For those of you who have been on XDA since the early years, modding the dialer is something that has always been a bit of a habit. Windows Mobile was always a bit of a pain because in order to do any kind of modification to the dialer, one needed to know how to do a few things. Dialer replacements were not exactly abundant, and the biggest source of customization for this ever important part of the “phone” we carry was in fact theming. Now, most themers back then opened threads asking people to post their requests for custom designs. This worked nicely for a long time, but the model quickly grew “old,” as the core functionality and operation always remained the same—just with a slightly different look, even with new apps.
Fast forward to today’s XDA, and we jump into a world that… well… has not changed a whole lot from yesteryear. Android certainly offers more leeway and allows developers to do more within its confines. This basically means that the “how to” do things with dialers can be substantially changed around. This is fine and dandy, but what if we need to not use the dialer to call our favorite people? Normally, you go to your contacts widget and select from the list. Well, for those of you who are conscientious about screen real estate , there is yet a simpler developed by XDA Forum Member FanKryations.
Draw2Dial, as its name implies, allows you to call contacts using gestures. The app can be launched from virtually anywhere, as the activation area can be tweaked to your heart’s content. Once the specified area has been chosen, one can simply draw a number (speed dial) assigned to a specific contact. No more having to look at your screen in order to call people!
This app is still under development, and the dev is looking for feedback, suggestions, and ideas to improve it. Moreover, the dev is thinking about translating into different languages. So if you feel you can help with this, just drop him a quick line.
Drop by the original thread to give it a go and say good bye to the ol’ dialer.
November 14, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Android 4.4 KitKat is out. We all love the latest and greatest, but sometimes Google makes some sweeping assumptions that nit everyone cares for. One assumption would be that everyone wants to use Hangouts for SMS. The great thing about Android, especially at XDA, is that you can choose how you want to use your phone. If you don’t want to use Hangouts for SMS on KitKat, you shouldn’t have to.
XDA Senior Member bengtan.leducbao offers an old school SMS application for your KitKat device. In this video, XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews 8sms. TK shows off the application and gives his thoughts, so check out this app review.
November 13, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Google just released an update to its official Google Search Android app, and it’s a big one! At face value and on most devices, it brings a few nice features and new cards. However, the update packs a whole lot more, provided that you’re willing to install an additional APK to unlock it.
The advertized changes detailed on the official Android Google+ page state that there are three new cards: a website update card to bring you blog post updates, a news topic card to show you articles from around the web, and a what to watch card for movie and TV show recommendations. The update also brings Waze traffic incident data about your daily commute, repeatable reminders, rugby sports data, and in-store pickup package data. Furthermore, users not on KitKat also get to enjoy a slightly refreshed UI that brings in some of the buttons previously found only on the KitKat launcher’s Google Search page.
However, that’s only scratching the surface. The latest Search update also brings the previously covered Google Experience Launcher from KitKat to all devices. However, while the launcher code is now present within the Google Search app, an additional APK is still needed to access the launcher functionality. Luckily, the required GoogleHome.apk file is readily available. And now with the latest Google Search update, the launcher looks right at home with any device capable of running the latest version of Google Search (Android 4.1 and above).
Make your way over to the Google Play Store entry to make sure you are running the latest version of Google Search. And if you’re after the launcher as well, be sure to head over to the previously covered KitKat launcher thread or the APK at the bottom of this previous AndroidPolice post and install GoogleHome.apk. Obviously, for this to work, you need to be on the latest version of Google Search, which hasn’t rolled out to everyone yet. To make sure you are on the latest version, hit up the AndroidPolice via link.
Update: Apparently, even with the correct GoogleHome.apk and the latest version of search, some users are still not able to use the Google Experience launcher. Luckily, XDA Forum Member rwSN1PER was able to find a solution by copying the libgoogle_recognizer_jni_l.so file from this thread into the /system/lib directory. In his words:
In this thread http://forum.xda-developers.co… there is a zip file with apps pulled from the Nexus 5. If your device is rooted copy the libgoogle_recognizer_jni_l.so file in the lib folder located in the system directory, This fixed the problem on my Galaxy S4.
Along with the various user-facing features added in Android 4.4 KitKat, Google significantly bolstered the overall security of the platform with a number of key changes. Among other things, one of the key changes related to SELinux, which was previously introduced in Android 4.3. Android 4.4, however, shifted the SELinux status from Permissive to Enforce Mode.
To quote our security expert Pulser_G2 on the matter:
SELinux in Enforce Mode
In Android 4.4, SELinux has moved from running in permissive mode (which simply logs failures), into enforcing mode. SELinux, which was introduced in Android 4.3, is a mandatory access control system built into the Linux kernel, in order to help enforce the existing access control rights (i.e.permissions), and to attempt to prevent privilege escalation attacks (i.e. an app trying to gain root access on your device).
While this is largely a good thing for the general population, this security enhancement hasn’t been without its own share of issues. For example, it has broken some root-enabled applications such as the previously covered Ultimate Dynamic Navbar.
