August 29, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Without a doubt, Android Wear is one of the most frequently talked about topics of the last few weeks. The upcoming Moto 360 and other circular smartwatches will be released next week during the IFA in Berlin. These devices have already gathered a following of eager owners and developers working on applications and other goods for this wearable ecosystem.
Nearly every device with Android on board, no matter if it’s a smartphone or a tablet, allows its users to use some kind of lock screen protection. Among the most popular methods, you can find a swipe gesture, a PIN code, face unlock, password unlock, and of course the Android hallmark lock screen pattern. However, this isn’t the case on Android Wear by default. Now, these methods have been successfully ported over to Android Wear by XDA Senior Member Mohammad_Adib. This application can be used to protect your device from other people trying to access it. Lockable can also lock your device when it’s dimmed and much more. It’s a great way to enhance the Android Wear experience in a simple manner.
The free version of the app allows you to use swipe gestures, while other unlock methods can be unlocked with an in-app purchase. We don’t promote paid applications, but a free version offers quite a lot.
If you are an Android Wear device owner or you are planning to get one of these brand new smartwatches, protect them with Lockable. You can get it by visiting the application thread.
[Big thanks to our XDA TV Producer TK for the tip!]
Pushbullet is one of those applications that every Android lover should have installed on his or her device. This smart tool allows multiple actions like sending files through the Internet and the sending and receiving of notes, links, or lists. In the last few months, Pushbullet has grown to become one of the most highly rated applications for Android and iOS.
The application and browser extensions are constantly updated, but XDA Forum Member guzba and his team added quite a useful feature that many of you folks will undoubtedly love. Since the last update, Pushbullet can now be used to reply to text messages sent by various SMS apps! Texting with your friends has never been so easy. Once the popup appears, you can click on it and write a message that will be send from your phone. That’s a small update, but can be considered as one of the most important one in the short Pushbullet history.
Pushbullet doesn’t require any special permissions. It works with Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, so nearly every major Internet browser. Pushbullet also has a native Windows client, which adds some neat features to the app.
August 28, 2014 By: Faiz Malkani
As some of you may remember, earlier this year we spoke about Quick Control Panel by XDA Senior Member Dr.Alexander_Breen. For those who don’t recall, Quick Control Panel is a resourceful app that brings the functionality and usability of the iOS Control Center to Android devices. Quick Control Panel brings the iOS features like settings toggles and music along with an Android flavor to it in the form of a Holo design, heavy customization options, more toggling options as well as Google’s ubiquitous card-centric interface.
In the time since its initial release, Dr.Alexander_Breen has released an important update to Quick Control Panel that adds a major feature to its already strong suite of them: notifications. The latest iteration of Quick Control Panel allows you to view and manage your notifications right from the control shade, and coupled with the system-wide availability and placement of the shade, this update packs quite a punch.
Quick Control Panel is available in paid and lite version, but the developer has generously provided the full version for free to all XDA Members. Head over the Quick Control Panel thread to get started and consider buying the app to help out the developer.
August 28, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Is your Android device running slow? Is your Android device overheating? Are you a power user who wants to squeeze every morsel of power out of your device and optimize every cycle? Well, one of the best ways to answer these questions is to monitor your CPU and understand what’s using your devices clock cycles. Then you can decide if this action is appropriate or not.
XDA Forum Member cygnus.uvdb offers up a simple application that gives you a window into what items are using your processors power. In this video XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews CPU Monitor. TK shows off the application and gives his thoughts, so check out this app review.
As some of you may remember, a while back we spoke about Secrecy, an effective file encryption app that allows you to secure files of your choosing, lest your phone get into the wrong hands or some tech-savvy friend gets snoopy. One qualm in particular that we had with Secrecy was that due to the app being closed source, there was no way for users to verify the file encryption and ensure that their files were truly secure, making them doubt the authenticity of the application and the security it promised.
However, XDA Senior Member Doplgangr, the developer of Secrecy understood the looming issue at hand, and to ensure users that their files were secure, and went ahead and open-sourced the app. This step was vital, given that private files and information was being entrusted to the app, and with the source code made public, users can ensure that the application lives up to its promise of security and AES256 encryption.
August 27, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Although Google has somewhat gotten out of the habit of their previously unrelenting Update Wednesday sessions, the middle of the week is still prime time for first party Android application updates. Today, we have been graced by not one, but two updates. And surprisingly, one of the two is for an app that hasn’t received a formal app update in… well… ever.
