September 21, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Android is a Linux-based operating system, but this fact doesn’t put any limitation on this OS. Android can work with other OSes really nicely thanks to many tools developed by its massive community. Back in May, we talked about Droid Sync Manager, a handy Windows-Android utility that allows users to sync files between your phone and computer. Many things have changed since then, and the project has been updated to version 2.0.6.
With the version bump, lots of new features have been introduced by XDA Recognized Developer OmarBizreh. The most important ones are certainly a changed UI for the Android client, which now follows Material Design UI language and two things related to phone to PC communication. With this new version, you can now stream music and video files directly to your Android device and access the Windows network shared files. These functions might really come in handy when you have a video file available on computer and don’t want to spend an eternity copying the content to your phone or tablet. Many bugs that have been discovered since the initial release have been fixed as well, to make this project as stable as possible.
Droid Sync Manager is a tool that is definitely worth trying if you are using Windows as your main operating system on your PC. With this utility you are getting the most of both OSes since they can now play really nicely together. If you haven’t tried DoidSync yet, it’s a good time to change this. If you already have, then check what’s new. You can learn more about this project by visiting the Droid Sync Manager app thread.
September 20, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
A Web browser is one of these applications that we can’t live without. We use it multiple times a day as one of the most basic tools. Applications like Chrome or Firefox are great, but they are all nearly identical in terms of UI, functionality, and overall user experience. For some of us they might be too modern. So how about going back to the days when everything was simple and there was only one king of browsers: Internet Explorer 6?
If you never heard of IE6, you must either be really young or you must have been living under a rock for the last ten years or so. Internet Explorer 6 was included with Microsoft Windows XP, which is unfortunately still one of the most widely used OSes. If you ever wanted to try something reminiscent of this old school browser on your device, XDA Senior Member Vlad Mihalachi has made it possible. Old but Gold Internet Browser is nothing less than a simulation of the legendary IE6 to Android. It uses Bing as a default search engine, doesn’t have any fancy functions, and offers the pure experience from the first decade of 21st century.
Bring back the Windows XP days with Old but Gold Internet Browser. Head over to the Old but Gold Internet Browser thread to get started.
September 20, 2014 By: Faiz Malkani
Access and security are some of the key issues facing mobile technology. Whether it’s a friend swiping to your next photo or your child drawing up large bills with in app purchases, nobody wants their privacy violated or access compromised. However, as with all problems, there are solutions. Android APIs allow third party apps to provide increased control over the core framework.
XDA Junior Member 1tek aims to just this, thanks to his latest app. Droid Protector allows you to lock any apps, hide pictures, lock incoming calls and lock installation and uninstallation of apps. The app carries out its functions rather cleverly, simulating a crash dialog when a locked app is opened, thereby avoiding suspicion. It also provides an easy to use interface that requires minimal effort to manage it, and allows you to view your hidden images within the app itself. In addition to the impressive suite of features, Droid Protector also packs some more firepower with micro-settings such as customization and types of locks.
Head over to the Droid Protector application thread to get started with securing your apps and hiding your pictures. The app is free to download but contains in-app purchases.
Back in May, we talked a bit about Jair Player, a nice looking music player with tons of useful features. This application not only plays your favorite tunes, but it also automatically downloads the lyrics so you don’t have to browse the Web to find them yourself. And as we mentioned before, downloading lyrics is just one of the many features found in this application.
Many things have changed since Jair Player’s initial release. XDA Senior Member Akshay (Aky), the project’s main developer, has updated the player to version 1.48, which offers the following refinements:
Brand new Paper-craft icon
New Material colors palette
New smooth experience
Ability to swipe to play next or previous song in Player
New Folders UI
New Queue UI
New UI for showing songs of Playlist, Favorite
Added Visualizer in Player
Added ability to re-arrange-remove songs of Playlist & Queue
Added heart animation when favorite toggled
Lots of Cosmetic improvements
Bunch of bugs fixed
Just a heap of performance tweaks
As you can see, the project is far more mature now and has become quite a solid alternative to other, better known (and often paid) applications. If you are looking for a music application that plays your favorite tunes and also packs some nice additional functionality, Jair Player is definitely worth consideration.
You can learn more about this project and of course get the player’s APK by visiting the Jair Player application thread. The developer is also open for suggestions, so don’t hesitate to leave your feedback in the thread.
September 18, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Your Android smart device has many features that you use often. Sometimes getting to those options is not as quick as it could be, and getting there often requires you to open a big, heavy app. There has to be a better way. There has to be a quicker way.
XDA Senior Member Dr.Alexander_Breen offers up a simple application that gives you the ability to quickly and easily control your phone. In this video, XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews Quick Control Panel. TK shows off the application and shares his thoughts of the application, so check out this app review.
