August 19, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
The secound release of the Android L Developer Preview may be the new hotness for all of the Nexus 5 and 7-2013 owners out there, but the rest of us are still living in the world of KitKat and all of its version number variants. The former flagship HTC One is obviously no exception in this regard, and it has been running KitKat for quite a while.
Now, the HTC One M7 has started receiving a new OTA update in certain regions. This update comes in at software version 6.09.401.5 and its main benefit is the upgrade to Android 4.4.3. It’s not the very latest Android 4.4.4, but it’s at least an Android update. In addition to bumping up the Android version number, this update brings OpenSSL security improvements and updates to the Camera, Gallery (Image Match), and HTC Sync Manager apps.
The 556.12 MB OTA is gradually making its way out to end user devices in various parts of Europe. However, those with a compatible device need not wait for their turn, as XDA Senior Member TeHashX has gone ahead and mirrored the OTA for your sideloading pleasure. What’s more, he’s also gone ahead and linked to various iterations of the stock firmware to restore to before applying the update.
[Many thanks to XDA Senior Member dd98 for the heads up!]
August 19, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
While we are all wondering when Google will decide to officially release Android L and its Material Design-laden goods, those who own significantly older devices are in no way under the false impression that they will receive the update directly. One such device is the Motorola Droid X, which was released way back in July 2010 but is still used by quite a lot of people here on XDA.
This phone originally shipped with Eclair, and now it has received a pretty stable port of CyanogenMod 11, thanks to XDA Senior Members Palmbeach05 for his early work, Aaahh for the initial release, and m.ksy for maintaining the port. Yes, that’s right, a 4-year old device can run KitKat, and run it quite well. Initial ports were released back in March of this year, but recently the Droid X received an almost fully functional KitKat build. This is quite the achievement, considering that this smartphone has just 512 MB of RAM and a relatively slow CPU made by Texas Instruments–and we all remember the issues that the Galaxy Nexus faced as a result.
The only noticeable bug is unexpected camera behavior, which displays colors in blue–but it is probably still daily driver capable for all but the shutterbugs out there. When speaking about this port, we must also mention XDA Recognized Developer Quarx, who created a CM port for Motorola Defy, which was a base for Droid X.
If you still own Motorola Droid X, give it some KitKat love and sweetness. You can find the ROM by visiting the Moto Droid X KitKat development thread.
August 19, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
The greatest thing about technology is its ability to teach and promote personal growth. No one knows this to be truer than the technology enthusiasts who have procreated and have a little mini-them running around. However, sometimes this little spawn gets ahold of your phone, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and they sometimes make changes they should.
In this episode of XDA Xposed Tuesday, XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews an Xposed Module that lets you create a kids mode on your phone to protect your device. XDA Senior Member WasseemB created the Kids Mode module. TK shows off the modules and gives his thoughts, so check out this Xposed Tuesday video.
August 18, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Jcase and crew have rooted the Sprint LG G3! That and much more news is covered by Jordan when he reviews all the important stories from this weekend. Included in this weekend’s news is the announcement of Sony releasing the open source files for the latest Sony Xperia Z1 update and be sure the check out the article talking about jailbreaking your Tizen powered Samsung Gear or Gear 2 Smartwatch! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about the other videos released this weekend on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Newcomer Tom released a video showing you how to Unlock, Unbrick, and Restore Your Samsung Gear Live with Samsung Gear Live Super Tool. Then, newcomer Jared showed off the Top 3 OnePlus One ROMs. And later, Jordan gave us a Review of the Nvidia SHIELD Tablet. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
LTE has slowly become the standard when it comes to mobile Internet in many countries. OEMs are always trying to include the newest hardware solutions, so having a phone or tablet with an LTE support is nothing unusual. As such, pretty much every flagship device ships with support for various bands of LTE.
