July 23, 2014 By: egzthunder1
How many times have you given your device to someone else in order to show them a picture, website, or something completely unrelated to your daily lives, only to find that person rummaging through your personal data including who you called and even your text messages? Surely, you can delete several of your records, but that can be immensely impractical due to the fact that you may need to call or write to those numbers again. There are also tools available that hide entire sections of your device from sight or even prevent access to them once the tool is active. But once again, that might be cumbersome for many due to the need to activate and deactivate certain things in your app, just to have access to your logs once again. So, how do you protect yourself from prying eyes, while keeping the sanctity of your device intact or without doctoring your own log? XDA Senior Member FemBlack might just have what you need.
Introducing Reflection. This app has the ability to hide your call logs and your inbound and outbound SMS messages. However, the app doesn’t simply hide everything, but rather allows you to hide specific phone numbers from sight in either of the aforementioned. So, you no longer need to roam around your call logs looking for entries to delete or even delete text messages from that person. This app, upon entering the desired phone number, will provide you with options to hide all incoming, or outgoing SMS messages or calls. As you add numbers, you will get a list that gets populated with these numbers and what you block in each one of them. The best part is that the app is PIN protected, which means that not even the nosiest of people will get to your precious logs without your consent.
The app is still in testing phases. The major obstacle at this point is the app’s limited ability to handle SMS in KitKat. However, the dev is diligently working towards fixing that. As of version 5, the feature is in alpha stage for 4.4 and above. The dev is looking for valuable feedback either feature wise or in the shape of bug reports. Maybe if you are savvy with regards to the SMS handling on KitKat, you might be able to lend a hand to the developer to make the app better. Last but not least, the dev has graciously made the app free of charge for XDA members. You can find more information in the Reflection app thread. Enjoy!
Not too long ago here on the XDA Portal, we covered how Google had made good on their promise to allow Google Chromecast customers to finally cast and mirror their device screens onto the big screen through the little and inexpensive powerhouse. However, due to limitations on devices for which this feature had become available, our members stepped up to the plate and decided to “fix” Google’s mistake and gave the gift of mirror cast the home screen to pretty much all devices, with a few exceptions. But this article is not about Chromecast or even Google. Rather, we focus on the work that XDA Senior Member farmerbb has brought to the table, which should make a whole lot of you very happy that you decided to take the plunge with that FullHD TV.
The dev presents his app, known as Second Screen. Despite of what its name might suggest, this is not a tool to extend your home screen to a TV but rather a tool to properly cast your current screen onto the big screen. The main issue is that Android natively tries to use any resolution it sees fit whenever it streams its screen. It pays no attention to what resolution your screen actually has and essentially mirrors a raw version of your device’s screen onto the TV it is being cast to. This happens regardless of whether you use DNLA, MHL, or any of the other TV devices such as Miracast–or even the Chromecast. Second Screen aims at providing you with a way to properly cast your screen so that it looks is best whenever you are showing it off to your friends and family. It does so by allowing for a user selectable resolution and even DPI in order to take full advantage of your TV. On top of this, the app has several additional features such as turning the screen and haptic feedback off in order to save battery usage while you cast. Also, it provides easy connectivity options to use either a WiFi or Bluetooth input devices in order to turn your device into a home entertainment system. As for the cherry on top, you can cast Chrome in Desktop mode without manually having to go in and change clients yourself.
The app requires root to work and is, unfortunately, made to work mostly on AOSP-derived ROMs. Feel free to try it on other devices, but the dev makes no guarantees that it will work on other software. Feedback for this is rather paramount, so if you have a device running any AOSP variant and have a Chromecast, Miracast, or any TV fitted with a way to receive a cast, please take it for a spin and report any feedback you may have. Now, go and cast your heart out! You can find more information in the Second Screen app thread.
July 22, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It’s not Wednesday yet, but we’ve got a great Google first party Android app update to share. Rather than an app update in the traditional sense, today’s update is actually to the Google Play Store–and this new version packs quite a nice visual makeover that features a new and image-rich UI, as well as a hint of Material Design.
Today’s update to the Google Play Store brings the virtual storefront to version 4.9.13, up from version 4.8.22 that we shared just six days ago. And as you can expect from a relatively significant version number change, 4.9 brings a few very noticeable visual changes. For starters, when you access any particular Play Store entry–be it audio, video, apps, or written content–you are given a new image-rich listing page. This new style, which is seen in the leftmost screenshot, makes it easier to get a sense of your potential app purchase, as well as allow developers to create more enticing listings. In addition, Play Store listings now feature a floating action bar menu that fades into place when scrolling down any entry. This, along with a new and more prominent Google+ section can be seen in the middle screenshot. Finally, an updated “What’s New” section can be seen in the rightmost screenshot. This can be summoned by tapping on the section and dismissed by either clicking the “x” or scrolling up past the content.
