August 10, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Just a few days back, we covered the unfortunate news that official restore images for the new 2013 Nexus 7 were not yet available. Much speculation pointed towards Qualcomm as the underlying cause for the delay, given that such a trend was observed on previous Qualcomm-based Nexus devices. Thankfully, either due to a change of heart by Qualcomm or Google, the factory images are now available. Furthermore, the component drivers are now also available, so those looking to compile from source can do so with ease.
The 359 MB factory restore image comes in the form of build JSS15J. For those keeping track, this is the same build that is found after the second OTA for the device. The drivers come from Asus (Audio and Sensors), Broadcom (NFC), and Qualcomm (Graphics, Camera, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, Sensors Media, DRM, DSP, and USB). They should provide custom ROM developers with all they need to get the ball rolling with the aftermarket development we all know and crave.
August 9, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
The Nvidia SHIELD‘s open source materials were released, while the this wasn’t the case for the Nexus 7 (2013). That and more are covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this weekend. Included in this week’s news is an article about optimizing your Chormecast and news about the XDA Development Database.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Kevin released a video, giving you a basic education about the Android kernel, Jordan reviewed the Nvidia Shield, and TK gave an app review of C Locker and C Widget. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
August 7, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Now that’s a doozy, isn’t it? Before proceeding, let’s take a moment for that to better sink in. In addition to support from the AOSP, one of the hallmarks of the Nexus program has traditionally been the availability of factory restore images. This is more than a simple convenience for Nexus device owners. Rather, it allows for users to safely and reliably restore their devices to their factory state.
As a result of the availability of factory restore images, Nexus device owners always had a safety net available for when (not “if” here at XDA) they decide to leave the confines of stock software and venture into the realm of aftermarket development. And the loading of unsupported firmware was always a relatively supported task, as evidenced by the availability of the simple command fastboot oem unlock.
There have been minor inconveniences along the way, however, as exemplified by the Nexus One and Nexus 4 factory images. Ultimately, these issues were all resolved in some way or another. For the Nexus One, HTC was able to release factory images. And for the Nexus 4, Google released the images after some time had passed. However one thing links these devices, along with the new Nexus 7 (2013): Qualcomm.
As a quick refresher, the Nexus One used the original Snapdragon system-on-a-chip with a single core Scorpion CPU mated to an Adreno 200 GPU. The Nexus 4 uses the Snapdragon S4 Pro, which features four Krait CPUs and an Adreno 320 GPU. Finally, the Nexus 7 uses a potentially lower-binned Snapdragon 600, which has been relabeled as an S4 Pro. And coincidentally, all of these devices have faced significant setbacks in their factory image availability.
Well, I see that people have figured out why I’m quitting AOSP.
There’s no point being the maintainer of an Operating System that can’t boot to the home screen on its flagship device for lack of GPU support, especially when I’m getting the blame for something that I don’t have authority to fix myself and that I had anticipated and escalated more than 6 months ahead.
While this was the most clearly the issue has thus far been stated, his followers knew something was amiss ever since JBQ tweeted on the matter back on July 30th:
That feeling when lawyers sabotage the launch you spent 6 months working on? I haz it. Sad sad sad sad sad sad.
The bottom line of the factory image drama is simple: We currently have no officially supported way to factory restore our Nexus devices. We don’t know if this will be solved by Google and Qualcomm like it was for the Nexus 4, or if this will remain a longer-standing issue requiring the intervention of an OEM partner, as was the case with the Nexus One. And finally, this forced the man ultimately in charge of the technical side of the Android Open Source Project to resign.
Luckily, there are options available for users looking to restore their factory firmware, thanks to XDA Senior Member ATGAdmin who released a factory restore package for users in need. In fact, a certain editor-in-chief of a certain mobile development forum’s news site already had to make use of such accommodations after some late-night flashing without adequate precautions left him with an unusable slab. However, these images are unsupported, and it would ultimately be better if they were to come from Google themselves.