By default, Android indicates which kind of connectivity is currently in place. This is shown in the top right corner of the screen, right next to the clock. Some OEMs prefer to display LTE, while others simply use a 4G icon instead. If you want to swap yours on the fly, XDA Senior Member hamzahrmalik prepared an Xposed Module that allows you doing this effortlessly. You can change your icon very easily, without recompiling the whole System UI of your ROM. Don’t let OEMs or carriers decide. Instead, you can make the choice for yourself!
Naturally, this module requires Xposed Framework to work. You can find the application and module collection in the dedicated Xposed Framework forum. To use it, your device must of course be rooted.
If you don’t like the way how your LTE connectivity is displayed on your device, head over to the 4G LTE Status Bar Xposed thread and change it right away. 4G or LTE: it’s up to you!
The OnePlus One has generated a lots of buzz on social media before its release. Using knowledge and staff from Oppo, this device has been said to push the envelop as the whole team at OnePlus wants to “Never Settle.” Here at XDA, we like to “never settle” with a stock device ourselves. While our review of the device shows that it’s pretty good out of the box, there is always more you can do with your OnePlus One
In today’s episode, XDA Developer TV Newcomer Jared shows off the Top 3 OnePlus One ROM. He talks about 3 ROMs, that in no particular order really help expand your OnePlus One’s capabilities. Jared talks about Paranoid Android, MAHDI and CyanHacker. So if you wanted to see what these ROMs offer and get insight into how they run, check out this video!
August 16, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
In the last few weeks, we’ve been writing a lot about Sony Xperia devices. The Xperia UI has quite a few fans because of its nice aesthetic design and functionality. Unfortunately, this UI is only available on Sony devices, and not many developers have decided to port Xperia ROMs to other devices.
If you are a fan of the Sony Xperia UI, XDA Senior Member naheel azawy shared his resources and wrote a handy guide showing you how to transform the AOSP framework into the one used in Xperia ROMs. The transformation process isn’t the easiest one, as you have to use APKTool to decompile files. The guide explains the whole process step-by-step, and shows possible troubleshooting steps and issues. After applying resources and re-compiling, the newly modified framework should be ready to sideload back onto your device.
If you want to use it on your device, ensure that it’s rooted and your ROM is as close to AOSP as possible. It should work flawlessly with Omni, CyanogenMod, and other AOSP-based ROMs. Be sure to have a copy of your current frameworks-res.apk in case of any trouble.
To learn more about transforming your ROM into an Xperia-like one, visit the Theme your framework-res to Xperia style for all AOSP KitKat guide thread.
A little over a year ago, Nvidia decided to change the game–literally. The Nvidia SHIELD Portable was announced, released, and was very well received. Here we are, shortly following the announcement of a new, and epic, generation of mobile device processors, and Nvidia has officially released their next SHIELD installment, the Nvidia SHIELD Tablet.
One of the chief complaints we saw with the original SHIELD Portable was the screen size and resolution. A 5” screen with 720p resolution was usable for most tasks, but could get to be a bit of a strain on the eyes after a while. Nvidia has attempted to address this with an 8”, 1920 x 1200 display (which is, by the way, quite nice).
Check out Jordan’s Video Review:
|Processor||NVIDIA® Tegra® K1 192 core Kepler GPU,2.2 GHz ARM Cortex A15 CPU|
|Display||8-inch 1920×1200 multi-touch Full HD display|
|Audio||Front facing stereo speakers, dual bass reflex port with built-in microphone|
|Storage||32 GB (WiFi+4G LTE) / 16 GB (WiFi-only)|
|Wireless||802.11n 2×2 Mimo 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-FiBluetooth 4.0 LE, GPS / GLONASS|
|Connectivity||WiFi+4G LTE or WiFi-only, Mini-HDMI, Micro-USB 2.0, MicroSD slot, 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack with microphone|
|Camera||Front: 5MP HDR;Back: 5MP auto focus HDR|
|Stylus||DirectStylus 2 with 3D Paint (Included)|
|Battery||19.75 Watt Hours|
As you can probably imagine, with the Tegra K1 and 2GB of RAM, this thing eats up games for breakfast.
