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.
September 11, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
In this fast paced, gotta have it now world, sometimes a thought pops into your mind and before you can get to your note taking app on your Android device you get sidetracked from all your notifications. What you need to more room in your schedule. If that is not possible you need a way to create notes with your voice.
XDA Forum Member ohcrapitstim offers up a simple application that gives you the ability to give voice commands to leave a note to yourself. In this video, XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews Narrate. TK shows off the application and shares his thoughts, so check out this app review.
September 10, 2014 By: Faiz Malkani
When Google launched Hangouts last year, it was marketed as a messaging and a video calling service, which allowed you to quickly send a message anywhere in the world or start a group video call at no cost. The service caught on quickly, complemented by its ease of use and the growth of Google+. And since then, it has accumulated a large user base as it stands. Over time, it went on to integrate SMS functionality as well, a step closer to the unification of all of the company’s communication services.
Earlier today, Google announced Hangouts v2.3, which takes the service even closer to the goal of unification by integrating free voice calls. The calls work over the Internet using VoIP, and will be available on Android, iOS, and the Web. The calls integration is complemented by the addition of a dedicated dialer app.
In terms of its user interface, Hangouts has received a large makeover, opting for a colored Action Bar and a traditional tab-based layout to replace its earlier monotone look accompanied by an unorthodox panel. The swipe actions are gone, replaced by traditional long presses and the navigation drawer makes an appearance for account switching. All in all, 2.3 is a rather refreshing redesign.
As always, the new version is currently being delivered via a staged rollout and may not be available on the Play Store for you just yet. However, we’ve gone ahead and mirrored the APK right here so that you can install it manually if waiting isn’t your thing.
Android L is shaping up to be one of the most important releases of Google’s ever so popular mobile OS. Many components have been rewritten, and the OS has gone 64-bit. Some system applications designed specifically for the latest developer preview version of Android L also work on previous versions, but the majority of them need to be ported. You can get some from the system dump that we talked about a few weeks ago.
The recently announced Material Design UI paradigm changes the look and feel of the OS greatly, and many design elements have to be rewritten from scratch. One of elements that was totally reworked is the lock screen. The one available in Android L is totally different from the lock screens that were used in Jelly Bean or KitKat. If you haven’t had a chance to try it out yet, you can now do so, since XDA Senior Member xsmile711 has prepared the lock screen application to every version of Android greater than Ice Cream Sandwich.
The application is feature packed and allows you to change many settings and therefore make your system almost Android L-like. This app is in beta stage, so some bugs may occur. One of the most significant is a high amount of RAM consumption, but xsmile711 is already working to fix this issue.
Don’t wait for Android L to be finally released and then ported to your device; try its lock screen now! You can get the application from the Android L ported Lock Screen thread.
There is a long list of music player or media player applications available for Android. While most of them look pretty much the same as all the rest, some others offer a so called “premium touch” through the use of an equalizer, visualizer, or support for certain more obscure file types. Unfortunately, most of these applications are paid only, so you are forced to use some free alternatives if you don’t want to part with your hard earned cash.
Among the free music players, you can often find the occasional gem. One of them, Laisim Silver Music Player by XDA Forum Member rauma, was recently released to the public. The player contains most of the features known from other popular players like PowerAmp, PlayerPro etc., but it is available free of charge and doesn’t have any annoying ads. The application plays FLAC files without any issues, has a built-in equalizer, and even a tag editor. As the metaphorical cherry on top, it can download the lyrics of your currently playing song, and much more. How cool is that?
Laisim Silver Music Player will work on every version of Android starting with Ice Cream Sandwich. If you are stuck at Gingerbread, there is a version available that should work with this version of OS.
It’s good to see developers releasing their work without fee or ads. This reminds us all how the Android community should be like. Laisim Silver Music Player is one free, yet very good application. You can get it by visiting the Laisim Silver application thread.
September 9, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Over the past several years, social networks have quickly become a part of our lives. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ are the biggest examples of the social networks that we see across the Web. No matter the type or our language of choice, we use them everyday to communicate with our friends or simply to catch up with all the news.
