July 14, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
If you haven’t heard already, XDA is putting on its second annual xda:devcon. This year, we’re doing it international style and holding the event in Manchester, UK on the weekend of September 26-28. We have great sponsors from Sony and Oppo who joined us last year, to newcomer OnePlus. However, it takes more than great sponsors to make an event like the successful, it takes great speakers.
Returning to xda:devcon is a speaker from last year. Founding member of the “Free Xperia Project” and now a Community Manager with Sony Developer Relations, Alin Jerpelea has a core technical background and has been active on XDA since 2006 on multiple platforms.
At xda:devcon ’13, Jerpelea gave a presentation entitled “Android on Legacy Devices – Use It or Lose It.” In that presentation, he holds a dialog with the audience and talks about how Android support on legacy devices from developers is demanded by a lot of people because manufacturers rarely release Android updates. Developers and members at XDA work hard to support devices on new Android versions. Jerpelea pondered how much we should push those devices. Is it enough to have the latest Android version booted, or do we want more? Check out the video to see what they have to say on this video from last year.
This year, Jerpelea returns and offers up another excellent presentation. This time, he will be giving a talk entitled “AOSP For Sony Devices: Past, Present and Future.” Have you ever wondered what Sony is doing to open up for more collaboration and more innovation in the Open Source community? In this session Alin will share with you where Sony is taking AOSP for Xperia in the short term. Sony wants to support external community innovation, so Alin will discuss how Sony will improve their work on openness around AOSP.
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 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!]
June 22, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Google I/O 2014 is just a few short days away, and many of us waiting on the edges of our seats in hopes of a new Android release. There’s naturally much speculation to be had as to what this upcoming version will bring when it eventually reaches consumers. However, we’ve also been able to glean relevant information about the future of Android by looking at recent AOSP merges.
Recently, we talked about how the next major Android release is poised to remove Dalvik runtime compiler altogether and set ART as default. That, however, is not the only piece of information that can be had about the future of Android. New merges to the AOSP master branch by Googler Andrew Hsieh indicate that the next major version of Android will revise API level naming convention.
Up until now, Android API level naming convention has dictated that all versions receive numerical API levels. This started with Android 1.0, which was API level 1, and has continued onward to KitKat, which is API level 19.
Now according to two recent merges to the AOSP master branch, it seems like 64-bit API levels will be renamed to non-numeric characters, with the 64-bit iteration of the Android-L release receiving the letter “L” for its API level. The merges themselves mention that this new naming convention is tentative, though this will potentially make things easier for developers creating native apps with the NDK.
Change 99016 - Merged
64-bit in android-L
What do you make of all of this? If nothing else, it further goes to show the heavy emphasis Google is placing on 64-bit computing in Android-L (perhaps Lollipop?). Share your thoughts and conspiracy theories in the comments below.
[Many thanks to XDA Recognized Developer helicopter88 for the heads up!]
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.