July 18, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
The recently unveiled Android L has changed quite a few things related to user experience, as well as some interface design nuances. Google presented its new design language, Material Design, which will soon replace the good old Holo in the majority of future applications.
Material Design is currently available only on Android L, and some lucky testers can try it out on the Google Nexus 5 and Google Nexus 7 (2013). Developers have quite a bit of homework to do, as apps will eventually need to be updated to the new design guidelines to match Android’s new look.
One of the first applications modified to match the new design guidelines is an unofficial Apollo Music Player build. It’s been adapted to Material Design thanks to XDA Senior Member TheXorg. HenryMP doesn’t differ much from the original player released by CyanogenMod team, but it looks really nice with the Developer Preview firmware, and shows off how this third-party music player may look in the Fall.
It’s unclear as to whether HenryMP will work with Android 4.4 KitKat or older releases. But due to issues we talked about earlier, it’s likely that this will only work with Android L.
If you are looking for a free music player that takes on Android L’s new look, HenryMP might be something that you are looking for. Give it a try by visiting the HenryMP application thread.
July 18, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Live from New York, its the XDA News Update hosted by Jordan Keyes! Ok, so maybe it’s not live, but Jordan does review all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is the announcement of the Nexus 5 receiving Android 4.4.4_R2 in selected countries and be sure the check out the announcement of the XDA Root Directory! 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 Heads Up Notifications. Then, Jordan reviewed the LG G3. And later, TK gave us a an Android App Review of ShortPaste. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
July 14, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android L Developer Preview has been ported to HTC One! That and much more news is covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this weekend. Included in this weekend’s news is how Google may consider changing the SD Card access rules in final Android L and the story about enabling Chromecast mirroring from Any Device! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Be sure to check out the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Xposed Tuesday video for NotifyClean. Then, AdamOutler investigated Smartphone Charging. And later, TK gave us a an Android App Review of Notific. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
With each passing day, we grow closer and closer to the eventual release of Android L. We could just sit around, waiting for Google to release the source code and system images, but waiting for an official release is far from being fun. XDA members love porting fun, and custom ROM development provides the required dose.
The Android L port for the Google Nexus 4 was more or less expected, and came relatively shortly after Google released the developer preview images for the N5 and N7-2013. Not many expected to see a HTC One (M7) port, but XDA Senior Member ssrij and a team of developers managed to port the Android L Developer Preview to this former flagship device.
The port is still in alpha stage, and some things simply don’t work. Running Android L on first generation HTC One was made possible thanks to ramdisk and kernel modifications, so it might not run as it should. However, the Developer Preview was made to show people how the Android L will look like and what functions we should be expected.
July 10, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Quick–without thinking too much, come up with a short list of your five to ten favorite features found in custom ROMs. Chances are, one of these is the ability to customize your Quick Settings toggles. I’d even be willing to argue that for most people this is near or at the top of the list–aside from root access, of course.
Just two days ago, we talked about how Google was considering the possibility of changing the way external SD cards are handled in the final Android L release this Fall. Now, we have learned that Google is also contemplating adding a customizable Quick Settings interface in the final Android L release this Fall.
Just like the news on SD card handling, news of this possible feature addition comes courtesy of the Android L developer preview issue tracker. The initial request was made nine days ago, and it was then “Acknowledged” on the 4th and “Accepted” as “feature-16186589″ yesterday.
While no concrete information is available just yet regarding how this will be accomplished–or even if it will be added–it’s certainly encouraging to see a feature number attached to this user request. Would you like to see a customizable Quick Settings interface in the final Android L release, or does this feature not matter much to you? Let us know in the comments below.
July 8, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
With the release of Android 4.4 KitKat, Google introduced a few changes that impacted the way in which SD cards are handled. As a result, user-installed applications are not longer allowed to access the entirety of your SD card partition. Instead, user-installed apps running on KitKat are only given full access to files and folders of their own creation.
The change in SD card behavior in KitKat was a very deliberate one–and one which was aimed at improving both security and overall SD card tidiness. As you would expect from such a marked change, both users and third party applications were caught in the cross-fire and left with broken apps and support nightmares. Luckily for those looking to revert this behavior, there’s an easy workaround. But as you would imagine, this isn’t quite idea.