Almost every social media site has its own Android application. They look different, but there are a few things in common. They often are very big, bloated, and use lots of device resources. One of examples is Facebook, whose mobile version is a battery hog and requires a fast device to work decently. However, the web version is much faster and works like a charm even on older devices. XDA Senior Member cixty decided to combine WebView with an application, and this is how Facebook Browser was born. This application is a simple browser that gives instant access to your Facebook account. This application doesn’t require other browsers to work.
There are two versions of the application. One with an action bar, and second without. If your device has softkeys only, the version with action bar should be your choice.
Are you tired of slow Facebook application? Does it use too many permissions and does it drain your battery? Try a lightweight alternative by visiting the Facebook Browser application thread.
September 8, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Music knows no boundaries. How many times have you wanted to share your music with your friends but faced some kind of issue or inconvenience? I bet that this has happened more than a few times. Unfortunately, playing music out loud in public places isn’t always the best idea, and is often considered tasteless.
There are other solutions to share your hits without driving people bananas. One of them is MediaBowl, an interesting application written by XDA Forum Member lrangasw68. MediaBowl is a media streamer that plays media files on every Android client within the range of a specified WiFi network. The application can be used as a host to share your music, or as a client to play the files shared by others. Music is not the only content that can be streamed. The application works nicely with movies and pictures as well. It can even stream and play the music at the same time!
MediaBowl can be used at every phone and tablet that has a working client of the app, reducing the need for high volume. Usage is very easy. Just select the content you wish to share and click on the icon on the bottom of the screen. The application will do the rest. Every MediaBowl user on the specified WiFi network will be able to find your stream and join the party.
Don’t struggle to share your movies and music while out and about. Head over to the MediaBowl application thread to give it a shot!
September 6, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Wireless Internet Access Points, also known as mobile hotspots, are getting more popular every day. That said, they are still in areas where Internet access is considered a luxury. When you are traveling a lot, you’d likely want to inform your family of your status and whereabouts, and hotspots often are your only choice. As we all know, international phone calls, SMS messages when abroad, and mobile data are very expensive, so they often are not an option if you don’t want to pay a fortune.
Some of us make a quick call and quickly disconnect after hearing the first ring tone. This can be used as code stating that we are okay or maybe to expect a call. It’s a fast and free way to send a short message. XDA Forum Member ringlabs came up with the interesting idea of using ring tones to send predefined messages, free of charge and fast. Ringtext uses XMPP protocol or phone calls to send free messages. The recipient gets a call and a short message in the client. You can add up to 100 messages. Such a number should be enough to prepare yourself for almost every situation.
All calls are absolutely free of charges. It’s a perfect solution for kids without mobile data, backpackers without data coverage, as well as international business travelers seeking to avoid roaming costs.
Don’t pay too much for simple phone calls and SMS messages. Get ringtext and talk with your friends and family for free, without the Internet, fast and simple. Get it from the Ringtext application thread.
September 5, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Unlike other platforms, Android devices often times give you the freedom of installing other operating systems. The Linux kernel is the source of this great freedom, so it’s not uncommon to see projects like webOS, LuneOS or Ubuntu Touch ported to Android devices without bigger problems.
The last of the aforementioned OSes is definitely not least. Ubuntu Touch has a growing and thriving user base. It’s relatively popular, which can be illustrated by the number of official and unofficial ports for multiple devices. If you have it installed on your device and want browse the XDA with your Ubuntu-powered phone, XDA Recognized Contributor nikwen gives you a great opportunity to do it without using your browser, just like on Android, iOS or Windows Phone. Forum Browser is a modified application originally created by Michael Hall, known as XDA Forum Member mhall119, who gave us a few instructions on Ubuntu Touch development at XDA:DevCon 2013.
In the current form, the application allows you to perform the following tasks:
Forum Browser can be used to participate in other forums, just like Tapatalk or Forum Runner. In fact, it uses the Tapatalk API, just like the official XDA Application. If you want to make this project even better and add your contribution to the growing Ubuntu Touch community, you can add your commits to the project, since it’s fully open-sourced.
If you decided to leave Android and give Ubuntu Touch a try, you can browse the XDA forums with Forum Browser. Learn more about how to get it by visiting the Forum Browser application thread.
[Thanks to XDA OEM Relation Manager jerdog for the tip!]