As this latest SHIELD is a standalone tablet, if you want to interact with your games like you did on the SHIELD portable, you’ll need a controller. With most other devices, this means pairing a Bluetooth controller. This usually introduces a bit of latency, which could mean the difference between getting a headshot and BEING headshot.
With the SHIELD Tablet, Nvidia released the SHIELD controller, a WiFi-direct solution that promises lower latency and easier pairing. In practice, both of these claims appear to be true.
Additionally, a magnetic tablet cover is available that makes it simple to stand the tablet up on a flat surface so you can keep right on gaming with the wireless controller.
As with the SHIELD Portable, the tablet comes with a version of Android KitKat (specifically, version 4.4.2) that is only minimally customized, adding in pieces and parts to make the controller and stylus work appropriately, as well as whatever’s necessary for game streaming and recording. This means that updates can, and should, come frequently, as they have with the original SHIELD.
This also means that rooting the device is quite painless, as you can see in the following video:
Sound is one place where the SHIELD Tablet really shines. With most Android devices, and especially most tablets, speakers come in the form of one or two small, tinny speakers at the bottom, or the back, of the device.
The SHIELD Tablet has front facing stereo speakers as well as bass reflex ports on the side, which makes for some truly decent sound quality. I rarely found myself bumping the volume over about 50%, because the speakers were just that loud, clear, and crisp sounding.
This is another area where the SHIELD Tablet shines. It’s easy to throw around numbers like 8” and 1920×1200, but it doesn’t do it justice. The colors are vivid, and the viewing angles are excellent.
One new feature introduced with the SHIELD Tablet is the ability to record screencasts directly from the device, including the built-in camera and microphone. This really makes this device a unique experience, as far as I’m concerned.
I’ve only tested this functionality a few times, and it seems to be a bit hit-or-miss. It records at a strange resolution, 1728×1080, presumably because the native screen resolution is 1920×1200 instead of 1920×1080. Additionally, the audio can sometimes go wildly out of sync from the video. Rebooting the device seems to take care of that issue, but you don’t know about it until after the recording, so it’s safest to just reboot before you’re going to record anything.
The built-in microphone really isn’t all that bad. My initial tests made me think it might be, but as it turns out, if you’re using the wireless controller, it attempts to use the microphone in it instead, which IS a pretty rough microphone.
Built-in streaming to Twitch.tv is also supported, which is absolutely awesome. You have to turn the quality down before attempting it, but still, it’s an all-in-one game streaming solution.
The downside of all of this, as I hinted earlier, is some glitchiness in the software. I attempted to record gameplay of games like Half-Life 2, but if I tried to leave the camera turned on while doing so, the game would immediately crash. I believe most of these things will be fixed, in due time, with software upgrades.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. This is a tablet. Please don’t use it as a camera.
That said, the pictures I took with the rear-facing camera were… well, not great. 5MP doesn’t go quite as far as it used to, so they were blurry and grainy. However, for the front-facing camera, while it’s still a bit grainy, it’s leaps and bounds better than a lot of other front-facing cameras, and given that its primary intention is to be used while streaming or recording games, it works extremely well for that!
A stylus is not something you’d normally talk about with a tablet, but this is a bit of an exception. The stylus of the original Tegra Note has been revamped a bit for the SHIELD tablet, with excellent results. I’m no artist, but the stylus has been extremely easy to use and feels very sturdy and solid in the hand, allowing for fine-grained control.
Unfortunately, the stylus doesn’t appear to work with all other devices, though it DID work with the HP Slate 7 Extreme, which also uses Nvidia DirectStylus technology.
According to Nvidia, the battery in the tablet is 19.75 Watt hours. That should equate to about 5200 mAh, which is just above average for a tablet of this size. In practice, I usually don’t find myself sitting down with a device like this for more than a couple of hours at a time, so I regularly saw several days of battery life, but my gaming was probably lighter than average. With heavier usage, of course you’d be able to drain the battery in just a few hours, but that can be said of just about any device with any battery size.