The update isn’t complete in its visual transformation, however. When first launching the app, users won’t see any readily apparent changes. At this time, only the listing pages appear to be changed. That said, the update is a good move in the right direction, and we can’t wait to see the rest of the app’s visual makeover–perhaps in time for Android L and Material Design in the Fall.
While Play Store 4.9 has already begun rolling out, it will naturally be some time before everyone receives the update. As such, we’ve gone ahead and mirrored the APK for your sideloading pleasure.
[Many thanks to XDA Recognized Developer febycv for the APK!]
“Today while browsing XDA, I’m going to check to see if my favorite ROM has been updated–but first, let me take a #selfie.” Photos of your own face taken from arms length, selfie snapshots, are the sign of the era of smartphones. It is after all not too surprising to see now that we have easily accessible cameras and Internet connections. Selfies even made their way to this year’s Oscar ceremony, so this phenomenon is certainly not a trend that will be easily broken.
Taking a good photo of yourself might be considered trivial, but it is in fact is somewhat problematic. On most phones, the front facing camera is of significantly lower quality than the rear camera. And if you try to use the rear camera for your selfie, you’ll likely end up with half of your face excluded from the picture. There are some tools though that can help you out when snapping your photo. One of them was made by XDA Forum Member hotspot_volcano.
Cleverly entitled Smart Selfie, this app presents a rather innovative idea. The app recognizes faces and guide you using voice commands to take a perfect selfie photo with your rear-facing camera. After launching, the application asks you about how many people will be included in your photo and the shot’s orientation. The app then guides you and suggests how to move the camera in order to take the shot. When all the requirements are met, application automatically pulls the trigger and your shot is taken.
Currently, the application limits the rear camera to 5 MP, and it detects up to 4 people. However, this is still far better than most standard front cameras–barring the Oppo N1, of course. Smart Selfie should work on almost every device running Froyo or later and with CPU faster than 800 MHz.
Are you a selfie enthusiast? If yes, don’t hesitate to visit the Smart Selfie application thread and let the app take your best photo ever.
July 22, 2014 By: Faiz Malkani
Android clipboard management has always been impractical without the use of third-party apps. Want to put two items in the clipboard? Not possible. Want to view your clipboard? Not possible. However, in terms of third-party apps, XDA Forum Member theredsunrise has a unique solution to clipboard management in the form of StuffMerge.
StuffMerge adds an unobtrusive drawer off the side of your screen that you can easily swipe open and manage your Android clipboard, in addition to being able to compose a message and share it to other apps. It also adds a running notification to your status bar that allows you to toggle the drawer, as well as pause or unpause the app. StuffMerge also runs in the background, allowing you to easily send text to the clipboard without needing to directly engage with the app.
Head over to the StuffMerge application thread to get started. StuffMerge is free to download, but places a limit on the number of snippets that can be saved and even that can be lifted with an in-app purchase.
Having a wide choice of third party applications is one of the most beautiful things that Android has to offer. Almost every app has its alternative. So if you don’t like a particular offering, you can easily replace it with another–hopefully much better–alternative.
Naturally, the same thing applies to Internet browsers. Chrome or Firefox doesn’t necessarily have to be your default choice. Some lesser known projects maintained by one or a few developers are often better than big boys made by corporations. One of the smaller projects that is worth taking a quick look at is Pale Moon Browser. This browser was ported to Android by XDA Recognized Developer cyansmoker.
Pale Moon is fully open source, Firefox-based browser. It is focused on speed and efficiency. To that end, the developers take special care to add only crucial functions and keep the application as light as possible. Pale Moon has earned some fans on Windows and Linux already, and now Android users can enjoy this project because Cyansmoker delivered his source-built browser port.
The current build is considered an Alpha version. As such, the application is still at very early stage of development and may not work on every device. It likely depends of CPU architecture, so only certain devices should be able to run this browser successfully.
You can find more details and the download by heading over to the Pale Moon Browser application thread. Feel free to go there and give it a try.
July 21, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Google Maps is a must have application for every amateur world explorer. It’s fast, reliable, and saves us from getting lost on a daily basis. And with the addition of Street View, Maps has become one of the best and most widely used apps that Google has ever developed.
Even the greatest apps still have a room for improvement. XDA Forum Member markacme did something unusual and decided to combine Google Maps and Street View in a way that differs greatly from what Google offers. Markacme split the screen into two parts: The upper half shows the image from Street View, while the bottom shows the map. With this, the application is easy to navigate and can be used without touching the screen. This is possible because of volume rocker, which moves the camera forward or backward. If you enjoy visiting certain places repeatedly, you can always mark them as a favorite and browse through them later to watch the areas by yourself or show them to your friends.
The concept of this application is pretty fresh, and the application is easier to navigate than the default Google apps. Street Panorama is a great tool when you are planning to explore new places either on foot or while relaxing at home.