Now, there’s a glimmer of hope that a more ideal solution may be introduced into Android L when it is eventually released later this year. Earlier today, a report was filed on the Android L developer preview issue tracker that details one app developer’s concerns with the changes introduced into KitKat. The issue reads as follows:
In every Android version before 4.4, apps were allowed to (unofficially) write to the user’s external storage. Due to competitive pressures, users demanded this feature from app developers, whom were expected to provide this feature.
In Android 4.4, this was changed so that only system apps continued to have full access to the external storage, and other apps did not, unless they used new URI-based APIs.
- I don’t see how these APIs are usable from Java or Native code that expects to work with Files, not URIs.
- It places all 3rd-party app developers at a disadvantage versus system apps.
- Users expect apps to offer them full access to the SD card, and are not asking for this restriction. This has been my experience based on user feedback.
I don’t currently see how the changes in L will improve this situation. Am I missing something? If the situation’s not as dire as I see it, perhaps Google can consider a migration guide so that it’s more obvious how to transition to the new APIs and provide the same feature set as the current java.io.File / POSIX File APIs?
Please reconsider restoring this access, even if tied to a new permission.
The issue was promptly marked as “Acknowledged” by an Android project team member, who later followed up by saying that this suggestion will be passed along to the development team.
Obviously, this in no way indicates that the SD card access rules will be changed once Android L is released in the Fall. After all, simply reverting the change in KitKat would be counterproductive for the vast majority of Android users. However, it does indicate that Google is willing to consider taking another look at the policy change–even if nothing can or will be done as a result.
Are you an app developer frustrated by the SD card access policy changes in KitKat? Are you a frustrated user tired of broken apps? Or are you pleased with the added security and order made possible by this change? Let us know in the comments below!
July 7, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android L has been ported to the Nexus 4! That and much more news is covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this weekend. Included in this weekend’s news is the announcement of OmniROM landing on the Sony Z Ultra GPe. And in other porting news, the Jolla Phone Launcher has been ported to Android devices! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Be sure to check out the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Xposed Tuesday video for Deep Sleep Battery Saver. Then, TK reviewed the Sony Xperia X2. And later, TK gave us a an Android App Review of QuickClick. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
During the I/O 2014 keynote, Google unveiled Android L. Shortly thereafter, the Developer Preview was released for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 2013, leaving owners of other Nexus devices with just screenshots and second hand impressions. Then, a glimmer of hope came as Google released the GPL mandated code for currently supported Nexus devices. All eyes then turned towards the development community. Would they come through with a port?
Sure enough, expectations were met and XDA Senior Members sykopompos and defconoi came through with a port of the L-Preview for the Nexus 4. This was accomplished after many hours of hard work, along with help from Retired Recognized Developer ben1066 and Senior Member percy_g2 to fix the inevitable bugs that were produced. Now, the end result is a daily driver-capable ROM that mako users can be proud to use without too much hassle.
Head on over to the original thread to download the ROM. Just keep in mind that this is still a very early release, so there may be a few bugs that haven’t yet been discovered.
July 4, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android 4.4.4 roadmap from HTC for their device updates has been leaked! 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 of SuperSU being updated to root Android L developer preview. Also be sure the check out the story talking about what the Android L developer preview really is and what it all means! 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 Deep Sleep Battery Saver. Then, TK reviewed the Sony Xperia X2. And later, TK gave us a an Android App Review of QuickClick. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
It’s been just one week since Google introduced Android L to the world at the Google I/O 2014 opening keynote. In the time since, we’ve gotten our hands on the developer preview release and even managed to root it. Then in a surprising move, Google decided to open source part of the Android L codebase in limited capacity.
We don’t yet have the complete L source code, and likely won’t until its official release in the Fall. However, the fine folks over at FunkyAndroid have done what they do best by listing out every code commit available in the recently open sourced component of the Android L developer preview.
The FunkyAndroid team has already given us developer changelogs for Android 4.4.1, 4.4.2,4.4.2_r2, 4.4.3, and 4.4.4. Now, they’ve gone ahead and given us yet another developer changelog for the open source components of the Android L developer preview. As always, this service is made possible thanks to an open source script released by none other than former AOSP lead JBQ.
In a change from usual operating procedures, today’s changelog comes in two forms: a version with chromium-related changes and a version without. The former racks in about 60k commits, while the latter roughly halves that. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this list only looks at the partial source code that was made available two days ago. As such, not every change has made it into this list, and there are even potentially changes in this list that aren’t in the developer preview images.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]
July 3, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Unquestionably, many have grown to like Android L since its official unveiling. Since then, we’ve seen users come up with random application ports, ringtones, and other goodies from Google’s latest work in progress OS. We are all waiting for the official release, so why not give our current OS builds some of L’s graphical style?