From its humble beginnings back in April of this year to its more recent and feature packed updates since, we’ve talked quite a bit about XDA Senior Member luciferabby‘s creation Dial’em All. For those who don’t remember, the premise of the app is simple: Instead of manually scrolling through your app drawer or endless home screens to find that certain app you’re looking for, you open the T9-enabled app dialer and search for the desired app in a manner similar to Spotlight on Mac OS X or Launchy and Start Button Search on Windows.
As time went on, the app eventually incorporated quite a bit of added functionality such as the ability to search your entire phone and even dial and communicate with phone contacts–in addition to the core app dialing functionality. Now, Dial’em All has been given another major update, and this time, it’s in the form of a major visual makeover to Android L-inspired Material Design goodness. The latest update brings us to version 6.0.1, and in addition to the Android L-inspired design, you’re now able to send messages to contacts, and the overall performance has been improved.0
If you’re a veteran Dial’em All user or you’re just now finding out about this great replacement dialer, it’s as good of a time as ever to head over to the Dial’em All app thread and give it a shot.
September 4, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Another Wednesday has come, and in most parts of the world gone. As is more often than not the case, the day was marked with a few Google first party Android app updates. Today’s updates come in the form of a massive visual makeover for Chrome (Stable), bringing it to major version parity with July’s Chrome Beta update, as well as a minor update for Google Camera.
Although today’s updates aren’t too numerous, they’re still certainly exciting. Starting off today’s updates, we have Chrome Stable 37.0.2062.117. Similar to the beta channel update we saw a little over a month ago, today’s update to Chrome (stable) 37 brings us the Material Design UI elements and feel that we now know and love. This consists of that new start page, cleaner iconography, improved spacing, and more.
In addition to the rather significant update to Chrome stable, we also have a minor bugfix update to Google Camera, bringing us to version 2.3.020 (up from 2.3.017 about two months ago). As one would expect from such a minor version number bump, there’s not much in the way of changed features. However, it can reasonably be assumed that there are some under-the-hood bugfixes in there somewhere.
Both of these app updates will make their way out to consumer devices through the Play Store via a staged rollout. Naturally, not every device will be in initial wave. However, we’ve gone ahead and mirrored the APKs over on our Google Drive for your sideloading pleasure:
[Many thanks to XDA Portal Supporter MihirGosai for the heads up!]
Sometimes, the simplest of games are the ones that end up being the most addictive and end up consuming inordinately large chunks of our time. This no doubt holds true over and over again, with various simple yet addictive titles like Flappy Bird and its clones, as well as many others. Another classic style of game involves timing various input events to when they are displayed onscreen. This includes games like Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, and so on. XDA Forum Member IDSprofile created something similar with his recently released game Just Swipe.
Just Swipe divides the screen into two sections: a command area up top that lets you know what you have to do, and an input area on the bottom, where you swipe to enter your input. The top shows players a stream of directional instructions corresponding to up, down, left, and right, and upon receiving a command, players must then swipe up, down, left, or right on the bottom of the screen to match. Just Swipe also offers nice animations, a pleasing soundtrack, and leaderboard support to challenge and compete with your friends.
If you’re looking for a fun game to pass the time and challenge friends, you may want to give Just Swipe a try. Head over to the Just Swipe Game Thread to get started.
September 1, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It’s a very well established fact that cars are expensive. In addition to the hefty initial investment, there are all sorts of recurring expenses such as fuel, parking, insurance, service, and so on. And let’s not even get started talking about the world of additional expenses and speeding tickets once you start modifying your vehicle. Luckily, there’s now an app that helps you track and visualize just how much you’re spending on all of your vehicles so that you can figure out whether it’s all worth it.
Just as its name implies, Car Logbook by XDA Forum Member txdrive is a fully featured car log that keeps track of your fuel ups, mileage, and various expenses such as service, parking, tuning, and so on. It is then able to generate reports and notifications that let you know how much you’ve spent on your vehicles over time, as well as what makes up the bulk of your car expenses. The app supports multiple vehicles, and it even lets you create notifications that appear based on the car’s odometer or the date.
If you’re been looking for a very full featured car log that will help you better keep track of how much your car truly costs, head over to the Car Logbook app thread to get started. The developer has also published the app’s source code over on his GitHub account for all those wondering how he made the app or ideas on how to make it even better.