You may recall that a little over a month ago, we first talked about SideCuts by XDA Forum Member Jawomo. SideCuts offered quite a different take on the traditional sidebar launcher, by allowing the user to define gestures that can be launched from predetermined areas. The app was later renamed SideControl, and at around that time, it gained better rich notification support, as well as the ability to open sidebar apps in a floating window when XDA Senior Member zst123‘s HaloFloatingWindow Xposed Module is installed. Now, SideControl has gained some new powers thanks to several new Xposed controls.
SideControl now packs all of the same functionality as previous versions including custom gestures, but it adds quite a bit more by way of Xposed. Rooted users with Xposed installed are able to use SideControl to kill all running apps, kill the foreground app, take screenshots, access the power menu, control their media player, and more. The app can even function as a replacement for the Android navigation keys, and features useful macros such as kill app + screen off, and back key + screen off.
It’s exciting to see all the progress that SideControl has made in such a short time. Head over to the application thread to get started with the latest version.
April 22, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
If there is one application category that certainly isn’t lacking in Android, and that’s third party web browsers. Looking through the Play Store, there are dozens upon dozens of browser options available for the platform. But if you’re looking for lightweight option, the list shrinks a bit. And if you’re after an open source alternative, you’re down to only a few choices.
Many of our readers will undoubtedly be familiar with the innovative Lucid Launcher. First launched back in January, this launcher set itself apart by rethinking what exactly a launcher should do. Thus, it packed in quite a bit of bonus functionality including a fully functional web browser. Now, XDA Senior Member powerpoint45 has released a very early version of a web browser based on Lucid Launcher’s browser.
Lucid Browser itself is fairly minimal, but this is by design. It is built to be lightweight, and at 935 KB, it certainly succeeds at that goal. It is also designed to be visually unobtrusive. And to that end, you’ll find a collapsible sidebar that houses your bookmarks, sharing options, and settings. But best of all, the app is open source, with all the relevant code available on GitHub. Thus, users can feel free to fork their own versions or submit pull requests for modifications.
If you’re looking for a lightweight and open source alternative browser, or if you wish to create your own browser using this as a base, make your way over to the application thread and give Lucid Browser a shot.
There are many, many ways to install a custom ROM nowadays. Although most of us currently do so by downloading (or building) an archive that is flashed through a custom recovery, there are many other ways to accomplish this same task. For example, you can manually flash the required images via Fastboot, or you can use a tool like Goo Manager to handle all the recovery commands for you. But you surely can’t flash a ROM from a text message, right? Wrong.
XDA Forum Member rootfan‘s new application SMS-Romer allows you to install official CM builds onto your rooted device via a simple text message. The app currently allows you to select between build types (nightly, stable, release candidate, or snapshot). In addition, you are also able to wipe dalvik, cache, or data in the installation process. Finally, you can install any particular gapps version.
Obviously for this to work, your device must also currently have or have had official CyanogenMod support in the past. But given the vast number of officially supported devices, this isn’t too difficult of a criteria to meet. And in addition to official CM, you need to have TWRP2+ installed on your device. This is because this app works by utilizing TWRP’s open source ORS like the TWRP Coordinator app we covered yesterday.
While we certainly still recommend at least keeping an eye on your phone while using this tool, SMS-Romer is a great little novelty trick for the crack flasher looking to be even more addicted. Head over to the application thread to get started.
April 21, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Back in October of last year, Google integrated SMS functionality into the Hangouts Android app. While many have found the added functionality to be quite convenient, it hasn’t been without its own set of issues.
Ignoring the obvious loss of yet another actively developed AOSP app in favor of a closed source offering, the Hangouts SMS integration always felt a bit incomplete. Part of this undoubtedly arises from how Hangouts has traditionally separated SMS and Hangouts conversations, even if they originated from the same sender. This has always lead to a disjoint feeling when transitioning from one messaging service to another–something that competitors like iMessage have already sorted out.
Now, Google has finally put and end to this, as the latest publicly available version of Hangouts (version 2.1) merges SMS and Hangouts conversations to/from the same recipient. When sending a new message, you’ll be able to select which service to send the message from with a flip of a switch. Message types will be easily discernible, as seen in the screenshot to your right, and you’ll be able to unmerge conversations at will.
In addition to the merged messaging, the new Hangouts app will simplify your contacts list into two main sections: people you Hangout with, and phone contacts. The new update also brings a quick widget to access recent conversations, as well as improved performance and reliability for video calls and SMS/MMS messages.