The first update, which actually started making its way out to devices yesterday afternoon, is for Google News and Weather. For those who don’t remember, this application has essentially remained unchanged ever since the Android 2.x days. Although over the years it received a minor color scheme update, its core functionality has been unchanged since its inception.
Now, Google News and Weather version 2 (up from 1.3) has made its debut in the Google Play Store, and it brings essentially an entirely new user experience. For starters, there’s now a slide-out “hamburger menu” available from any screen, which lets you shift between news categories. Sliding left and right still takes you through the categories, though there’s no longer a tabbed indicator up top. There’s also a new main screen, complete with top stories and a better weather indicator. The app also gives a new information screen when opened the first time to show you all of the new features. Finally, the UI itself has been fully updated to make use of the now nearly ubiquitous Material Design-styled colors that Google’s first party Android apps are starting to follow.
In addition to the massive Google News and Weather update, we have a minor update to Google Maps. Coming in at version 8.3.1 (up from 8.2.0), this is primarily a bugfix update from what we can see.
The Google News and Weather update is available for all supported devices straight on Google Play, but for some reason it doesn’t appear to be available in all regions and for all devices. As such, we’ve gone ahead and mirrored both APKs on our Google Drive for your early access, sideloading pleasure:
[Many thanks to XDA Portal Supporter MihirGosai for the APKs and info!]
August 26, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Android updates released as OTA packages are very easy to apply, but they also cause major headaches to custom ROM lovers. Every time an OTA comes out, we need to revert back to stock recovery, flash the update, and then flash our favorite custom recovery like TWRP or ClockworkMod to get back all of our recovery features like Nandroid backups and the ability to flash SuperSU. I don’t even have to begin to cover how time consuming and frustrating this process is.
If your device gets these updates frequently, you might be interested in testing a tool created by XDA Forum Moderator and Recognized Developer graffixnyc. Simple Recovery Switcher, as the name states, easily switches between stock and custom recovery. The whole process can be done pretty much in no time, which is much faster than using a standard USB cable with the fastboot method.
The application should work as intended on every Qualcomm device that uses the /dev/block/platform/msm_sdcc.1/by-name/recovery structure and is rooted with Busybox installed. Recoveries must be named stock.img and custom.img and must be placed in the root folder of your internal SD Card. Before using this tool, double check everything, since messing with recoveries may result in a bricked device.
Android L or Lemon Meringue Pie is on its way, so there might be some OTA updates available in the near (or not so near) future. Prepare yourself for OTAs by visiting the Simple Recovery Switcher application thread.
Most Android devices are stuffed with quite a few sensors used to determine countless variables like temperature, acceleration, and so on. These values are used mostly by Google Play Services, but developers here on XDA also make a good use of them directly in some very interesting projects.
One of the sensors that is commonly used by devs is the accelerometer. It’s used to determine whether the device is accelerating, and if so, at what rate. XDA Forum Member mrYoussef135 found potential in this sensor and decided to use motion to control device scrolling.
Tilt Scroll allows you to scroll in many application by just tilting the device. The app allows you to scroll the content either horizontally and vertically by performing certain gestures. Scrolling can be activated by shaking up the device. This application works perfectly with the Gallery and Internet browsers like Chrome and many others.
Tilt Scroll has a few requirements to work properly. It will work only with rooted devices, and it obviously requires an accelerometer sensor and multitouch input. Luckily, the vast majority of devices meet these requirements without any problems.
You don’t have to moves like Jagger to control your device efficiently without touching the screen. Tilt Scroll will do this for you. The app can be found in the Tilt Scroll application thread, so go there and give it a try.
Your smartphone’s dialer app is obviously one of the most frequently used apps you have on your smartphone. We use it practically on a daily basis to call our family, friends, and co-workers. The truth is that without dialer, our smartphones would be just small, Internet-enabled PCs that are unable to make calls.
Google has already updated some of its applications to meet the Material Design requirements. Unfortunately the stock dialer isn’t one of them. If you are looking for a perfect alternative to Holo-based stock dialer, XDA Senior Member Phat7 has something that you may find interesting. Phat7 has created Reactiv Dialer, an application that offers everything that a good dialer should. It’s small, lightweight and can perfectly replace the stock Android application.
Reactiv Dialer doesn’t just have nice UI design; it’s also very functional. Searching contacts really fast by name or phone number are just a part of its vast functionality. You can also define favorites that are shown at the top of the screen so that you always have them readily accessible.
