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.
April 16, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Earlier today, we talked about how Google brought two new apps to the Google Play Store. As welcome of an addition as these apps were, we were perhaps a bit too hasty in suggesting that today was not quite another Google Update Wednesday. Now, Google has issued a rather significant update to its YouTube app from version 5.5 to 5.6.
So what’s new in version 5.6.31? Google Chromecast owners are now given the option to cast live videos directly from the Android app. Some of you may recall that this feature was recently added to the desktop website. But now with version 5.6, it’s available via mobile as well. There don’t the seem to be any other changes in 5.6 that we can see at this time, and Google has not yet updated “What’s New” section of the Play Store listing, but it is entirely possible that there are a few other, minor tweaks that made their way into 5.6
You can head over to the Google Play Store listing to get started. But since this update is rolling out in stages, those looking to get in on the update a bit early by way of sideloading should head over to our DevHost mirror.
[Many thanks to XDA Forum Member kautionwirez for the tip and APK!]
April 16, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It’s become quite common for Google to update many of its first party Android apps on Wednesdays. While today isn’t exactly a large-scale Update Wednesday like we’ve seen in the past, Google has just launched a couple of extremely tasty treats for Android users everywhere.
First, we have Chrome Remote Desktop for Mobile. For those who may recall, Google launched Chrome Remote Desktop a few years ago for its desktop browsers. This allows users who have the appropriate web store app installed to access their primary computers from anywhere in the world, all courtesy of the Google Cloud.
Bringing Chrome Remote Desktop support to mobile has been in the works for quite some time now, and today Google has officially released it into the wild. In order to get it working on your own device, install the web store app. Then, simply login from the Android app, select the computer you wish to access, and you should be good to go.
Next up, we have Google Camera. Though technically not an entirely new app, this is the first time that the Google Camera app has been available in the Play Store. And surprisingly, the app is available to install on all smartphones and tablets running Android 4.4 KitKat—not just Nexus and Google Play edition devices.
In addition to the new distribution method, today’s update packs quite a bit of added functionality. For starters, Google Camera version 2.1.037 can simulate depth-of-field blur (i.e. bokeh) on all devices. In addition, Google Camera now also allows users to “change focus” after a shot has been taken.
Both of these features are similar to what the HTC One M8 offers with the Duo Camera System, but with a few differences. The HTC Duo Camera System, which had its APIs released earlier today, generates depth data through the use of two cameras. Google’s solution instead uses software to pick out visual features by using Structure-from-Motion and bundle adjustment algorithms. Then, Multi-View Stereo algorithms compute the depth data for each pixel. Finally, this depth mask is used to simulate the large-lens, shallow depth-of-field look typically seen in DSLR cameras. And for those wondering, depth data and this bokeh effect are applied at differing levels based on subject distance, as to more accurately simulate the optic effect. In addition to the new features, today’s update also brings a nice UI revamp, higher resolution panorama mode, and an icon to indicate that you must shift to landscape orientation when taking a video.
To get started, simply head over to the Google Play Store listings for the Google Camera app update and Chrome Remote Desktop for Android. You can also learn more by visiting the official Chrome Remote Desktop for Mobile and Google Camera blog posts. And for those living in regions without Play Store access, we’ve gone ahead and mirrored the APKs on our DevHost account:
What do you think of these new apps? Give them a download, play around with them, and then let us know in the comments below!
Do you ever like to make sure that certain device settings are enabled prior to entering a particular application? If you’re constantly streaming videos for example, it’s highly likely that you’re going to want to make sure that WiFi is enabled and your screen brightness is set high enough. What about when you open a mobile office suite? You probably don’t need WiFi to be enabled, but you’ll probably want to turn on Bluetooth to connect your external keyboard and/or mouse and you may even want to disable your screen timeout.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were an application that could automate your system settings for more easily than creating profiles in an app like Tasker? Now, thanks to App Config by XDA Forum Member aaro, you can easily define various system settings on a per-app basis.
The aptly titled App Config app does exactly as its name suggests and lets you configure settings on a per-app basis. When you first launch the app, you are greeted by a list of all currently installed applications. Clicking on any app then takes you to a menu where you can modify various system settings. There, you are allowed to change your screen’s brightness and orientation, sleep timeout, and you can toggle mobile data, WiFi, and Bluetooth. The app also creates a persistent notification, which when clicked, launches the configuration page for your currently running app.
App Config is an immensely useful app, which would be well at home in any power user’s arsenal. Head over to the application thread to get started.
April 16, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Listen, don’t cheat in your games. So don’t use the information you are about to learn to win by cheating. Winners never cheat, and cheaters never lose. But in a purely academic exercise, XDA Developer TV Producer AdamOutler shows you how one would cheat at a game so that you can detect someone who is cheating and report them to the proper authorities.