The new version is currently making its way out to consumer devices via a staged rollout. Because of this, not every device will receive the update in the first wave. Luckily, we’ve mirrored the APK over on our Dev-Host for those who want to get in on the action a bit early. You can check out the full list of added features by visiting the source link below. We can only imagine that quite a few of our readers have been looking forward to this for quite some time. I know I have. Leave us your thoughts in the comments section!
April 20, 2014 By: Samantha
With wearable technology taking center stage this year, one can only expect more active development to be seen in this area. This includes tighter integration of apps between wearables and our phones and tablets such as the Tasker extension for the Sony Smartwatch 2, a handy little app that allows you to control and operate Tasker straight from the watch on your wrist. Being a very useful and practical extension, XDA Senior Member Orbonis was inspired to develop something similar for the Samsung Galaxy Gear called TasGear.
Sharing many similarities with the Tasker Extension for the Sony Smartwatch 2, TasGear packs in quite a lot of features that Tasker users will no doubt find useful to have on their Galaxy Gear. These include:
Tasgear does not require the connected phone or tablet to be rooted in order to work, although your device has to be one of the select Samsung Galaxy devices which have Galaxy Gear support.
So if you’re interested in trying TasGear out, visit the application thread for more information.
April 20, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
There are plenty of ways to get your contacts to show up on your Android home screen. Stock Android offers a way to access individual contacts directly, and every OEM’s own skinned interface offers similar or enhanced functionality. But let’s face it–you don’t always want to interact with a predetermined set group of individuals. Sometimes, you need to talk to specific people to do things like return a missed call, and so on. XDA Forum Member swarly‘s new application CallWho helps you do exactly this.
CallWho is a configurable home screen widget that displays a sorted list of who you probably want to call at any given time. This hierarchical list is based on favorite contacts. But unlike practically every other contacts widget available, this one dynamically displays the most relevant contacts first. For example, if you tend to call certain people at a particular time of day, CallWho will learn to display these contacts first. Also, if you have a missed call, CallWho will place the caller up at the top of the list.
The widget itself is resizable from a minimum of 2×2, and allows you to customize the displayed list size. You can also configure how you would like the widget to display (grid or stack), as well as what you want the widget to do once it’s clicked.
To get started with intelligent contact management, simply head over to the application thread and give CallWho a try.
April 20, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
You may recall that back when TWRP2 introduced a couple of years ago, it brought with it the open source Open Recovery System (ORS). With ORS, purpose-built applications are able to queue various recovery tasks from directly within Android itself.
ORS eventually lead to the creation of various interesting applications such as the previously covered TWRP Manager. But what if you wanted an application to control virtually all aspects of TWRP from within Android? Now with TWRP Coordinator XDA by Senior Member Samer Diab and Recognized Developer Helicopter88, you can do precisely that.
As its name suggests, TWRP Coordinator allows you to initiate basically any TWRP-related task you could possibly want. This includes installing and updating TWRP, rebooting to recovery, flashing ZIPs, creating / renaming / deleting / restoring backups, wiping data, performing a factory reset, wiping specific partitions, fixing permissions, and much more.
With such a powerful application, you’d be right to want to prevent unauthorized use. Luckily, TWRP Coordinator offers both password protection and the ability to hide it from your launcher app. If you either lose your password or wish to launch the app after it’s been hidden, simply dial *#8977# into your phone dialer.
Naturally, you need to both be rooted and have TWRP (both official or unofficial) recovery installed on your device. As mentioned earlier, the application can install TWRP for you, but this naturally only applies to devices with official TWRP support.
You can get started by visiting the application thread.
April 20, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Regardless of their OS choice, computing power users generally share one common thread: They all like to know what their computing devices are doing at any given time. Because of this, there are plenty of event logger options on practically every platform. Android is no exception.
We’ve talked about taking a logcat quite a few times in the past, with the intention of helping you help your developers in the debugging process, but these were never meant to be convenient or easily readable by end users. What about an end user-readable option that tells you in simple language what your device is up to? Now thanks to Event Logger by XDA Recognized Developer pedja1, such an option exists.
Event Logger, as its name implies, keeps track of what your device does at any given time and displays it in a very simple and understandable format. Currently, the tool can keep tabs on your WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, charging status, location, display power, screen lock state, received SMS messages, application launches, call events, headphone events, media scanner events, time settings, airplane mode, battery level, wallpaper, volume, and when you restart or power off your phone. Those running Xposed Framework can also keep track of media playback events. In the future, various other events will be added such as NFC state, HDMI state, application installation and removal, mobile network state, and SD card state. Furthermore, event filtering will be added some time in the future.
If you’ve been looking for a simple and user friendly logging option for Android, Event Logger is a great solution. Head over to the application thread to give it a try.