If you like the concept of this application, don’t hesitate to try it yourself. All you need to do is visit the Street Panorama app thread and give it a try.
Battery consumption is one of the weaker points on many modern Android devices. Smartphones need lots of juice to last more than a day on one charge, and they aren’t really optimized in terms of battery management. A few months back, we took a look at LeanData, a handy application that checks to see if your device needs a certain data connection and disables it when not needed. Disabling 4G, 3G, or WiFi helps to improve your battery life significantly.
After some major changes LeanData evolved into LeanDroid. XDA Senior Member Flyview implemented a long list of features that make LeanDroid a complex solution to battery drain. For starters, the app looks completely different now and offers a few new functions. It was also optimized to use less RAM and take as little internal storage as possible. The application was also translated to Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. A lot of bugs have been fixed as well.
Application should work with every Android version starting from Froyo onward. If you are using KitKat in versions 4.4.1 and 4.4.2, be sure not to swipe LeanDroid away from recent apps, otherwise it will be killed and do nothing. Give your battery a huge boost and try out this application on your device. You can find the newest version by visiting the LeanDroid application thread.
Imagine a situation where you are beating your opponent in a popular multiplayer game, and you receive one or more unwanted calls. One second later, your current progress is gone. This is obviously a rather unpleasant situation to all gamers. AOSP ROMs are not prepared for such multitasking handling, and thus open a new window with caller information. You then have pretty much no choice to decline a call without closing your current application.
The upcoming Android L release will bring a heads-up incoming call notifications, but we all have to wait a while before it’s officially released. If you don’t use one of the popular AOSP-based ROMs with this feature already enabled as your daily driver, you might be interested in an app by XDA Forum Member xsmile711. HandyCall is a smart tool that handles multitasking when an incoming call is received. The app shows a small popup window with multiple options, giving you an ability to answer, decline, or mute the call without exiting any application or game. The app offers two graphical styles, so you can decide which one fits your current system theme more.
HandyCall is the perfect solution for all active smartphone users who use their devices to play or watch videos frequently, but don’t wish for calls to get in the way. If you among them, make your way to the HandyCalls application thread to get the latest version.
If you’re someone who enjoys talking on the phone, even during a time when voice calls have long been usurped as the most used function of a phone, it’s most probable that you’ve received nasty surprises in the past in the form of phone bills. And if you also happen to be someone who’s on a tight budget and have realized that perhaps daily late night phone conversations should be cut down a bit, Callistics might help.
An app developed by XDA Forum Member johnyf, Callistics performs a number of functions aimed at helping you get your phone bill under control. It gathers statistics and information on your phone calls, SMS and your phone contacts and displays them in an intuitive and comprehensive, yet simple manner with graphs and pie charts. In addition to this, Callistics allows you to set limits on the length of calls and the number of outgoing text messages you make, as well as select contacts and numbers which you want to be excluded from the app’s features.
So if you feel like you need to reign in your late night phone calls and SMS conversations, you’ll want to check out Callistics. Head over to the Callistics application thread for more information and download.
July 18, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
In this crazy fast and modern world, we often need to supplement our memory by writing some notes. The classic paper and pen system is often not an option, especially now that this can be accomplished with our fingers and our Android devices.
Android is pretty bare without third party applications, but the Play Store is huge and contains dozens of great alternative to Google’s own apps. Quick Note is one alternatives to Google Keep that was presented by XDA Forum Member HeartBroken.
Quick Note, as its name suggests, is a notepad with a bunch of handy features. In addition to making simple notes that help you to remember basic things, the application has a very useful checklist mode. You can plan your whole day and mark things off that have been done, or make a shopping list of what you need to purchase at the store. The app even allows you to set reminders for certain notes.
If you are a flash-o-holic and change your ROM several times a day, you can backup your notes with a built-in option. You can also search for notes that were written previously. Quick Note is a great companion that transforms your smartphone into a personal and capable notebook.
If you’re looking for a good notepad application alternative to Google Keep, you can try Quick Note in the Quick Note application thread.
July 18, 2014 By: Faiz Malkani
Picture yourself performing a particular task on your phone or tablet, like reading an article or writing a note. Suddenly, you get a notification, for example a text from someone. Normal procedure dictates that you stop whatever you’re doing, exit the current app, launch the app that spawned the notification, handle it, exit that app, and finally return to what you were doing. As is evident by the amount of words it took to describe that sequence of actions, the whole process is rather cumbersome and time consuming.
However, every problem has a solution. And the solution to this particular problem comes in the form of Last App Switcher, developed by XDA Junior Member Abhishek verma. Last App Switcher adds a semi-transparent, unobtrusive floating button that persistently stays above all your apps and allows you to quickly switch between your current app and your last app. The app also promises snappy transitions and a low memory footprint to augment its already strong suite of features.
Head over to the Last App Switcher thread to get started. Last App Switcher is completely free and contains no ads or in-app purchases.
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.