In this video, Adam demonstrates two easy methods of hacking an Android App. He demonstrates this using his own app Spider Squisher Pro Extreme. The methods covered are Input Tap Events and Memory Editing. Both require very little skill to master but are hacks nonetheless. So if you wanted to be a simple game hacker check out this video.
Please note that although the website mentioned in the tutorial video can be used for illicit purposes such as piracy, XDA-Developers in no way advocates such usage. This site was used merely for demonstration purposes.
April 15, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
You may recall that back in August of last year, we took a look at Air Swiper by XDA Senior Member helmanss. Air Swiper was rather innovative because it allowed users to control their devices by simply waving their hands. These gestures could then be used to do things like send text messages, unlock or lock your device, connect to wireless networks, and much more.
Now, helmanss has created another, somewhat related application called Smart Pocket Guard that also makes use of your device’s proximity sensor, albeit for a much different purpose. Rather than launching predefined tasks, Smart Pocket Guard uses your device’s sensors to prevent unintended device operation while your device is stowed away in your pocket or bag. Naturally, you could always set up a lock screen, but for many, this is simply too inconvenient to be practical.
Smart Pocket Guard works by using your device’s proximity sensor to detect whether or not your phone is in your pocket. If your device is accidentally turned on and something (presumably your pocket lining) is pressed up against the display, Smart Pocket Guard will turn your device off after a few seconds. Additionally, the app offers an experimental setting that uses the device’s accelerometer instead of the proximity sensor to detect if it is in a pocket. However, I was unable to get that particular feature working on my stock Nexus 5.
If you don’t like using a lock screen but want to avoid those embarrassing butt texts and calls, Smart Pocket Guard is definitely worth looking into. It’s still a very new app, so there are bound to be a few bugs here and there, but it shows promise. You can learn more by visiting the application thread.
April 14, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Notifications are handled through various methods on different platforms. Since the earliest Android versions, notifications have been available in the notification bar and sometimes as pop-ups. OEMs also implement different methods of showing them. For example, Motorola uses the Active Display on the Moto X, which basically replaces the notification LED.
Yesterday we talked about AcDisplay, which brings ActiveDisplay-like functionality to all KitKat-based devices. A similar concept was presented quite some time ago by XDA Senior Member TpmKranz as the NotifyMe! project. Now, a year after its initial release, XDA Senior Member anandbibek has taken over the project and released a new version with many improvements.
Notify Me! is a lockscreen notification app that allows you to see your favorite apps’ notifications directly on your lockscreen. It has per-app settings, so every application can be configured independently. And the latest version brings some new features like pocket mode, which allows you to check your notifications right after removing your device from your pocket or purse. You can then double tap the slider to expand or shrink notifications.
You can find the new, updated version by visiting the application thread.
April 13, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Under Google’s influence, Motorola did a great job with their recent devices. Both the Moto X and Moto G are great options in their respective price points. The Moto X has no notification LED, so they developed Active Display to bring the notifications to the OLED panel. This feature then found itself ported to some well known ROMs like Chameleon OS and OmniROM. There are also applications available that ran with the idea and made it even better.
Back in February, we talked about AcDisplay by XDA Recognized Developer AChep. Since then, the project changed a lot (mostly due to Motorola’s interference) and a few new features was introduced. The list of improvements includes the ability to set a wallpaper rather than just a solid black background. There are also some minor fixes, updated translations, and compatibility with Xposed Framework. Also, users will no longer receive notifications from Android when entering KitKat Immersive Mode while using AcDisplay.
The application is distributed in two ways. The stable branch is available in Play Store, and the beta is hosted here on XDA. If you want to try out some active notifications on your KitKat-powered device, you should consider visiting the application thread and giving a new version of AcDisplay a shot.
April 13, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Back in October of last year, Google added SMS capabilities to their first party Hangouts app. But try as Google might, not everyone is crazy about this one-size-fits-all messaging solution. Instead, many still cling to the old AOSP messaging app, or any number of aftermarket alternatives, for their texting needs.
Although not everyone’s a fan of using Hangouts for SMS and MMS, it’s hard to argue with the merits of its UI. Hangouts is clean and streamlined—and thanks to its slide-out conversations menu, it’s also quite efficient. Looking to combine the old AOSP-derived CM10 messaging app with the nicer UI stylings of the Hangouts app, XDA Senior Member matt_stang created Sliding SMS.
Sliding SMS, which is compatible with ICS and above, features sliding conversations, pop-up replies, quick reply and mark as read from the notification shade, contact avatars, and dark/light themes. The app even supports emoji and custom messaging colors.