In order to allow users to easily toggle between SELinux modes, XDA Senior Member MrBIMC created the aptly titled SELinuxModeChanger app. The application (obviously) requires root access. Once given, the app allows you to toggle the SELinux status with but a single click. Once you’ve made your choice, a script will execute on boot to change the mode to what you have selected.
Naturally, the app only works on devices with SELinux. In other words, this is only meant for devices running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean or 4.4 KitKat. Of note, however, this does not yet work with Samsung KNOX-enabled devices. However, this is currently being worked on.
If you wish to easily change your SELinux mode and you’re not running a KNOX-enabled ROM, make your way over to the application thread and give this app a try.
November 13, 2013 By: Samantha
With the release of the Sony Xperia Z1 came the ‘new and improved’ camera app exclusive to the device. With a couple simple taps on the screen, you’ll be able to spawn in dinosaurs and erupting volcanoes in a boring office scene, search additional information on the book or a landmark you snapped, and stream live videos onto your Facebook profile.
It goes without saying, it’s a camera app that has definitely caught the attention of many smartphone users. Hence came the ports of the camera app to fellow 2013 Xperia devices, the Xperia ZR, Xperia ZL, Xperia Z, and Xperia Z Ultra, which finally allowed their users to see what things are really about. This was inevitable due to the similar internal architecture the Xperia Z series shares, which no doubt eased the porting process.
With this said, it’s time for owners of a couple more Xperia devices to get taste of the Z1 camera app, as XDA Recognized Developer niaboc79 has managed to port it to all Qualcomm Xperia devices. This includes the Xperia T, TX and V, the Xperia SP, Xperia M, Xperia L, as well as the Xperia S, Acro S and Ion. However, before you dive in, it must be noted that although the port is functional, it is not entirely stable as of yet with a number of bugs that are yet to be polished out.
If you would still like to give this ago, make sure to visit the original thread for more information.
November 12, 2013 By: eagleeyetom
Modifying and tweaking the look of Android is one of the platform’s most amazing features. Users can change almost every element on their home screens, hence countless number of themes, wallpapers, and mods available in Android Themes and Apps and Games sub forums. All this great work from thousands of members is aimed to make Android look even more pleasing.
Not many of you folks know that XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire, developer of many famous applications such as SuperSU or CF-Auto-Root, is a big fan of photography. He decided to merge his passions and create an application called 500 Firepaper. The app uses photos available on the 500px.com portal as your wallpaper And with this application, our home screen will never be boring again.
500 Firepaper has quite a few options available to set. You can choose which features and categories should be displayed. You can also customize the update interval. Chainfire also included a Daydream mode, which is similar to a desktop OS screensaver that can be displayed while docked or charging.
This app changes completely the look of the home screen, so it’s absolutely worth it to give 500 Firepaper a try. Take a visit to the application thread to get started.
November 10, 2013 By: Samantha
If you haven’t noticed by now, the XDA forums allow users to conveniently attach a host of files of various types to forum posts, allowing the rest of the community to download. They can either be downloaded to a PC via a direct download link or straight onto your device with a QR code. However, during situations when your device isn’t right besides you, downloading files to the device can be quite the hassle. So rather than emailing yourself the download link, downloading the file onto your PC and then transfering it over to your device, or simply waiting until your device is available, you now have Downiton.mobi to do it for you.
Developed by XDA Forum Member cloudvn, Downiton.mobi allows you to remotely download files to your Android phone or tablet from your PC. By registering and logging into your account on the Downiton.mobi website, you’ll be able to copy links for files you want to download into the designated area. Then, the files are downloaded to your device through the mobile app client. The mobile app gives you the option to choose the download directory, and to download files with mobile data or WiFi. Additionally, multiple devices can be connected and synchronized with the same account.
So if you’re interested in what you’ve read and would like to give this a spin, make sure to check out the original thread for more information and download.
November 9, 2013 By: eagleeyetom
Practically every OEM puts its own lock screen onto their devices. There are situations when we simply don’t like the look and have no option to change it. Disabling it altogether is not an option most can consider either.
A very clever solution was presented by XDA Senior Member asdf20, who created an application called Invisible Lock. This app allows you to use a transparent lock screen, so phone looks exactly as if it were unlocked, but all elements are blocked from use. It sounds a bit tricky, but works as intended.
The screen can be unlocked by a gesture, which must be defined in the app’s settings. Currently, the app offers four types of unlocking swipes: from up to down, from down to up, from left to right, and from right to left. Also, it will automatically unlock the screen during incoming calls. The only requirement is to disable the system lock screen, which can be done in Settings > Security.
If your current lock screen is boring, visit the application thread and give Invisible Lock a try!
[Thanks to GermainZ for heads up!]