April 20, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
You may recall that a few weeks ago, we talked about a rather interesting take on everyone’s favorite number game addiction, 2048. But while the previously covered version offered great game play thanks to its selectable grid sizes, it was admittedly a bit lacking on the UI front. Now, XDA Senior Member sylsau has published his own take on the number-based puzzler, offering quite a bit of polish that is lacking in most of the other 2048 variants available.
Sylsau’s 2048 Puzzle plays much like any other 2048 variant. You’re presented with a 4×4 grid, and your goal is to combine the numbers into a 2048 tile. But unlike other 2048 variants, you are given a few tools to keep the game exciting time after time. For starters, the game keeps track of how long it takes you to win. It also keeps track of all sorts of stats for its achievements system. Thanks to its use of Google Play Games leaderboards, you can show all your friends who’s truly best. And if you find the game a bit too difficult, it even gives you the ability to cheat a few times by removing certain tile types. Finally, the game’s UI is both clean and quite smooth on practically any hardware.
If you’re looking for an aesthetically appealing 2048 variant that will keep you playing in order to beat all of your friends, this 2048 version is for you. Make your way over to the game thread to get started. Just don’t blame me when you’re addicted.
April 19, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
You may recall that we’ve talked about XDA Recognized Contributor ricky310711‘s Samsung Tool a couple of times throughout the app’s lifespan. For those who don’t remember the name, this simple tool allows users to perform several simple but handy tasks such as backing up and restoring EFS, hot rebooting for a quick refresh, and full rebooting to recovery, download mode, or the Android OS.
Now, Samsung Tool has received a rather significant update to version 5. Chief among the new features is universal support for any Samsung device, as long as BusyBox is installed thanks to its new automatic block detection. In addition, v5 also brings md5sum checking for backups and restores for better flashing safety, improved logging, and an improved device properties menu. There is also native support for three new devices, which can be used without BusyBox.
To get started, simply head over to the original thread and store your EFS safe and sound.
April 19, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
You may recall that back in August of last year, we talked about Android Control Center by XDA Senior Member Dr.Alexander_Breen. For those who have forgotten, Android Control Center gave Android users something quite similar to iOS 7′s Control Center, but with an Android-centric spin. But in the time since then, Android Control Center has been renamed to Quick Control Panel, and it was essentially rewritten in the process.
Just like before, Quick Control Panel is conceptually similar to iOS 7′s Control Center. Accordingly, it still allows you to switch various settings on the fly such as power toggles and music playback control–all of which is done with an Android-friendly Holo UI look. Now, however, the application has gained many more functions such as the ability to launch from the lock screen, even more customization, and quick access to the related settings page by long-pressing the toggles. Finally, while the old application was nothing painful to look at, the new revision is even nicer looking, as it features both a Holo UI-like color scheme, along with a cards-style control interface.
As was the case with the previous version, Quick Control Panel is available in both premium and lite/free versions. However, the developer has been kind enough to include the full version for free in his thread. However, if you find yourself loving the app, be sure to support the dev with either a donation or by purchasing the paid version. Head over to the application thread to get started.
Creating a custom Android theme from scratch can be quite the laborious task. In addition to designing, creating, and editing all the elements yourself, a testing phase is also essential to make sure that your theme is bug-free and working as it should. And unless you’re an absolute master at theming, chances are that you’ll need to rely on community feedback or an Android emulator in order to polish out those bugs.
XDA Forum Member steel89 offers an alternative approach to testing your custom themes. The solution comes in the form of an app called Theme Debugger. As its name suggests, the main function of this app is to expose any hidden bugs and other visual issues that may be present in your theme. It does this by presenting all the theme-able elements of the Android interface, ranging from buttons, radio and check buttons, to alert dialogs, toasts and notifications. Everything is then put in one place for you to test.
The app presents all the theme-able elements in a smooth and logical UI, with horizontally scrolling panels so you can quickly check for any visual discrepancies. And if you want to test another theme, you can do so at the navigation drawer which slides out from the left of the screen.
Both rookie and experienced themers alike will definitely find Theme Debugger to be a very useful app to have in their theming toolbox. If you would like to give this a go, visit the application thread for more information and download.
April 17, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Our smartphones are our lives. They store our contacts, emails, texts, bookmarks, and many other pieces of important information. So when your friend asks, “Hey my batteries dead can I use your phone,” you may constantly hover over them to make sure they don’t access your private data. There has to be a better way
XDA Forum Member appmobileplus offers up an application that allows you to lock others out of certain apps with a PIN. In this video, XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews Lockdown Pro. TK shows off the application, its uses, and functionality. He then shares his thoughts, so check out this app review.