December 5, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Here at XDA, we like to make things easier in life with the use of technology. That’s why we’ve had numerous videos on automation. We’ve shown you how to use Tasker, Llama, WEMO switches, and more. However, sometimes you just want a simple and easy-to-use app.
XDA Forum Member UndeadCretin offers an easy-to-use macro automation app. In this video, XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews MacroDroid. TK shows off the application and gives his thoughts, so check out this app review.
December 5, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Just yesterday, we briefly touched upon a Google Search update that brought the ability to search within apps directly from within Google Search. This update, which is gradually being rolled out to end-user devices, has the potential to make Google Search significantly more powerful. Rather than having to open an application to search within the app, Google Search can now act more like global search.
Unfortunately, there are a few limitations with Google’s first party offering. First of all, there are only a few apps that are compatible with this new functionality. Some of the biggest partners so far include IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia, and a few others—though support can be added through the Content Provider API similar to what Senior Recognized Developer AdamOutler did not too long ago. The integration also still requires users to manually select the desired action from the Google Search results.
Luckily, XDA Senior Member MohammadAG came up with a solution to both of the above issues. The fix comes in the form of a third-party Google Search API that can be installed via XDA Recognized Developer rovo89‘s Xposed Framework. When installed, the API allows developers to create and run plugins that react to certain searches made in the Google Search app. A practical example demonstrating song lyrics functionality can be found on YouTube.
While MohammadAG’s API requires both Xposed Framework and this Xposed module to be installed, it also offers greater freedom and potential to interested app developers. End-users, as well as developers looking to integrate this functionality into their own apps, should head over to the module thread to get started.
December 4, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Google Search for Android is about to become significantly more powerful. And unlike some of the more recent additions to the app’s capabilities, this actually does not come in the form of new cards, Easter Eggs, or enhancements to the hidden Google Experience Launcher. Rather, a staged rollout beginning today will extend the power of Google Search to third-party applications.
Previously, in order to search for application-specific information, you’d first have to go to the application and look from there. Now, Google Search will be able to find information from within supported apps directly, without the need to first open an application. A good example of this would be looking up movie information in Google Search, and then immediately jumping into the context-relevant page in your IMDb app.
Additionally, Google Search will now be able to help you find “just the right app.” For example, if you search for “downhill ski apps,” it will show you mobile apps related to your search query. As stated by Google’s Scott Huffman, “This is just one step toward bringing apps and the web together, making it even easier to get the right information, regardless of where it’s located.”
What do you think of the new Google Search functionality? Are you excited about the upcoming integration, or are you a bit more leery of Google’s continuing efforts to wedge itself in every aspect of your life? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Not too long ago, we featured an innovative app aimed at helping you never miss urgent text messages by XDA Forum Member CurlyY. The previously covered TeXTe app helped boost productivity by making it a bit easier to stay in touch when necessary. Now the developer is back with an edutainment title aimed at helping you boost your productivity by honing your visual memory.
12sec is a visual working memory training game. The game works by first showing you a picture for 12 seconds (hence the title). Afterward, you are asked a series of questions about various details in the picture. There are two game modes: normal (unlimited time) and time attack. And to boost competitiveness, 12sec allows you to share your scores with your friends to find out who really has the best visual working memory.
Let’s face it: Edutainment titles generally fail to live up to their genre’s name. Often times, you end up with a game that’s either educational but not fun, or fun but not educational. And while 12sec is not exactly poised at becoming the next Angry Birds, it’s at least frustrating and enjoyable enough to make you want to keep playing. And the fact that you can challenge your friends… well, that’s the icing on the cake.
The game is officially compatible with Android 3.0 and higher, but it may also work with Gingerbread. Make your way over to the game thread to get started.
November 30, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
A little under a week ago, we covered the release of Xposed Framework 2.4 beta. For those just tuning in, 2.4 beta brought one very major change: support for Android 4.4 KitKat. Now just a few days later, XDA Recognized Developer rovo89 has taken 2.4 out of beta and into official circulation.
In addition to bringing official support for Android 4.4, Xposed 2.4 final also brings a few other improvements and bug fixes. Perhaps the most noticeable will be significantly improved framework performance. The UI also received a revamp, as there is now a debug log viewer and diagnostics to verify that Xposed is active and working.
It is important to note that even in version 2.4 final, Xposed is not compatible with the new ART compiler. And at this time, it is unclear if it will ever be made compatible, as it would require a major rewrite if it is even possible at all. So in order to prevent boot loops, the Xposed framework automatically resets you to Dalvik if you accidentally enable ART. And if you do wish to try ART, you will first have to disable the framework entirely.