Good old fashioned math, how many times have we doubted your innate ability to drive us completely insane? How many times have we wished that we followed art instead of engineering? The sole thought of math being useful in real life has been a puzzling idea since elementary school. Well, I personally love math, but most students utter complaints like the ones I just mentioned more often than not. There are many ways to change opinions on different subjects. For instance, if you have a trouble eater who hates veggies, there are various ways to make veggies more appealing. Same goes for math. And what better way to learn to love what you hate than by making it fun? If you haven’t already had your evening coffee, it may be time to hit up the old grinder before getting hooked on this.
XDA Fourm Member Christoph Mayr brings us a game that he called Sequences. Much as with school homework, the game’s objective is to complete number sequences with missing digits. Logic and some basic understanding of math are absolute requirements to play, but knowing these concepts is only half the battle. You need to understand them well, due to increasing levels of difficulty. If completing all 100 levels of the game is not your cup of tea, you could always try Time mode, which will give you a set amount of time to solve as many sequences as you can.
The dev is looking for feedback, bug reports, and ideas to implement in this brain-twisting game. So, if you decide to take it for a spin, please do not forget to swing by the the thread and leave a comment or two. The dev is actually quite actively squashing bugs as the releases are coming out almost daily. So, please have a go and spread the joy of math.
You can find more information in the original thread.
Ever since the early days of mobile technology, people have always wanted to do more, and do it more efficiently and faster. Due to the amount of content and information on the Internet being limitless (and growing), the dream of getting everything instantaneously is a reality that never seems to get any closer, despite of how many advances we can pump out in a single year. For instance, when we get a dramatically faster data connection, file sizes jump accordingly, thus taking the “oompf” out of the higher transfer speeds. All in all, the approach might need to be tweaked a bit to achieve the aforementioned goal, particularly when it comes to video streaming. After all, have you any idea the time you could have saved if you were able to somehow speed up all those times that you watched Gangnam Style?
Since challenges are what we tackle on best here at XDA, you may want to take a quick peek at the solution by XDA Forum Member ShoelaceWireless. VideoBee is an app like no other in what it can achieve. Basically, the app allows anyone to stream videos using multiple sources of bandwidth simultaneously. In other words, videos are streamed and downloaded by using both WiFi and cellular networks—at the same time. Good, right? No? What? You need more speed, you say? Why certainly! Just fire up your BT and use bandwidth from one of your other Android devices as well. The master instructs the slave device to start downloading certain parts of the videos, while the master device downloads the rest. This effectively increases the data speed substantially. Oh, and one last thing: Root is not required!
The app is in private beta, and the developer has provided a link in the OP where you can receive an invitation code. Also, it seems that later in the not-so-distant future, the app will be capable of chaining itself with more than a single device, which will allow you to download your longest videos in mere seconds. Currently, the app only supports YouTube, NBC News, and MediaCafe, but more content sources will become available soon. Please leave some feedback requesting features and most importantly, reporting bugs you may come across.
You can find more information in the original thread.
November 7, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Just last Thursday, we were graced with Android 4.4 KitKat alongside the release of the Google Nexus 5. Along with the host of improvements inherent to the new OS, early adopters were also treated to the new version of Google Hangouts that was announced at last week’s Google+ event, as well as a refreshed keyboard. Now, these are available for all to enjoy, directly on the Google Play Store.
As a refresher, the Hangouts update brings the SMS integration, as well as support for animated GIFs, location sharing, and a few other key features. Hangouts is available for devices running Android 2.3 or later. The keyboard update, which is available for devices running Android 4.0 or later, brings a refined UI, bereft of the old Holo blue accents. It also incorporates support for multiple word swiping gestures, similar to what we’ve seen previously in Swiftkey Flow.
November 7, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
The stereotype of a smartphone enthusiast is someone who is oblivious to the world. They constantly have their head in their phone. Some of us, whether we want to admit it, fit this stereotype. We are always consuming some sort of content, and it gets to the point where even a phone call can interrupt that.
XDA Senior Member leducbao offers a new way to see who is calling and decide if it’s worth interrupting your game or video. In this video, XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews Call PopOut. TK shows off the application and gives his thoughts, so check out this app review.
November 6, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If you’re one of the lucky few to already have your hands on the much anticipated Google Nexus 5, you are probably already enjoying many of the new features in Android 4.4 KitKat. Along for the ride with the new OS, comes a new version of Google Hangouts. This new version now incorporates SMS functionality, eliminating the need for the old default messaging app.
While the merging of Hangouts and SMS has been celebrated by many, there are others who find the new interface a bit too cluttered and cumbersome. Unfortunately for them, however, Google removed the default messaging app from the device. Luckily, you can easily get back the pre-4.4 SMS experience with 8sms by XDA Senior Member bengtan.
8sms is based on the Android 4.3 / CyanogenMod 10.2 messaging app. It also has a few added features not found on the old default SMS client such as notification popups, quick reply, gesture templates, emoji, and a dark theme pictured to your right. And thankfully for those looking to get back the old SMS experience, it has been updated to be compatible with Android 4.4 and the Nexus 5.
Make your way over to the application thread to get started.