As a “next step” in the SHIELD family, the new SHIELD tablet is definitely a very worthwhile addition. Excellent performance, interesting software additions, amazing sound quality make it a powerful combo, not just for gaming, but for everyday tasks, media consumption, and even a bit of artistry. With a price tag of $299/$399 (and even more if you want the wireless controller and magnetic device cover) it’s a bit on the steep side, but if you’re looking for a good all-around tablet, and an especially good gaming tablet, this is the one.
August 15, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
For those of you born in the late 90s or early 00s, you may not be familiar with life before the widespread use of LCD panels and digital transmission standards like HDMI and DVI. Back when CRT monitors and TVs reigned supreme and display data was transmitted through analog cables like the antiquated VGA connector or BNC connectors, pixel-perfect display accuracy was but an ever elusive dream. As such, users looking to optimize their picture quality had to futz around with various screen settings that determined screen size, position, and a plethora of other settings. Now that we’ve all got digital displays, worrying about display size and position is largely a thing of the past.
On mobile devices, we never really had to deal with any of the analog issues mentioned above. That’s because from the very outset, mobile devices featured digital display technologies. That said, there are still times in which it is good to be able to manually adjust certain display parameters. For example, you may want to use a rather beefy case on your smartphone or tablet that happens to obscure part of the screen. Rather than simply not be able to see the missing screen real estate, adjusting your display overscan settings would allow you to receive the missing data. Also, if you ever wanted to connect your smartphone to your TV via HDMI, you’ve surely noticed that many TVs apply their own under or overscan to the picture and either leave you with empty regions or missing content. Now, with Window Manipulator by XDA Senior Member Bassel Bakr, you can fix this.
Window Manipulator works by letting you alter your phone’s default window settings. It allows you to change the density, internally reported screen size, overscan area, and more. These settings can all be tweaked without the need to reboot. Unfortunately, KitKat is required in order to play. And in fact, it isn’t really guaranteed to work on anything earlier than Android 4.4.2. That said, the developer says that you’re free to try on older versions just in case. Just be prepared for unexpected results.
You can get started with display tweaking by heading over to the Window Manipulator app thread!
August 15, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
The “secure” Blackphone has been rooted! That and much more news is covered by Jordan when he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is the Qualcomm Security Exploit being demonstrated at Blackhat Conference and the article talking about Code Syntax Highlighting being enabled on the XDA Forums! 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 YourTube. Then Jordan showed off how to root the Nvidia SHIELD Tablet. And later TK gave us a an Android App Review of HandyCall. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
August 14, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Our smartphones are multimedia gifts from above. They do everything; they can play games, watch videos, take pictures, surf the Internet, and even answer phones. However, sometimes answering the phone will interrupt your gaming or video watching experience. Well, this is acceptable no more!
XDA Forum Member xsmile711 offers up an application that gives you the ability to answer calls without leaving your game or videos. In this video, XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews HandyCall. TK shows off the application and gives his thoughts of the application. Check out this app review.
August 12, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Here on XDA Developer TV, we talk about helpful Xposed Modules on our weekly show, XDA Xposed Tuesday. We’ve covered some modules that have everything and the kitchen sink, and those are great, but sometimes the simplest module catches our attention because it solves a singular major annoyance.
In this episode of XDA Xposed Tuesday, XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews an Xposed Module that lets you change the starting screen in the YouTube application. XDA Recognized Developer GermainZ created the YourTube module. TK shows off the modules and gives his thoughts, so check out this Xposed Tuesday video.
August 11, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
The Samsung Galaxy Gear gets it first Custom ROM based on Tizen OS! That and much more news is covered by Jordan when he reviews all the important stories from this weekend. Included in this week’s news is the article talking about creating your own custom Android Wear watch face. Also, be sure the check out the article talking about the closing for round one of our Pebble Developer Challenge! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about the other video released this weekend on XDA Developer TV. Producer TK released a video reviewing the new Lepow ADD Magnetic Expandable External Battery. Jordan also talks about the addition of Ubuntu, Spur, and Epson as sponsors for xda:devcon14. So pull up a chair and check out this video.