Because of this issue, and past issues like it, the future direction of the Android Open Source Project is unfortunately all too nebulous. It’s times like these that we’re grateful that other open source options are beginning to emerge.
[Via Android Police]
July 26, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
After a couple of leaked versions hit the wild, Google finally announced Android version 4.3 for Nexus devices. That and more are covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is an announcement that the first AOSP-based 4.3 build for non-Nexus devices and some forum additions for many devices, including Chromecast.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Kevin released a video talking about sharing your WiFi quickly with InstaWifi, TK showed us some XDA mods for the Samsung Galaxy S 4, and TK then showed us how to install some security patches for our device. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
May 20, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Sony continues its AOSP initiative by releasing it on the Sony Xperia Tablet Z. That and more are covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is a tutorial on using HttpClient to upload and download with your App. And in related news, there is an article on how to promote your app.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce released a video on resume screening methods that recruiters use, and he follows it up with a video answering questions from the first video and further explaining the information provided. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
Sometimes, you can harp on a subject so much that you end up beating a dead horse. In our eyes, this is not one of those instances. Enough can’t be said for companies that take Open Source seriously, as well as their responsibility to contribute back to the very community that helps to boost adoption rates for their devices.
Sony Mobile is one of those companies that gets it. They have contributed to the open source community with their DASH code, GPLv2 adherence with their kernel source code releases, and various AOSP projects (Xperia S, Xperia Z). Now, they have added the Xperia Tablet Z to their stable of AOSP projects ahead of its worldwide release.
Sony Mobile announced on their Developer World blog today that the AOSP code for the Tablet Z is now available on their GitHub. While you’re at it, check out their video below for a demo of AOSP on the Tablet Z.
The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is Google giving the entire community (manufacturers, enthusiasts, developers, etc.) the necessary building blocks to bring what many refer to as “stock Android” (more accurately “vanilla Android”) to a device. The inherent problem with this is that the manufacturers are often the roadblock to such endeavors. Too often manufacturers (like HTC, Samsung, etc.) and suppliers (like Qualcomm) all claim that they can’t release certain drivers, and label them as “proprietary” so that no one can use them. Of course, since there’s nothing really “new” under the sun, this just serves to hinder innovation and development. And often times manufacturers will claim it’s the suppliers who are really hindering things, but who is it that chooses the suppliers? I’ll let the obvious rhetorical question be obvious.
In this mix, it’s refreshing to see a mainstream company attempt to shuck all of these trends and actually release the AOSP source for a device, with the Xperia S being the first non-Nexus device to be included in the AOSP device tree. This experiment ended on a positive note, with Sony moving the source for the Xperia S into their own managed GitHub repository. But Sony hasn’t stopped there.
While companies like Samsung, which used to be rather developer-friendly, now moving away from being open to the community, Sony instead is welcoming them with open arms. Their latest flagship device, the Xperia Z, has joined the Xperia S with having its AOSP source files available on their GitHub. They even posted a lot of information over on their Developer World blog, listing SD Card, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, LED light, and sensors working (partially), and they state plans to include NFC in the future. They also have a link to the proprietary Qualcomm binaries needed in order for this to work. You can see the video below, and visit their blog post for more information.
February 19, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Android version 4.2.2 of Jelly Bean has arrived on the Nexus line up’s door step. That can mean only one thing: It is time to cue the onslaught of mainstream technology journalist statements about the “fragmentation” of Android. They proclaim this fragmentation hurts Android, that non standardized hardware and different OEM customized versions of Android will be the downfall of Google’s mobile operating system. These people have perhaps drank a bit too much iKool-Aid.
The different options of Android handsets are what make Android a success. If I want a 5.5 inch phone screen, there is the Samsung Galaxy Note II. If I want a water and dust proof phone, there is the Sony Xperia Z. If I want a phone that I cannot unlock and has some of the most difficult bootloaders to crack, there is almost every Motorola and HTC device. In this episode XDA Developer Producer azrienoch gives us the 5 myths of the custom OEM Android software ecosystem.