Reactiv Dialer works with every Android version starting with Ice Cream Sandwich. If you decide to buy the full version of the app, you will be able to change its theme and customize the colors.
If you are looking for a lightweight, fast, and good looking dialer application, Reactiv Dialer might be up your alley. You can get it from the Reactiv Dialer application thread.
Although our mobile devices today are capable of executing nearly every task we normally perform on their full size PC counterparts, there are certain core communication tasks that seem to make up the bulk of what we do with our smartphones. These activities include Email, phone calls, and last but not least, text messaging. As such, there are hundreds or thousands of good text messaging apps available on Android, with many offering elaborate features such as integration with your desktop computer and so on.
XDA Senior Member kajozord recently created Yet Another Android Texting Application, and he named it appropriately as such. However, YAATA isn’t just another Android texting app. It offers quite a bit of added functionality that you will have trouble finding in other solutions, especially if you’re looking for one app that has all of them. For example, it allows you to customize when notifications are shown depending on certain variables such as screen being on, vibration being off, or volume messings. You’re also able to schedule text messages, convert long SMS messages to MMS, receive delivery reports, quick compose from your status bar, auto forward and respond, and much more.
Although YAATA is another entrant in the sea of already great text messaging apps, it offers quite a bit of added functionality that sets it apart from all the rest and makes it a dream for the texting power user. Head over to the YAATA application thread to get started.
A few months ago, we talked about MacroDroid. For those who don’t remember, MacroDroid is a quite handy application that brings device automation to the next level. MacroDroid makes use of various device sensors to determine many variables such as location, speed, and many others. If you like so see it in action, watch TK’s review on XDA TV.
Applications like MacroDroid, Tasker and Llama are extremely popular among XDA users, but none of them has been available for the fairly new breed of Android Wear smartwatch devices. Well, this unfortunate situation has changed thanks to XDA Forum Member UndeadCretin, who issued an update to MacroDroid. This update is pretty big and brings lots of new functions like:
These amazing Android Wear-powered devices like the LG G Watch, Samsung Gear Live, and the upcoming Motorola Moto 360 will be able to benefit from various new functions that have been introduced with this update. If your wrist is armed with one of the first generation of Android Wear watches, don’t hesitate to slap MacroDroid onto it. You can get the updated application by visiting the MacroDroid application thread. You can read more about the update by visiting the official MacroDroid blog.
As we’ve said in the past, there are quite a few calculators available on Android. Essentially, if there’s any particular kind of simple or elaborate calculation you’d like to perform, there is undoubtedly an app for that. And with the previously linked Numix Calculator, you can perform standard calculations with gorgeous Material Design style. But as always, having even more choice is never a bad thing, especially when these choices help fill particular niches not yet occupied by any other app.
XDA Senior Member thotran7989 recently created a smart new calculator app called Calc+. As its name alludes, it offers a bit more than standard calculator functionality. For starters, Calc+ lets you touch already entered numbers and operators to modify them on the fly. In other words, you can reuse your previous calculations to see how the results change when modifying variables. Additionally, you can easily define constants that you use frequently, customize the interface with various themes, and even modify the display font. All of this adds up to an extremely smart and powerful calculator that also looks great.
While Calc+ doesn’t offer advanced graphing or equation solving functions like some of the other options we’ve looked at in the past, it’s still a great option for those who need a simple calculator that also happens to be smart and beautiful. Head over to the Calc+ application thread to get started.
August 21, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
If you’re enjoying an active way of life, you probably travel a lot, go fishing, or perform other similar activities in various outdoor locations. It’s needless to say that you can easily get lost while doing all of this, so you need proper tools to get you back to the starting point. Paper maps are handy, but how do you determine what direction you should go when you are in the middle of nowhere?
One solution to this tricky problem has been provided by XDA Forum Member BaseManAndroid, who created an application called LocationDetector. This app leads you to whatever place you have marked on the map. It uses GPS satellites, so the result should be pretty accurate. The app can also work as a compass if you prefer the more traditional way of navigation and traveling. If you get lost, you can always send an SMS with your coordinates to emergency services and hopefully get rescued.
This application can be pretty useful in various outdoor situations, but you should always treat it as a additional help, not a life-saving tool. After all, you could always run out of batteries, not get signal, or your device could just die. Keep this in mind before hopping into the middle of the woods.
If you are planning to do some traveling or simply wish to get lost outdoors, this application is what you’ve been looking for. You can get it by visiting the LocationDetector application thread.