If you’re looking for a new take on an old classic, head over to the application thread to get started.
You may recall that a few years ago, we took a quick look at Chainfire3D. For those who don’t remember, Chainfire3D allowed users to tweak various aspects of the 3D rendering pathway such as texture size and quality. The app also allowed users to load games meant for other devices thanks to its plugin system.
Unfortunately due to massive changes in the rendering pathway used in Android 3.0 and above, Chainfire3D can no longer be used on modern devices. Luckily, there is one option out there that brings much of Chainfire3D’s functionality, as well as a few new tricks.
GLTools by XDA Forum Member n0n3m4 (and posted to the forums by Recognized Contributor Hammer_Of_The_Gods) allows users to control many aspects of their 3D rendering pipeline on a per-app and system-wide basis. The app allows users to change any app’s rendering resolution, bit depth, texture compression, and so on. It also allows you to optimize shaders on the fly and enable anti-aliasing for increased quality.
With GLTools, you can even fake various reported GL flags such as GL_VENDOR in order to play games not intended for your device. But unlike what was possible through plugins using Chainfire3D, this app doesn’t actually add any additional proprietary extensions. Rather, it can only change the reported hardware capabilities. That said, there are many games that arbitrarily limit which devices can access what features, so this ability can certainly come in handy.
If you’re looking to tweak the 3D rendering pipeline on your rooted Android device, head over to the application thread and give GLTools a go!
April 12, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
As much as I hate to admit it, I spend far too much time on social networking sites. Be it updating my own status, browsing through my feeds, or
stalking checking up on old friends, there’s quite a lot to do when browsing G+, Facebook, Twitter, and the like.
Unfortunately, these social networking sites are essentially instant death to any kind of productivity. With this in mind, XDA Senior Member mohamedrashad created an app specifically designed to track the amount of time we waste when browsing various social networks.
Socials Addict currently tracks your usage of Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Tumblr, and Instagram. You can enable and disable tracking without uninstalling and reinstalling the app. And for the ultimate in irony, the app even allows you to share your addiction data on your social networks using the Android Share Intent.
So if you find yourself wasting too much time on social networking sites, and/or you wish to show off your addiction, head over to the application thread and give Socials Addict a try!
While the Nokia X isn’t exactly the lust-inducing, flagship-caliber device that we were all hoping for from the Finnish OEM’s entrance into the Android world, the device and its software are still rather intriguing.
In addition to making the Nokia X more functional by shoehorning external development onto the device, we’ve also seen porting efforts to bring some of the Nokia X’s software to other devices. This began with porting the Nokia Store to other devices, and we later saw the Nokia X ROM running on the HTC HD2… well, sort of. Now thanks to the efforts of XDA Senior Member xperiaz2, you can enjoy the Nokia X’s camera software on nearly any device running Jelly Bean or later.
As you can see in the screenshots to your right, the Nokia X camera software has some pretty nifty settings. These include ISO sensitivity control, the ability to display a live intensity histogram, configurable noise detection, redeye reduction, anti-banding, and more. All’s not perfect with the camera app, however, as the resultant pictures are stored with very high compression. Additionally, the port seems to have mixed results when running on other devices. For example, some have stated that while the actual camera functionality works fine, it causes a Gallery force close after recording a video.
If you want a taste of the Nokia X camera experience on your own device, head over to the ported app thread and give this a go.
Update: It seems as if XDA Senior Member opssemnik has ported an even more functional version of the Nokia X camera to all 4.1+ devices. This version fixes many of the force closes that were encountered in the version above.
Smartphones are undoubtedly the most “personal” of our personal computers. We use them to access our Email, banking information, and pretty much the rest of our private data. Luckily, there are quite a few file locker applications available to help keep prying eyes away from our Gmail. However, things get a bit trickier if you’re looking to hide files that reside on your device’s storage.
Sure, you can easily encrypt your internal storage through Android’s security settings menu, but what about your external storage? And what about those who want to let others casually access their devices but don’t want their tech savvy friends viewing their naughty selfies? Luckily, XDA Senior Member Doplgangr offers up a great app to encrypt files of your choosing.
Secrecy, as its name implies, allows you to hide and encrypt various files of your choosing. These can be pictures, videos, or any other file type. And unlike many other available options, Secrecy actually encrypts the files in question, rather than simply storing them as raw data in a hidden location.
Now there is one caveat here, and it’s a big one. While this application states that every file is encrypted with AES256, it is not open source. Thus, you can never truly be sure how securely your files are being stored. But for the casual user simply looking to make certain files inaccessible when a device is mounted to a PC, Secrecy certainly does the trick.
If you’re looking for a simple and user-friendly way of hiding your files, head over to the application thread and give Secrecy a shot.