September 18, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Android Wear smartwatches are growing in popularity every day. Some devices have already been released to the market, while some some others were announced and are awaiting mass availability. One thing is inevitable though, and that is that they will soon conquer the Android-loving market pretty soon. When things get popular, they rapidly are the subject of developer attention and some interesting projects start to pop up as well.
Smartwatches seem to be the perfect devices from which to play music, but not many of the most popular music players have been rewritten with Android Wear compatibility. One application that has been designed to work with Android Wear is Stellio Music Player by XDA Forum Member doomedez. The application offers everything that you could possibly need from a music player. This application can control music, browse it by artist, folders, or albums. It can even color the surrounding elements by cover. The application also offers a handy equalizer and sync support with VKontakte, a popular social media portal.
If you are planning to buy an Android Wear smartwatch or you already have one, this music player is definitely an application that is worth a look. It’s nice to see applications designed to work with this new platform.
You can find Stellio Music Player by visiting the Stellio application thread. Head over there to turn your smartwatch into a stylish walkman right away.
The developers of Android, that is Google, gave users several great debugging tools that can be used in development. The most basic (yet still quite powerful) of these is undoubtedly Android Debug Bridge, otherwise known as ADB. It’s a very handy tool that can be used by developers and regular users through USB, WiFi, or even directly on the phone.
One of the most popular ADB-based utilities for Android is aLogcat Free. This app was originally released way back in 2011. Unfortunately the developer who created the app, Jeffrey Blattman, decided to abandon his project and aLogcat Free wasn’t updated since 2012. XDA Recognized Developer pedja1 decided to give this application a second life and created a new version of the app keeping the initial open-source spirit. Now, the application has been seriously reworked and offers multiple functions that were unavailable back in the 2012 version. And as such, the list of new features is quite long.
With the new version of the app, you can search for various phrases in the log and filter the results by level and buffer. If you prefer to keep the text big or small, you can change its size really easy. The core features are also available, so you can save your logs and share them with developers later on.
The new version of the great aLogcat tool can be found in the aLogcat utility thread. Help your favorite developers squash all the bugs in your ROM or daily use applications. Send them logs collected with aLogcat!
September 17, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Still images can be beautiful, but some of you prefer to see animations on your screens. This is why Google decided to add live wallpaper support to Android back in version 2.1. They became are a vital part of Android ages ago, even before Holo was unveiled in Honeycomb and refined in Ice Cream Sandwich and beyond. There are numerous wallpapers available in Google Play Store and XDA forum alike–including some that pull images from your social networks. Most of them, however, can’t be used for coding educational purposes since they have closed source code.
Since XDA is a place where we are looking for every opportunity to learn something new, many would like to learn how to create your own live wallpaper. Such opportunity has been given by XDA Senior Member sylsau, who created a live wallpaper that is fully open-sourced and waiting for you to put your fingers on it. If you are looking for more, there is a surprise waiting for you. Sylsau recorded a video showing the full process of development and uploaded it to YouTube.
The live wallpaper made by sylsau is a rather simple one, so you can use this project as a perfect place to start your Android development journey. Prepare your Eclipse or other IDE and coffee. We are going to code!
You can find an app, source code, and video tutorial in the Clock Live Wallpaper application thread.
One of the best things that Android has always offered its users is the ability to tailor one’s device to look like pretty much anything we could conceive. Starting from the wide assortment of launchers available (both OEM and custom/community based) all the way to fonts, icons, and wallpapers, Android offers something for everyone. The world of live wallpapers has also seen the creativity of our devs by allowing us to interact with the background of our devices via visual effects all the way to letting our devices play a flawless game of Mario Bros all on its own. There are other LWPs that will allow you to make collages of your favorite photos, and even make them transition to new pictures for that “new phone” look every time you go Home.
And speaking of our picture stash, one of the undisputed, largest sources for pictures that we can think of in this day and age is undoubtedly Facebook. Family pictures, friends, and even memes—all can be found by simply logging into your account. And yes, you can download the pictures on your phone and use them as wallpaper. However, downloading picture after picture can be a somewhat tedious task, no matter how easy it is. If you are in this line of thought too, where you would like to use Facebook pictures as your wallpaper, then you definitely need to check out XDA Forum Member Solacetech‘s work.
FBView (Facebook View) is a LWP that will automatically use any and all pictures (at least the most recent ones) from your Facebook feed in order to create a collage of pictures with it. But wait (yell in Billy Mays’ voice), it gets better because the app is capable of updating your wallpaper’s pictures in predefined time intervals–all without your intervention. This way, you will never miss any of your friend’s jewels of wisdom despite being away from the Facebook app itself.