Not too long ago, we talked about a theme that changes your UI to look like that in Android L. Unfortunately, however, this only works on ROMs with CyanogenMod’s new theme engine installed. Now, everyone can try Android L’s look on their devices.
XDA Forum Member Adhi1419 made this possible using Xposed Framework. The module themes pretty much everything, including statusbar icons, settings, calculator, ringtones, and so on. Some users reported issues with non-CyanogenMod ROMs, but hopefully they will be fixed soon.
Are you tired of your current Jelly Bean or KitKat look? If so, visit the original thread to change your theme right away.
July 1, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Update: As pointed out by XDA Forum Member a3361035 in the comments below, this isn’t a complete release just yet. Rather, these are just a few GPL projects for the L-Preview release, and not a full platform update.
As we mentioned earlier today, the Android L Developer Preview is exactly that–a developer preview. However, many users understandably want to taste the future of Android today. As such, quite a few Nexus 5 and 7 owners have ventured to install the Android L Developer Preview firmware images on their daily driver devices.
Unfortunately, not every one happens to own a hammerhead or flo. But now, as a surprise to many, Google has pushed the Android L Developer Preview source code to the AOSP under the “android-l” branch. Device-specific support is available for the Nexus 4 (lge/mako), Nexus 5 (lge/hammerhead), Nexus 7 2012 WiFi (asus/grouper), Nexus 7 2012 Mobile Data (asus/tilapia), Nexus 7 2013 WiFi (asus/deb), Nexus 7 2013 Mobile Data (asus/flo), and Nexus 10 (samsung/manta).
While these files were most likely released in order to help OEMs and third party developers begin preparing for L’s release, they will also enable custom ROM developers to build Android L releases for their devices of choice. But naturally, building for unsupported devices will be more difficult due to the lack of L-enabled proprietary binaries and device trees. As these source files are only for a few GPL projects and not the entire L-Preview AOSP source, this isn’t of benefit to ROM developers just yet. However, those wishing to learn more about the L preview may find use in the code.
Developers, head over to the AOSP to peer into the code. From there, all the relevant code will be available in the relevant subfolders with the “android-l” branch. ROM developers looking for device-specific files can find the goods in the appropriate links below:
[Many thanks to XDA Recognized Contributor ryukiri and everyone else who sent this in!]
During the Google I/O 2014 opening keynote, we caught our first glimpses of the radically different Android L. And when Google made an early developer preview available, many end users went ahead and installed L on their own devices. Unfortunately though, intrepid users were quick to find that the developer preview didn’t feature all of the UI goodies that we saw in the Android Design Guidelines and event keynote.
While part of the disconnect between expected and actualized features is due to the incomplete nature of the developer preview, an even larger part boils down to the lack of application support for Android’s new UI paradigm, Material Design. So we should all urge our favorite app developers to get with the program and update their apps, right? Wrong.
Alongside the release of the Android L Developer Preview images, Google also released the Android L Preview SDK. Using the L Preview SDK, developers are now able to make use of Theme.Material.* and give their applications this highly sought after theme. And in fact, this is only available when using the preview SDK. However, Google makes it very clear that applications created with the preview SDK should not be published to the Google Play Store:
The L Developer Preview gives you an advance look at the upcoming release for the Android platform, which offers new features for users and app developers. This document provides an introduction to the most notable APIs.
The L Developer Preview is intended for developer early adopters and testers. If you are interested in influencing the direction of the Android framework, give the L Developer Preview a try and send us your feedback!
Caution: Do not not publish apps that use the L Developer Preview to the Google Play store.
What’s more, users not running Android L can’t even install applications created using the L Preview SDK, even when the application is created with minSDK set to something lower than what’s supported by the target device:
So where are we going with all of this? We should stop harassing our favorite app developers to update their applications to Material Design. This is because the Material Design theme is only available using the L Preview SDK, and applications built using it can’t be uploaded to the Play Store. So let’s give our developers a break and let them use the Android L Preview SDK the way it’s meant to be used: as a way to get their applications ready for when Android L is released in the fall, rather than to create shipping applications now.
[Via Daniel Velazco]