November 30, 2013 By: eagleeyetom
The XDA Portal is a place where you can find some of the latest mobile development news. Our team spends hours searching for topics and letting you know about what’s going on here at XDA. This is why we are delighted to present an application to more easily access all of the Portal news on your Android device.
XDA Recognized Developer EatHeat wrote a handy application to read the news feed from the XDA Portal. This app is light, fast, and offers a lot of features such as loading an image and text in both the list and the detailed views, showing the 10 latest posts from the Portal, and the ability to swipe from within detail view to proceed to the next news item.
The unofficial XDA Reader app features the ubiquitous Holo UI, so the app’s visuals are top notch. The app can also be themed with one of four built-in themes, allowing you to change the look within seconds. Themes can even be previewed without restarting the application. With this app, reading the XDA Portal will be more enjoyable and you won’t miss anything important.
If you are looking for an application to read our work, make your way to the original thread and give XDA Reader a shot.
A device’s music player is one of the most important apps for almost everyone. This is because most of us love music and listen to it on various mobile devices and in various places. However, finding a good, free player is not an easy task. And finding a free and innovative player is almost impossible.
XDA Senior Member dakdroid came up with some interesting ideas and created an innovative player: Beat. The application uses floating controls similar to Facebook Chat Heads. Because of this, a small control panel is always visible, no matter which application is opened in the foreground.
The floating control panel is not its only unique function. In the era of cloud services, many of our songs are kept on Dropbox or Google Drive. Beat can stream the music directly from the above. Furthermore, not all free players have equalizers and visualizations. Beat has them, and allows you to select or create a preset to get the most out of your favorite music. The application uses Metro-styled tiles, which are fully customizable. Different list styles, colors, and sizes can also be selected.
Make your way to the application thread and give it a shot. Don’t forget to provide your feedback in the thread.
November 29, 2013 By: eagleeyetom
Android 4.4 has been quite a hot topic for the last four weeks. Many of you already have it on your devices in the form of an official update or unofficial port. It brought a lot of improvements, but also made few previous features unavailable. One of these was the ability for non-system applications to access battery statistics.
Previously, external applications were able to access battery statistics to show how much our applications and games affected battery life. Luckily, XDA Forum Member gsamtan wrote an Xposed module to restore this ability in aftermarket battery monitors.
According to the author, this module uses the Xposed framework to provide an alternate implementation of the com.android.server.am.BatteryStatsService.getStatistics() method, which doesn’t enforce that the calling application has the BATTERY_STATS permission. It sounds a bit tricky, but the installation process is very simple. Naturally, this requires both root access and for Xposed Framework to be installed. The module is safe and won’t do any harm to your device. And with it, you will be able to control your applications the old fashioned way.
If your favorite battery stats app stopped working after updating to KitKat, head over to the module thread and learn how to bring the functionality back.
November 29, 2013 By: eagleeyetom
Since the beginning of Android, hardware changes have been easy to notice. Quad- and octa-core devices are nothing unusual now, and RAM and storage capacities make phones as powerful as some traditional PCs in certain respects. Unfortunately, they all have one major weakness: battery life. Even the biggest batteries still last a day or two of intensive use on phones and maybe few days on tablets.
Aftermarket kernel improvements can save a bit more of battery, which is a good beginning. Luckily, XDA Senior Member onexuan wrote an application to optimize battery usage in many ways. OnePowerGuard Pro gives users a chance to conserve the battery in six predefined modes, which turn on or off selected services depending on day time, usage, or other personal preferences.
Onexuan states that his application tweaks the phone on kernel-level and optimizes many of factors that can cause battery drain for an overall reduction of 70-80%. Naturally, the app requires your phone or tablet to be rooted. It’s easy to say that something does wonders, but the best way to verify it is trying.
If your battery seems to let you down, you may want to give OnePowerGuard Pro a shot by visiting the application thread for additional details.
The tempo of life is incredibly fast nowadays. Having to keep pace and an overall lack of time are main reasons why people use news feed readers. Information needs to be extremely fast and reliable… fast like a jet.
Many of you browse various news sites to get information about politics, technology, and sports. Browsing when mobile, however, can become difficult when connection speeds are less than ideal and pages are relatively heavy. In these situations, a good old-fashioned RSS reader is still one of best way to get information. Luckily, there are quite a few Android apps designed to read your news feed. One of them, NewsJet, was recently made by XDA Forum Member nikanorov.