The app is still in its testing stages, and the dev is currently looking for feedback to make the app somewhat better. Do you have any ideas or maybe found a bug? Please report it to the thread and remember that logcats are your friends (as well as your dev’s friends also). You can find more information in Facebook View’s original thread.
September 15, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Nowadays, almost everyone has a second life on the Internet. Among the best tools available to keep your friends close are websites like Facebook or Twitter. Social networks are taking up a big part of our lives, and the situation will likely not change in the next few years.
All of these social networks have one thing in common: You are communicating with people that you know. There are moments in life when you want to share your thoughts and feelings anonymously, to a person at the opposite side of the world. While Facebook or Twitter don’t allow for that, there are tools like an app made by XDA Forum Member Appsent Minded that turn such a concept into reality.
The A Minimalist Social Network app displays only one message at time, without adding any further information. Everything is confidential, fast, and easy to use. You can share your thoughts about your life, things you love or hate, or simply say hi. Your message will be visible as long as the next person using the application will send a reply.
Are you feeling lonely or maybe you have something interesting to say? Share your thoughts by heading over to the A Minimalist Social Network app thread.
September 15, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Music is a passion that transcends age, gender, race, culture, and geographic location. There are music fans everywhere. And unless you’re deaf, chances are that music is a significant part of your life in some form or another as well.
For most people, the main form of musical exposure comes from various facets of the media. For example, we hear songs on the radio, watch music videos on MTV, and even browse the Billboard music charts to discover new music. Unfortunately with the last option, it’s often cumbersome to get from a text list with various songs to actually being able to sample the music for yourself. This is where Billy by XDA Forum Member Vibin comes in.
Billy is an application that lets you browse the most popular pop, rock, and dance songs on the Billboard.com charts and then stream them directly from within the app. Music is pulled from SoundCloud, and if you are feeling particularly interested in any given song, you can even choose to watch the official YouTube music video for each of the tracks.
If you’re a music lover looking for new tunes, Billy may be just what the doctor ordered. Just make your way over to the Billy application thread to get started.
September 14, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It’s absolutely no secret that battery life is somewhat of an undoing for many great devices. With the exception of battery behemoths such as the Galaxy Note series with its superb longevity, most modern flagships seem to top out at only about eight hours of screen time or less. Because of this, it is quite common to see countless threads in various device-specific forums asking for advice on how to achieve better battery life.
One of the big culprits for battery drain is undoubtedly wireless connectivity. However, it’s not really practical to disable mobile data because doing so cuts one off from the outside world. Luckily, there are device automation tools like Tasker and Llama that can automate the process. But for those just wanting a simple app to do it for them, Tasker is a little bit of overkill.
This is where AutoData by XDA Senior Member symbuzzer comes in. As its name implies, AutoData automatically turns off your data when not in use in order to save battery life. It does this by turning off mobile data after your screen has been off for ten minutes. Your mobile data connection will remain off for 15 minutes, at which point, connectivity is restored for one minute in order to allow you to receive notifications from your applications such as Gmail, Whatsapp, Facebook, and so on. This cycle then repeats, and in doing so, saves your limited battery reserves. And of course, once your screen turns back on, mobile data will be reactivated.
If you find that your battery has a hard time making it through the day, you may want to give AutoData a shot. Head over to the AutoData application thread to get started.
September 13, 2014 By: Conan Troutman
Privacy and security are always a concern when it comes to mobile devices, and many of us probably have something or other stored or installed that we’d like to protect and keep from prying eyes or curious children. This can take the form of a certain app or set of applications that you don’t want just anyone to be able to access, or even–dare I say it–some revealing photos that you no longer trust to the cloud. If that sounds at all familiar then fear not, there are a few ways you can help to maintain your security and privacy by restricting access to your device content.
XDA Forum Member 1tek has developed an application that does just this called Droid Protector. The app will allow you to lock individual applications as you see fit and protect them with one of three ways of unlocking: the classic PIN code, a calculator unlock, or the less secure but more intuitive pattern unlock. The application also allows you to decide which of the images or videos stored on the device are readily accessible. Any selected media is effectively invisible to anyone who happens to be using the device, but readily available to you by simply opening Droid Protector.
Another rather clever feature of this application is that it provides the option to disguise the fact that you have chosen to protect certain applications. This is achieved by not just simply refusing to allow access to the unauthorized user. Instead, the application will present them with a fake crash dialogue that in most cases shouldn’t raise too much suspicion with the average user, yet still allows you to protect and secure your privacy.
Droid Protector is available from the Droid Protector application thread right here on XDA or via the Play Store for free and is compatible with devices running Android 2.3 or above. Unfortunately, it is currently incompatible with the Android L Developer Preview although 1tek does state that he is looking to address that in the future.