moxie Marlinspike. Moxie is also in charge of the CM integration of the app, ensuring functionality and a degree of security. New to the CM implementation is SMS middleware functionality. This functions similarly to the Google Voice integration in CyanogenMod.
The way it will work for end users is simple: If you are running CM and send a message to another CM or TextSecure user, your messages will be automatically encrypted and secured. However, if your messages are sent to recipients without either, a standard unencrypted text message will be sent.
Now, you might be wondering when you can get your hands on these goods. Luckily, You just have to make your way over to GitHub (1, 2) if you’re a developer looking to incorporate the code into your own work, or if you simply want to snoop around. And if you’re an end user, rest assured that the latest CM10.2 nightlies already feature TextSecure integration. Integration into CM11 is coming soon as well, depending on how things go with the CM10.2 integration.
December 10, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
The merit in having hardware buttons on Android is a highly controversial topic. While many value the sleek look and greater versatility enabled by on-screen buttons, others prefer to use every last millimeter of screen real estate and not have any space taken up by on-screen Android navigation keys. Luckily, there are plenty of devices offering both choices. Samsung and HTC generally use hardware buttons, while Nexus devices and newer devices from Motorola, Sony, and LG usually tend to use on-screen buttons.
One peculiar quirk with having hardware buttons is that not every device features the same button arrangement. Take, for example, HTC devices. These feature home, menu, and recent apps buttons. Hardware buttons on recent Samsung devices, on the other hand, generally offer back, home, and menu buttons. Not only does this make the experience inconsistent across different Android devices, but it also becomes redundant since this can easily be accomplished with an action bar on-screen overflow button.
Now in Android 4.4 KitKat, Google is taking the first steps in unifying the experience across different devices by merging the menu and action bar overflow buttons. Now, compliant apps will always show the overflow button, rather than only showing it on devices without a hardware menu button. Since this makes the hardware menu key even more redundant, this will likely prompt OEMs to either adopt on-screen buttons or at least swap out the menu button for a recent apps button.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you favor on-screen or hardware buttons? What do you think about the redundancy of having a hardware menu button and an action overflow button? Let us know in the comments below
December 9, 2013 By: eagleeyetom
Google likes surprises—we all know that. Four days after releasing the Android 4.4.1, they decided to push out Android 4.4.2, which is a bugfix release of a bugfix release. It’s probably one of the fastest releases in the history of the company.
A full list of improvements is still unknown, and hopefully we will notice what has been changed when the source comes out. Thanks to Sprint’s community moderator 4Social, we know that build KOT49H brings the following improvements:
- Fix for clearing the VM Indicator
- Fix for delivery of the VM Indicator
- Various additional software fixes
- Security enhancements
The OTA should be rolled out within next few days to all supported Nexus devices. Some of the packages are already available to download from Google servers. All you need to do is to execute the command adb sideload [file name] to flash it to your device.
The links for other devices should pop out soon, as well as factory images and proprietary blobs to download.
If you get the update, let us know in the comments below what you think about this release and if the changes mentioned above live up your expectations.
December 9, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Android 4.4.1 KitKat is now available for the Nexus 7 (2013) WiFi-only version. Official KitKat is also available for the Nexus 10! That and much more KitKat 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 2011 Sony Ericsson Xperia Devices get unofficial Android 4.4 KitKat and the article talking about browsing every AOSP code commit in Android 4.4.1 KitKat!
In other important news, Jordan talks about the announcement that CyanogenMod 11.0 M1 is available for current Nexus devices. Also, there are official OmniROM nightlies for the Samsung Galaxy S 4 LTE. Finally, Motorola open sources the Moto G! Be sure to check out other videos on on XDA Developer TV. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
December 8, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Not everyone has supremely fast mobile data when on the go. And even those with many bars of LTE reception shouldn’t have to waste their bandwidth downloading overly sized ROM updates. But let’s face it: We all want the absolute bleeding edge ROM and featureset at all times.
So what do we do when we’re on the go and happen to see that our favorite developer issued a new version? We download a huge, often 100 MB or larger complete update.zip via mobile data and flash it on the go. This is a given, as we wouldn’t be very good ORDers otherwise. Unfortunately, stuff happens, and not every download goes as expected. When a download arrives corrupted, that becomes bandwidth and time that is wasted—frustrating all around.
Well, thanks to work by XDA Senior Recognized Developer Chainfire, this is no longer an issue—at least not for those running OmniROM. Thanks to Chainfire’s work, OmniROM now uses Chainfire’s OpenDelta OTA technology. As its name suggests, this uses deltas, when possible, to reduce download sizes. Differences are determined using existing VCDIFF technology, and the delta files are then pushed out to the OmniROM public download server.
Then, a local Android client checks in with the update server and retrieves the latest .delta file. And one neat trick is that if you forget to update for a few rounds, OpenDelta can chain multiple .delta files to install many incremental updates at once. Finally, the Android app also allows you to automatically check for and download updates when connected to specified network types.
End users should be pretty excited about OpenDelta, as it means smaller and more streamlined update downloads. Developers should be as well. OpenDelta, as well as the whole OmniROM project is open source. Of note, however, users must be running TWRP recovery to use these incremental update deltas.
What are your thoughts on OmniROM’s new update system? Personally, I think it’s about time that a large-scale custom ROM incorporates an open source delta OTA system.
[Source: Official OmniROM Blog]