The main purpose of NewsJet is to serve you news feed from popular services like BazQux, Feedly, InoReader, and The Old Reader. To use NewsJet, you need to have an account on at least one of these services. The application simply retrieves data from the service and presents it in the nice and aesthetic way. It’s the perfect way to keep in touch with all the recent events, without using a PC or fast Internet connection.
If you are looking for solid and fast RSS reader, visit the application thread and give NewsJet a shot.
November 28, 2013 By: TK
Big events in life hold a strong meaning to us. And when we plan such events, we start counting the days and minutes.
You may remember XDA Senior Member MOST2K2‘s application APPoint. Now, he brings us another productivity tool—this time in the form of a simple, yet customizable countdown widget that can be placed on your home screens.
As stated by the developer:
A simple countdown widget to never miss an important meeting, birthday, vacation.
You can add more than one event at the same time of course!
This app is a great way to stay focused on upcoming events. The app itself is available in both lite and premium versions, and is compatible with Android 2.2 or higher.
If you’ve been looking for a simple, home screen countdown widget, make your way over to the application thread for more information and download links.
November 27, 2013 By: egzthunder1
Our devices have turned from the communicators they were meant to be a decade and a half ago into multimedia powerhouses capable of doing most of what we do with other gadgets and larger equipment. Of course, the all-in-one aspect and reduction in component size come at a cost (normally quality), but that is a topic for another discussion. For all practical purposes, our devices are powerful enough to do what we want to do without having to be stuck in a room or waiting for others to do stuff for us.
One thing that has truly grown on mobile devices over the last decade or so has been the camera. The sensors have been getting better and better, lenses have become not only more durable, but also enable us to take better pictures, and apps in general enable us to be more creative with how we do things. Today, we will talk about an app that enables you to do something with that gigantic stash of pictures in your SD card (no, not that stash…).
A photo mosaic is basically a picture, which is composed entirely of smaller pictures, arranged in such a manner that the eye perceives the formation as a different picture than the ones used to form it. The arrangement of pictures is something that is normally left for PCs, as it requires quite a bit of processing power to get something done efficiently, that will look half decent.
XDA Forum Member zagonico just released an app that enables you to perform this same task, but on your mobile device. Why is this good? Well, for starters, you no longer need a computer in order to create these. On top of that, it saves you a few minutes worth of transferring gigs of pictures into your computer’s HDD. Yes, you could connect the device to the PC via USB or even take out the card and plug it in the PC, but that hinders your overall speed due to data transfer rates via USB/card reader being considerably slower than those that come from reading off the internal drive. And last but not least, you can do it any time, any place. The app uses rather decent resolutions for the small pictures, so the resulting image looks quite nice. It also allows the use of grayscale and sepia effects for added creativity.
The dev has stated that he tried it on a LG L9 and a SGS2, both of which presented different completion times for the same project. In other words, your mileage may vary depending on your device’s hardware. Please take it for a spin and report your results in the thread so that others will know what to expect whenever they try this on their device(s). Also, feedback and bug reports are welcome.
You can find more information in the original thread.
Not too long ago, we talked a bit about dialers and how they have shaped a large chunk of what we do here at XDA. They are an integral part of our devices, and such, they need to cover all the basics: They need to be visually appealing, functional, and easy to use. There are a few alternative dialers out there in the Play Store, but many of them are so cumbersome and filled with options that they need built-in tutorials. A tutorial… for a dialer? One thing is to add functionality. Overloading it with options and making it borderline unusable is something entirely different. That said, the core of these apps remains the same, despite all the added “flair.” It is a matter of how to use this core function that makes all the difference.
Right now, we are going to take a step in the opposite direction and talk about Old School Rotary Dialer by XDA Forum Member sylsau. This app emulates the use of, yes you guessed it, an old rotary phone. The app has all the sounds you would expect from the old mechanized communicator, including the unforgettable taca-taca-taca-taca noise as the disk returns to its original position. Other commonly used functions are there and easily accessible, such as quick dial, save number, and all the core functions that you would expect on a dialer.
While this is not conceptually novel, it certainly does provide a decent, free alternative to other overly bloated dialers. The dev is simply looking for feedback, so if you are looking to drastically re-shape how you use your phone to call others and would like to lend a hand and offer your two cents/report bugs, now is your chance. Enjoy your trip down memory lane.
You can write more information in the original thread.